It started as a way of escaping, but as it turned out, running away would not be the story that I’d be telling. Instead, I’d be writing about a dream-like sort of happiness that I would treasure in my heart for as long as I can treasure something.
The morning before I left for the trip, the atmosphere at the house was amazing. I woke up very early to clean the house, write a mother’s day letter and surprise my mom. When she saw our surprise, her mood was great and it lifted everyone else’s spirits. We even had a nice little chit-chat over breakfast where she said something I needed to hear (about a certain something I’ve been panicking about for the past few days).
Basically, the morning allowed me to calm the storms in my heart that would’ve been excess baggage if I didn’t have them sorted out. So, I guess I could say that I left with a light heart, ready to be filled with all the love the world would give me.
Gims and I met up at SM Lipa around 12:00 NN to buy groceries. Ate Jen followed later on after her church service.
Since the transient house we went to provided plates, utensils and cookware, all we really had to worry about was the food we were going to eat and some essential toiletries. With a budget of PHP 600.00 we were able to buy food good for three meals along with snacks.
After our errands, we met at the terminal to eat. We were in a hurry since we wanted to beat the 1:30 PM deadline we set for ourselves. (Surprise! Surprise! Ate Jen was the one who packed the lightest among the three of us.)
We boarded the bus (PHP 35.00) to Batangas Grand Terminal for about 20 minutes. Coincidentally, during the ride, a shark movie was playing. Looking back, I’m glad that it wasn’t some sort of premonition! (We requested Kuya to play a certain Marvel movie next.)
When we got to the terminal, we rode a jeep (PHP 40.00) to Anilao Port next. Since a lot of people were going there, we had to squeeze in with the rest of the crowd. For me, that meant leg work since I was barely touching the seat and the ride took about 30 minutes.
After the jeepney ride, we had to walk a bit to get to the port. There, it was buzzing with people going to Masasa and people with cakes and flowers (who were probably going home to spend time with their moms). Our original plan was to buy rice and water there before boarding the boat but because we were so caught up with the excitement of everything and everyone, we forgot about it and just proceeded to line up like everyone else. We paid a PHP 30.00 environmental fee and then went into the Island Express (PHP 80.00) (going to Tingloy Port).
According to Ate Elvie, the landlady of the transient house we stayed at, there are boats that could take us directly to Masasa. But, since we didn’t ask around and we were caught up in the moment, we just followed the crowd and rode the boat they went to.
It was my first official long boat ride (I rode once already in Tuguegarao but that was barely 10 minutes long and it wasn’t in a big passenger boat). I prayed the I wasn’t the time to get seasick because I really love the sea and if I was a seasick kind of person, that would be horrible! Thankfully, I didn’t get dizzy and I even loved the waves crashing against the boat, rocking it to the rhythm of the music in my ears.
The boat ride to Tingloy Port took about 45 minutes. Once there, we rode a tricycle (PHP 40.00) for about 20 minutes until we reached the area where the transient house was located.
The overall travel time was roughly two hours, not counting the waiting time.
The transient house we stayed at was Ate Elvie’s. We stayed in a room good for 3-4 people, ventilated by a wall fan. The house was very clean and spacious, with a kitchen, dinning room, living room, terrace (with karaoke), bathroom, outdoor kitchen and nipa hut. Ate Elvie was also very accommodating, giving us travel hacks and helping us with our food and water concerns (because we forgot to buy them beforehand).
After unpacking, we headed straight for the beach. It was late afternoon by then so the sun wasn’t too harsh on our skin and we had just enough time to enjoy the water before the sun would set.
After swimming, we headed back to the house to clean up and cook dinner. Thanks to our teamwork *winks*, the night went on nicely. (Just as inside jokes I want to remember, I’ll be placing keywords here: water, cellphone signal and storytelling.)
We retired to bed soon after. Our room had a twin-sized bed and a twin-sized cushion so it was a good fit.
The next morning, we woke up unbelievably early. Unlike what we were used to, the sun in Tingloy rose really early. It looked like it was 8:00 AM when in fact, it was just 5:50 AM. We got up because it was already bright out and we didn’t want to burn daylight.
After eating breakfast, we went snorkeling (PHP 100.00). Ate Elvie knew a boat man, Kuya Ariel, who guided us for that activity.
From the pre-boat ride photo shoot to the lagoon trip, Kuya Ariel had been incredibly accommodating. We went around the beach to look at corals, fishes and even sea turtles! (It was just saddening to see human waste there too. It didn’t belong there.)
After snorkeling, we had a few minutes to take pictures and enjoy the lagoon bay. Unfortunately, we had to hurry back because the waves were getting a little too strong for the boat.
Instead of going back to the beach, we went back to the house first. (Inside joke keyword: keys.) We then sang karaoke and ate our merienda/lunch. Time flew way too quickly so we had to pack up and travel back home.
Initially, I thought one long weekend would be enough. But, as we were getting ready to leave, I would find any excuse to stay one day longer. The two days, one night vacation, to me, was some sort of reverting back to nature and tapping into its energy. It was a moment free from inhibitions, worries and insecurities. It was, in essence, simple living and feeling.
All vacations end, and as I ended this one with me dragging myself home, I closed it with both heaviness and lightness. I have been shown kindness and wonder once again and so I look forward to when I’ll be back.
For reference: Total expenses per head (food, transpo, accomo, snorkeling) – PHP 1,100.00 | Transient house contact: Ate Elvie – 09171359977