>> Tuesday, October 22, 2013
"Mag-beach tayo." (Let's go to the beach.)
It was just a one-sentence and random suggestion during an event briefing in the office. The officemates were preparing for a center opening in Balanga, Bataan when one suggested that they stay another night and spend the rest of the weekend in the beach.
A few seconds after that, the event briefing was concluded and everyone was pitching in to make this beach getaway possible.
You just gotta love sudden decisions.
There we were, on a sunny afternoon in Bataan, 3/4 of the office people met on the sandy shores to take a breather from work and enjoy each other's company.
We passed by the pawikan conservation first
Rio's (our Marketing Head) boyfriend was kind enough to accommodate nine of us in their rest house for the night. His house was a couple of minutes away from the beach and it was the perfect venue for a budgeted trip. Having a friend with a house to stay the night is always a plus because you get to cut down on the expenses, and at the same time have a homey feeling. You don't also have to worry about leaving your stuff lying around the house because you trust the people with you and there are no strangers who would take interest on you and your gadgets.
Because we arrived late in the afternoon (some of us had work-related missions in the morning), we decided to spend the night preparing for the next day. We skipped the swimming on a Saturday and spent the whole night roasting hotdogs and marshmallows by the shore, lying on the sand to watch the clouds pass by the full moon, laughing at the most random conversations, and experimenting on the long exposure shots.
Ghosting through the bonfire
We went back to the house around 10:30 PM. We thought we'd be hitting the hay because we had to wake up early the next day, but we ended up watching Insidious... for a few minutes.
Cue in laughter.
Two reasons why we stopped at the scene where the mom found a bloody hand print on the son's bed sheets:
1) We scampered in our rooms because we were scaring each other away
2) We were scaring each other away
Seriously, it was too late and we needed the sleep. Yeah right, excuses.
We woke up early the next day so we can eat breakfast, freshen up and take the long drive to Mt. Samat. It's not exactly a hike because you can drive your car to the top even if there's an option to jog or bike from the bottom of the mountain to the top. But because we're lazy asses, we decided to drive all the way up. Besides, we were there for the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor).
The Dambana ng Kagitingan is a memorial cross on top of Mt. Samat to remember those fallen soldiers during the World Ward II. The Filipino and American soldiers lost to the Japanese. The soldiers were forced surrender and walk from Bataan to Tarlac, which was a grueling 130 km walk. Imagine all the wounded and sick soldiers having to walk that far without food and water, and not in a tiptop shape. The long walk is known as the Bataan Death March.
The memorial cross has a 302-ft height and is erected 544 ft above ground. We drove all the way to the entrance of the memorial ground, but we still had to hike for a couple of minutes to reach the base of the cross. No sweat.
The adventure did not end there. Tourists can ride an elevator up the cross to a viewing deck (the horizontal part of the cross). So basically, we felt like we were on top of the world. There is also a window in the elevator so you can see yourself being lifted up the cross. I had a choice and I still looked out the window. Hello, cold feet. Yes, I was scared. The tight and old elevator added to the fear I was feeling.
The view at the top was breathtaking. You could see how lush and green the mountains are, especially the uninhbited places in the province. It was pretty to see green all around.
We finished our Mt. Samat trip just in time before the buses of kids arrived to disturb the peace. Haha Students from grade 5 to high school were on a field trip and one of their stops was the shrine. A few hours before that, we owned the place and hours after, every nook and cranny of the shrine was teeming with students.
Our trip to the mountain was done and there was one thing left to do: SWIMMING!
After eating a quick lunch, we all stripped down to our swim clothes and hit the waters.
It was a great ending to wrap up our mini road trip. We didn't care if it was during the peak of the day when we went swimming and we were prone to having sunburns. The beach is the beach and nothing could stop us.
Forget sunburns. We're here to swim!
But because it was a Sunday and there was work the next day, we had to leave the beach with pouty faces, bid goodbye and vow to return some other time.
Or maybe not because they want to go some place else.