Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Doin' Daet

Cast: Me, Tals, LJ, Dino, Arlene, Nathan and Rina.
Tals, LJ and I were initially supposed to go to Baler and ended up going to Daet instead. It was a week of firsts for most of us. Our first time to be away from our families for Holy Week. Our first time in Daet for another. In fact, only Nathan had been there before. And because of that became our default leader on the road.
We left Manila at 2 in the morning and followed Nathan through several scenic stretches of road for nearly 7 hours. We kept ourselves entertained with the walkie-talkies in each car (read: we bugged Nathan by saying him things like "Nathan, I spy with my little eye...") And we also engaged in "deep" discussions such as "what would we look like if the world was in perpertual dawn? What about it if was always night? Would our eyes be really big or really small?" Yes, science geekiness meets travel inanity. It certainly helped us pass the time.
Highlights of that trip include:
- Driving through the Quezon National Park. Such a beautiful place... just watch out for those hairpin curves!
- Stopping by Jollibee to indulge in Ice Craze. We were addicted to Ice Craze. I think we had one every chance we got.
- Seeing the Bagasbas beach break for the first time. To say that the shoreline is long is an understatement. I had never in my life seen such a long beach break. And the waves were peeling nicely -- about shoulder high and clean. Plus it's quite shallow. And while the line-up was uncrowded, the shoreline was jampacked with local families enjoying their Holy Week vacation. Vendors hawked fish balls and kikiam. Children waded in the shallows. The sky was filled with all sorts of kites... and the occasional RC Airplane.
- Eating pizza at the Alvino's. If you ever make the trip down to Daet, you cant not have pizza here. Soooo good. And perfect after a session of surf and sun... paired with an ice cold bottle of beer or any non-alcoholic beverage of your choosing.
- Speaking of eating, we found this charming restaurant halfway between Bagasbas and the town proper... where we had what LJ called a "Spanish lunch" that lasted for five hours. All with non-stop conversation revolving mainly around our helpers at home, the USA conspiracies and childhood cartoons.
- Driving to the nearby town of San Jose to surf at this cove one morning. We were the only people in the line-up for about two hours... then two local arrived bringing the board tally to a mere 5. Tals lost her contact lenses in the water that day and became Manila's very first Legally Blind Surf Enthusiast. (You had to be there to fully appreciate the hilarity of hearing Dino say "just paddle towards that blue house" then hearing Tals go "Blue house, blue sky... I can't tell them apart!")
- One the drive back to Bagasbas we came across a group of men doing penance by way of self-flagellation. Now, this is a common occurrence in many provinces in the country during Holy Week but I had never seen it live before. We slowly followed their pilgrimage as they made stops at designated Stations of the Cross. We watched as the knelt in silent prayer, blood dripping down their backs under the scorching sun. It sparked many conversations in the car -- on one hand, you had to give it to these men for enduring this kind of pain voluntarily. On the other hand, you had to consider that maybe our God wasn't one who would ask His children to go through this sort of thing in His name. Food for thought.
- Making the same trip but in reverse... still talking about what life on earth would be like if we lived in perpetual twilight. (Hey Nath! I spy with my little eye something that begins with C! Yup the CRV!)


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