I was fortunate enough to have an aunt who owned a beach house in Batangas and so I practically grew up on the beach and loved every minute of it. And because we spent so much time in that house and the beach houses of other relatives and friends, I have never gottten accustomed to over-crowded and commercialized beaches and resorts. Sure, they're great when I'm looking to party in a tropical setting and dance barefoot in the sand, and even groove to 'shtoog-shtoog' versions of Bob Marley hits, but most of the time I long for the beach in all it's natural glory. All the massive developments in the south are scaring me, which is why when I see beaches like this one in Saud I am soothed.
March 12, 2008
I don't know if I mentioned this before on my blog, so most of you may not know this but I have a thing for lighthouses. Back in 2002, an old friend of mine sent me a lighthouse calendar which I've kept because I love to look through the pictures every now and then. They are beacons yes, but also symbols of perseverance and self-sacrifice. But I think the attraction for me is it's connection to the sea and to travelers; guiding them to safe harbor, leading them home. And it reminds me that no matter how far or how often I may sail across that horizon, I can always follow my heart back home. No, the romance of lighthouses is not lost on me. :)
So anyway, I don't need to explain to you just how thrilled I was deep down to be visiting the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, the tallest in the country. My first thought upon seeing it was that it very closely resembled the Punta Santiago Lighthouse in Calatagan with the whitewashed red brick. The lighthouse is perched high on a hill at the northwesternmost corner of Luzon, where it has been whipped by cruel storms for over a hundred years.
I admired the decorative grillwork that adorned the balcony of the main house and the stairs leading up to the tower. We never made it up to the overhanging balcony by the lantern but the views from the second level are spectacular! The sea in these parts just seem bluer. One of the rooms which I assume to be one of the lighthouse keepers former living quarters has been turned into a mini museum.
Our next destination was the Bangui Bay Windmills. Before my friend had told me about the windmills, I didn't have much interest in seeing them because well, they're tall steel structures, how exciting can that be? If I wasn't wowed by the Eiffel Tower as much as I thought I would be, than surely 15 wind turbines could not move me.
Oh boy did it move me. It was already a beautiful sight from afar, from the viewing deck. There they were, like soldiers in a row, spaced perfectly apart. Stark in their whiteness against the turquoise sea and emerald green rice paddies. My friend told me to make sure we're taken down to get up close and personal with the windmills, and so we went.
Then it just seemed so surreal. There they were, calling them tall would be an understatement, like the windmills of the gods on a desolate stretch of beach. I felt tiny. I looked at my friends, they looked teeny tiny too. The photo below should give you some perspective. Look at the couple in the shadows. The turbines are 70 meters high and the blades are about 40 meteres long. The blades weren't picking up any winds just then, and I imagined how amazing it would be if they did. I imagined the "THOOG...THOOG" as it starts to pick up speed. Woah!
Just at the next cove is Saud Beach, Pagudpud's prime tourist destination. When people rave about the beaches of Pagudpud, it's the stretch of beach in Saud they speak of. And I understand clearly why. It's largely unspoilt, uncluttered, clean and devoid of any crowds.
The energy of the sea here was different. I couldn't get enough of it, here was this tempestuous sea pounding the shores of a beach, that frankly my dear, didn't seem to give a damn. We walked around quite a bit before we settled into a little hut by the shore for some lunch. We ordered fresh seafood, had more bagnet, and drank the juice straight from the coconuts which had just been picked from a tree behind us by our waiter. It was all so perfect. There was a nice breeze, the food was fresh and satisfying, and the sound of the waves lulled us into a stupor. I wish we could have stayed the night. But maybe next time.
Snapping out of our daze, we reluctantly climbed back into the van to retrace our tracks back towards the resort. But not before we stopped at Batac for some of those famed empanadas. Stay tuned! :)
Up next: the final Ilocos post : Eating our way through Ilocos!