Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beaching About Anawangin

Suffering from insomnia before an out of town trip can really cause havoc on your system, and that is just what transpired on the day of the trip.  It was nearing 4am when the drowsies hit me and before I was even halfway to REM-land, I can hear knocking at my door, telling me to get up and prepare for the trip.  I was in a state of half-consciousness for most of the travel to Zambales, and being situated in the middle seat with no hand rests to grasp on wasn't doing me any good.  The presence of two pets didn't make matters any easier either, but at least they gave some mild distraction.

Four hours, a flat tire, and several top load repacking later, we finally reached our destination.  I was mildly amused that the place we would be staying at was a stone's throw away from where my friends and I stayed while waiting for our boat from the last two times that I've been at the place.

The very same windmill that we use as our landmark now greeted me from the right side of the fence.  I laugh inwardly.

Pundaquit is a nice place in itself, but the presence of the fishing village and the myriad boats along the shore does not make for a promising swim.  Compared to other seaside settlements though, its waters are relatively clean and does not stink of fish.  It also boasts of a good view of the island of Capones and its neighbors.

Come nightfall, there was little much to do but eat and wait for the following morning for our boat ride to Anawangin.  Provided that we were thirty in the group and would surely need plenty of food to keep everybody satiated, there was still a ridiculously large quantity of seafood waiting to be consumed.  Clearly, someone went overboard with the fish.

That was dinner.  A similar quantity of seafood was consumed by the group during the few hours between lunch and dinner, including a yellow fin tuna that met its demise over various bottles of booze.  Said booze, by the way, didn't even survive till dinner and no one had the heart to buy additional bottles which the resort was selling at more than twice the normal retail price.  Which is good in a way; no one wants to care for inebriated people who can't handle their drink, especially not me.

Come morning, the group stirs to prepare for the boat ride to Anawangin.  This will be my third visit to the place in three years, and I was mildly excited at the prospect of returning.

A bigger boat meant a slower ride to the Cove.  It also meant better opportunities to take photos along the way.

At last, we finally made it to the cove.  But this reunion was more bitter than sweet.  You see, the two times that I have been to Anawangin, it was peaceful, tranquil, and every bit the paradise you are seeking away from the hustle and bustle of city living.  It is that place where you can really be at peace with yourself and at one with nature, hearing the wave, listening to the wind, and smelling the clean air.  With no electricity, no amenities and no cell phone signals, Anawangin provides the ultimate detox from civilization.

This is Anawangin from my memory of a year before:

This was what greeted me that day:

Ugh!  Crowds!  The horror!  I have never been to Puerto Gallera before but this is what I pictured Gallera was:  a small beach fair teeming with hoards upon hoards of people.  It wasn't right that this secret cove should be this crowded!

From my two previous visits of Anawangin, there were two areas at the left most corner of the beach that was made into a camping ground, and cordoned off to make a sort of compound.  Those two areas had an entrance fee, for the use of the water pump and wash rooms; the rest of the cove was free, and the free area away from the crowd is where we usually park our tents.  Upon descent of the boat, a person greeted our group and promptly billed us for 50 pesos apiece.  Apparently, the whole cove is now private property and they are charging visitors for use of and for the maintenance of the beach.

I don't really have problems with the fees, but had I expected there to be fees, I would have led the group to the left side of the cove, where there are ample trees to provide cover.

The other problem I had with the imposition of the fees is that the attitude of some people change for the worse when they are paying.  some people find it justifiable to leave their trash everywhere just because they paid for the service and are expecting other people to clean up after them.  Sure enough, all around us are evidence of people's neglect:  a circle of cooking fire that was left unattended, tables full of trash, litter everywhere!  What's worse is there are ample garbage receptacles scattered all around, but these lazy people do not even have the concern to use them!  I even saw a table being bussed by the cove's caretakers after the wake of it's previous users.  Imagine, a picnic table being bussed, what is this, a restaurant?!

To be fair, Anawangin Cove is still beautiful, I do have some shots to prove it.  But at the rate things are going, two years and it will become another wasted beach, to suffer the same fate as those beaches of old from Cavite.  Does anyone even remember Puerto Azul?

If you would look closely at the photo above, you would notice the presence of a backhoe parked idly at the back of the cove.  This thing boded ill for me.  The presence of that giant hunk of metal signaled the encroaching of civilisation against this nature paradise.  What would happen to this place in the next months to come, I fear to know.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beaching Around Zambales

Over breakfast the other day, I was informed that we are going on a trip to Pundaquit for the weekend.  It was not a suggestion, and like it or not, I am coming with them for this outing. 

This will be the first time in at least five years that I will be going on a trip along with the whole family.  For the longest time, I have been able to beg off of any family activity due to carefully tweaked scheduling overlaps or due to unavoidable need for overtime work.  I have no such excuses this time.

I must admit that I am very wary of the possible outcome of this trip, as I cannot recall any recent activity involving the whole cast that didn't end up in heated arguments.  But, as one friend on mine said:  There is no limiting family contact; it's but an illusion.  So maybe, I'll just have to tough this one out and try to enjoy it while it lasts.  After all, I can always bury myself in a book if shit hits the fan.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bibliophilia: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Arthur Dent wakes up one Thursday morning to find that his house is up for demolition to make way for a new bypass. Moments after his home is razed to the ground, a fleet of space ships descend and inform the planet that it will be destroyed to make way for a "hyperspace express route". Arthur escapes the destruction of the planet with the help of his friend, Ford Prefect, who happens to be an alien researcher, and they hitchhike their way into one of the ships.

And so begins the misadventures of Arthur and Ford into the known universe, meeting bureaucratic aliens with a penchant for murderous poetry, a paranoid android suffering from manic depression, the two-headed president of the galaxy with motives hidden even from himself, and a woman with degrees in maths and astrophysics who left earth to escape a life on welfare. Along the way, they discover the reason for the Earth's creation and the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. But for all the advances in technology finally at his grasp, he still couldn't find a decent cup of tea.

Created originally for a BBC radio show, the Hitchhiker's Guide has grown into a cult following, producing six books, a tv series and a movie. I've heard of the book late 2005 when the movie was released, but was not able to get my clutches on a copy until last year. Thanks to Booksale for my omnibus edition, by the way. I am surprised I haven't heard of this book earlier, considering its humor and irreverence. But then, again, British humor isn't really popular in these shores.

Reading like an adventure book on acid, the Guide pokes fun at religion, philosophy, politics and science. It may not be the most logical book there is, and it is perfectly fine with that, and the reader will be, as well. Honestly, I could not stop laughing while reading the book. And the good thing is: there are five more installments for me to savor.

By the way, you might be wondering what the answer is to the great question of Life...

the Universe...

and Everything.

The answer is...



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