we spent the last month with family at my home town taytay (just a 45 min drive and a lot of traffic away from manila). a week ago we trekked on to our planned destination san juan, la union. it's the closest surf town to manila -- a 5 hour drive from the city and a common weekend getaway for surf pilgrims from the city. we'll be spending the next six weeks here.
i haven't been blogging of late since the internet wasn't up at the place we're staying.... but it's up now!!! the garden plage (that's not a misspelling) is a green oasis on this stretch of beach. the little cottage we rented is surrounded by shady trees, grass and quaint little huts on a fairy ground by the ocean. it really is picturesque, perfect for a garden party. and the people running it are downright loveable. i'll be posting pictures of it in the next few blogs. this might be the perfect time to say that our cottage has a spare room. that's an open invitation to all interested parties. and if it gets too crowded, the main house has 3 rooms available for a nominal fee.
in the 17 1/2 years i spent in the philippines i never really experienced public commuting and every californian knows that public transportation in cali is, more often than not, an inconvenience. this last week i've been catching up on all that. we've been taking the jeepney and tricycle EVERYWHERE! as if we had so many places to go lol!
there actually isn't much to do in this little town other than surf and relax. we usually start out the day with a morning surf for curtis. i hang out at the nearby resorts reading a book or teaching myself more about lightroom and photoshop while the boy is out on the water. we have market day a couple of times a week to give us something to do and to stock the fridge. there's a little mall 15 mins away that has a handful of shops (most of them shoes :D) and a small theater that gives one respite from the constant heat. there's supposed to be a casino nearby the likes of vegas that we haven't checked out yet. in all honesty, the little alleys in the market is fun exploration for me.
we've devised a work out regiment to keep me from exploding into fatness since i still haven't summoned up the courage to try surfing myself. there's actually a surf school around here with some awesome and very patient instructors. some of the locals we've made friends with are puzzled by my inhibitions. i tell them that i'm worried my contacts will wash away but really i'm more worried about making an ass of myself when the board hits me on the head. there are actually quite a number of girls coming out from the city to learn how to surf. i envy them their courage but my response to trying it out myself is... "you're so brave! i'll be here snapping a picture when you stand up".
at night the shops close early. even the pool hall down the way was closed by 7pm to our surprise. so we spend the evenings walking on the beach awed by the things that come to life at night. we'll pull out a deck of cards and play till curtis gets tired of losing, hang out at the palapa and enjoy the breeze and in the absence of tv, watch dvd's on our laptops. relaxation at it's finest.
in the coming weeks i'm planning on some 2-3 day excursions to some "nearby" towns. there are a few places i want to check out while we're this far north of manila...
- benguet, home to the rice terraces of the philippines once made it into the list of the 7 wonders of the world is an 8 hour bus drive from here
- hundred islands in the city of alaminos is 2 hours south of us. comprised of 123 natural islands and islets some inhabitable and all of them just a few mins boat ride away from each other.
- vigan, a coastal city known for its architecture dating back to the spanish colonial times of the 16th century and is a 4 hour bus ride away
- pagudpod, a couple more hours past vigan is another beach town with stretches of white sand and more surf for the boy.
keep in touch everyone and i'll be blogging more regularly.