Day 1 : Feb. 6, 2010
Even if I had a good seven hours sleep, I still got irritated because my clogged nose wake me up very early today. Yesterday, that mindless tricycle driver keeps on closely tailing another tricycle not minding the thick diesel smoke and dust it is belching directly at me, activating my nasal allergy again – this allergy is my punishment since childhood, activated by a certain kind of smoke and dust.
Therefore, I wake up today, my throat as rough as sandpaper, head spinning and eyes red and watery. But hell no, this damn sinusitis can’t ruin my weekend, so I force myself up, grab my backpack and take few stuff for a two days trip to Tingloy Island in Batangas City.
We meet at the Araneta Center – Cubao around 9:00 am, take a three hours bus ride going to the City of Batangas and another half hour for the motor banca ride going to Tingloy Island – giving me a bit of the Boracay trip nostalgia. It’s a refreshing country side trip, like escaping the prison-like life in the damned City of Metro Manila.
Tingloy Island - The Island Of Dreams
After an hour of riding the motorized banca, the jovial high-tide waves smoothly rocking us as if sensing our enthusiasm, the picturesque Island of Tingloy serenely welcomes us. With its soft curves and slightly steep mountains, it is like a radish, romantically half-submerged in blue water.
Tingloy is a municipality in the province of Batangas, Philippines. I learned that about 20 percent of the 18, 000+ residents are seafarers. Because Tingloy is a small island, the place is surrounded with beaches and dive points and known for its white sand and beautiful sunset at the beach's tip of the coast.
We had our sumptuous lunch at the Garcia’s residence, our island host, before we go to our first destination, the Olypic Point Island Resort, which is another ten-minute banca ride on the other side of the island.
My runny nose didn’t stopped me from enjoying the water and we stayed at the resort until eight in the evening. It was a fun evening with friends, with lots of beers, grilled tilapia and pancit while talking about relationships, work realities, seafaring (because most of our buddies are seafarers), and of course our favorite topic – sex.
On our way back to the Garcia’s, while on the banca, I caught a glimpse of the bioluminescence planktons giving specks of silver light like small fireflies as the dark water was disturbed by our passing banca. It caught my interest because I just finished reading Dan Brown’s “Deception Point” where the conspiracy and government fraud, which is the novel’s main theme, was discovered because of those bioluminescence flagellates.
We continued our drinking session at the Garcia’s terrace overlooking the bay with more foods, more beers, videoke, and more random talks, until all of us finally dozed off.
Day 2: February 7, 2010
I am awake but I still keep my eyes closed for a few minutes, the morning sunrays intruding the room from the open window, temporarily blinds me. I thought I am in my room in Mindoro but when my eyes finally adjusted, I remembered that I’m at the Garcia’s. Effects of beer I guess. Well, I love houses with big open windows, it reminds me of my grandparents’ old Spanish house where natural light and air can enter the rooms giving you a light feeling and carefree ambience. You can seldom find houses with wide windows in the city nowadays – having it is like luxury and a threat.
After breakfast, we decided to visit the other side of the island, the side where you can see my beloved home island of Mindoro. We trekked for about an hour, passed by steep mountain paths and dried rice fields until we reached the scenic beach. We immediately plunge ourselves in the crystal-clear water, eager and excited like children on the first heavy rain of May. We enjoyed the beach for about an hour before heading back to the town, trying a longer and steeper route back under a burning afternoon sun. We came back at the house exhausted and half-baked but enjoying the memories of that new experience.
The Heartwarming Tingloy Hospitality
The other thing we will remember, aside from the island’s beauty, is the hospitality of the Tingloyans, especially Jeoff’s parents and relatives. We are welcomed not like a first time strangers but like a long lost visiting relatives. We are given the best foods, best rooms in the house, warm smiles and excited reception – making this short trip truly memorable.
Heartwarming classic Filipino hospitality is still very much evident in Tingloy. After we received all the best in the house, we were given two boxes of bibingka (rice cakes) as pabaon (parting gifts)
While writing this blogpost, I am enjoying that rice bibingka while sipping hot coffee, occasionally staring at the shells and stones I brought with me as island souvenir.
And yes, I feel like the island washed away all my worries about everything.
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