The week had been a busy one as usual, and Friday night had been a super late, wine fueled evening. I forced my eyes open on Saturday morning, fully aware that I had not been organised the day before so my morning was about to become very painful. It was 7.15am and we needed to be on the road for our latest road trip adventure by 8am.
We were going island hopping!
I dragged myself out of bed, fed the dog, got the children up and hurriedly fed them toast with peanut butter as I ran around the house locating bathers, towels, hats, suncream, filling water bottles, packing snacks, spare changes of clothing and trying to remember every little thing I needed to take on such an adventure. We made it too, even with SB eventually wandering down the stairs and insisting on cooking fried eggs on toast for breakfast. I was actually very appreciative of that. It helped my groggy and slightly sore head.
Road Side Butchers Shop
We headed down to Batangas again. Driving through the town center I stared out of the windows taking in the busy and crowded streets. A complex network of winding, twisting roads. Very much like a maze, laneways filled with market stalls ran off streets like veins. Filling every space with a bit of something. We finally made it out of the town and the space became less claustrophobic.
Mountains rose around us and we finally caught a glimpse of the ocean, it was calm and sparkly. We drove up a twisting, steep, snakelike road cut into the mountain side. One side rising up
I just loved this Barber’s Shop
providing a gorgeous rainforest canopy. The other side dropping off to the ocean, and filled with resorts tucked away down steep driveways. We came to the place we were meeting friends and found ourselves in this quaint little ‘dive resort’ called Philpan Resort. A place people could come and swim and hire boats to go diving, fishing or island hopping. We found a bamboo cabana and ordered some traditional food. Fried chicken with garlic rice and green beans sautéed in rich sauce. It was delicious and we ordered so much I did not mind sharing some chicken with a very hungrylooking one-eyed cat.
We waited around a while. The children were getting restless. Finally it was time to go and we walked up the narrow plank onto the small boat. The water was crystal clear and the children hung over the side watching small fish dart and swim amongst the rocky ground cover. The water was turquoise. That stunning shade that photographs just cannot quite capture.
The water was stunning
We were supposed to go to Sombrero Island, a teeny tiny island named as it looks remarkably like the hat. The friends we came with said they changed their minds at the last minute, wanting a beach with more space and shelter. Sombrero Island has a small strip of beach and a few rickety cabanas for shade. Nothing else.
The boat ride. Sombrero Island below, volcanic cliffs above
The island we went to was called Maracaban Island, and it was about a half hour ride off shore. We travelled past other islands with jutting cliff faces of volcanic rock. Finally we pulled up to a strip of beach filled with washed up fragments of coral and shells. I tried to overlook the usual rubbish laying about like it is native to these parts. Oh wait…it is! Sorry for the sarcasm, I just feel so disappointed when I see a lovely landscape trashed by tubes of toothpaste and broken glass. ‘NO BB! That is NOT seaglass!! The poor child was so confused.
Moving on. This beach was quite nice, very rocky and the water was mostly rock with a small shallow strip the children could safely swim in. We walked up the beach collecting shells and pieces of purple coral which I told FB were mermaid treasure. She was quite delighted and then BB got in on the treasure hunt too so we came home with more to add to our growing collection of shells and bits and bobs.
We were met on the island by a peddler selling pearls for a rather exorbitant price and pardon me for being cynical but they were not local pearls. I doubt they were real. The man was with his two children. I paid the man for his picture, and then gave extra to buy food for his children. I like to believe the money was used for that, even though our Filipino friends were shaking their heads at me. They know the reality better than I do.
Pearl Seller and his sons. The sun starts to set.
After a few hours of seaside frolicking it was time to head back. It was late in the day now, about 4pm, and it reminded me of summer time back home. The sun was lowered so not burning; the light of the day was dimming with the start of a stunning sunset. The heat in the air was like being wrapped in a warm blanket. It was that perfect summer evening. The waves were lapping, and I felt transported home, for a brief moment of daydream. It just felt so good on my skin. The ride back on the boat was just as gorgeous. The warm breeze, the setting sun, the water lapping against the rudders. I took a picture of BB leaning against a pole and within seconds of taking that picture he had fallen back into his dad’s lap fast asleep.
Once back on land we made a quick change and made the trip back to Manila. It was late now so we were driving through Batangas at night. Even more bustling than during the day, with Jeepneys filling the roads and the lights of cars creating a festive sight. Not to mention the Christmas lights shops that have sprung up now we are in the ‘ber’ months.
We really thought the children would sleep but their excitement at our day was palpable and by the time we were on the highway in Manila both kids were with us on our laps.
Finally we got home just as FB succumbed to her day. I carried her up to her bed, she sighed and rolled over into the ball she sleeps in and I tucked her in.
We weren’t far behind her.