The rain poured on and off but more on than off in San Narciso, less than an hour from San Antonio where we were supposed to take a boat early in the morning to go to Capones and Camara Islands. Donna insisted that we cannot possibly go on the boat ride if it continues raining but Arman who is coordinating all this for us, gently but firmly steers us to stay on course and follow the set itinerary. The boat has been paid; the packed lunch is ready; the rain is losing strength.
We had a leisurely buffet breakfast at the surfer’s resort on Crystal Beach but we at last, much to my relief, set off and drove back to San Antonio where the skies were clearer but the water still tempestuous. It turned out we were at the wrong docking area and we had to drive further down to Pundaquit where the waves were calmer. The moms wanted to go back to Casa San Miguel to change clothes and I thought we couldn’t afford to delay the already delayed and miss the window of pacified weather. In the previous Hero’s Journey, there were no arguments between Donna and me but in this one, we were tested twice.
We arrived in Pundaquit where many locals wait expectantly for tourists. It started drizzling and once we were on the boat, there was no turning back despite the choppy waves. One mom kept squealing each time the boat leaped, but we were all smiling to have made it thus far. Seeing the lush mountains with multiple veins of waterfalls erased the morning’s unease. We set foot on Agnaem, the only change in the itinerary which was originally Capones. Agnaem had the more convenient landing and huts for meals.
Our guide from Casa San Miguel, Rogie led us to the waterfalls which was an adventure especially for the moms who haven’t trekked up a tropical mountain with streams to cross and tall grass to wade through. And what a thrill to make it to the falls after the threat of cancellation fell, like Coke wouldn’t allow us to go back to Casa unless we had competed the tasks that were in our list. Like heroes beginning an adventure with a list of things to accomplish, we couldn’t earn our rights to go home unless we have ticked them off.
Rogie turned out to be a man of many talents. He took violin lessons at Casa when he was a child but gravitated towards another art form — sculpture. He has had his works exhibited at the Cultural Center of the Philippines alongside Coke’s sister, Plet who is also a sculptor. He showed us his work displayed in Casa beside his mentor’s. Rogie is an excellent cook as well and prepares the meals for Coke and his team of artist-facilitators. He enjoyed collecting shells and hermit crabs with the moms from China who filled a bottle with souvenirs from the sea.
For the nth time that day, the weather again threatened to change so we boarded the boat while the waves grew. We made a short visit to see Camara Island from enough distance to appreciate it and headed back to the shores of Pundaquit where we waded through a semi-turbulent part of the beach that partially knocked one mom down.
(Note to self: must bring Jason, Joshua and Jimmy to surf here, too.)
We made it back to Casa San Miguel bringing our trophy of a journey and the moms couldn’t wait to be reunited with their kids.
Around twenty years ago, my friend, Aouie and I were university students full of dreams and drive. We organized an exhibit-workshop-performance at Casa San Miguel linking music and architecture. Fast forward to today, Aouie has three children with her university sweetheart and fellow architect, Randall. My son, Joshua loves sleeping over at their home because he plays non-stop with their youngest son, Dylan.
I invited their family to Casa to witness Joshua perform and see how much Casa has changed over two decades. They were able to make it to Capones Island, site of a Spanish lighthouse which we measured and drew many, many moons ago. They docked on the opposite side of lighthouse steps and were able to take pictures as awesome as this: Poseidon rising!
Aouie has yet to give me the Little Mermaid pictures of Margaux. Gavin got stung by a sea urchin.
Out of the sea. . . . wish I could be . . . .