Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Potipot Island

In a country with 7,101 islands, there are about over 30,000 beaches here, some more popular than others. I've ventured into the popular ones and I am not impressed with the commercialism of Boracay, Palawan or Puerto Galera. I like secluded beaches more, so I cajoled my college buddies to go with us to Potipot Island.

It was a 6-hour drive (we got trapped in Holiday Traffic) to Uacon, the mainland that faces Potipot. Uacon is a sleepy town with very modest accommodations. There isn't even cable TV within miles. And the sand is very soft and fine, though very dark as well, almost black that when you're swimming in it, it feels like you're swimming in mud.

Sandra had a great time though, she played with the sand and made "mud pies". I guess I need to be thankful for her ability to make do with what's available, since TV nor toys were not at her disposal.

But at least Potipot island is just a kilometer by boat. In fact, it's within view from this beach.

So we took a P400 (about US$10) boat ride to the island. The boat is a rickety thing made from plywood and bamboo. I didn't take any chances and insisted that Sandra wear a life vest. The vest was something I brought along. Life vests and safety gear ARE NOT AVAILABLE in this province. Case in point, we are literally hanging on the boat with our butts because there were no proper seating and we just leaned on the banca's edge.

Potipot is a stark contrast to Uacon. Take note that it's just a kilometer away, but the sand here is pristine white. On the background is the banca that we rode on, and the mainland of Uacon, Candelaria.

There is absolutely nothing in Potipot. No resorts, no electricity, not even a bathroom. It's just a secluded mushroom -shaped island of misplaced trees and white sand. It is serenely isolated, which made the 280km trip from Makati worthwhile. Unlike Boracay, no one will try to sell me stuff while I'm on the beach, and there aren't any giggly honeymooners either. Just perfect.

One of the few pictures of me and the girls together. In reality, we took a second to pose and then just ignored each other the rest of the time. Everyone had a thing. Trish wanted to bake herself in the sun. Vecs wanted to explore inside the island. Sandra wanted to build castles, catch hermit crabs or snorkel. I just wanted to breathe it all in. Oh the blue ring right at the edge of the water is where the sand disappears and one just drops to infinity.

Surprisingly, Sandra took to the water immediately. I expected her to chicken out when we saw that it was too deep, but with the vest and a wakeboard, she seemed very confident. I didn't take chances though. I was swimming close to her like a mama whale next to a calf.

Though the bad thing about playing mama whale is having this for a constant view -- Sandra's side. There's really nothing much to see down there, since I may need scuba gear and a diving torch if I really wanted to see what's in that blue abyss. Besides, in this deep water, Sandra safely swimming is a much better view to me.

I'm really glad we made that trip. But I sort of regret taking this picture. Because now, I really do wish I was there.

Christmas Madonna

This is a retro post, since I didn't have much time to blog around Christmas time.

The Christmas party at the office as usual, had production numbers with high expectations. I guess that's natural when you have production designers at your disposal. Anyway, the gays at the office wanted to do Madonna drag but didn't have enough gays to portray Madonna in all the stages of her transformation. With the lack of drag queens around, they turned to the next best thing, the "fag hags" such as myself. I got the part to perform 2-stanzas of Holiday from Madonna's Blonde Ambition Japan tour. And not to sound biased, I did look the part, though I looked more like I came from Yokohama than she did. LOL.

Getting "adopted" for New Year's Eve

It was my first new year without Sandra and family. I would've wanted to just troop down to Ayala avenue and just get lost in the street party crowd all by myself. But I decided against that and accepted an invitation from the neighbors to watch the fireworks from their penthouse.

It's 2008. I'm a big girl now, and if I still go on with my being introvert, nothing would ever happen to me. So for the first time, I attended a party where I knew nobody but the host (and not very well at that). The host was a mis-transplanted Aussie who didn't have a family here. Come to think of it, most of the people who attended didn't have families. So we were like adopted misfits, warmly welcomed to his home to partake of spaghetti, sausages, grilled chicken and booze.

My co-adoptees were also a mix of characters. Engineers, stock brokers, IT geeks, a Harley biker, housewives and provincial natives, and ehem, bargirls. All of us had nothing in common, except for the fact that we were all alone. I came in a proper suit dress, and was surprised to see some girls wearing revealing tube tops with their breasts almost spilling out. One girl looked at me oddly and I looked at her back oddly, but decided... oh what the hell. We exchanged hugs and greeted each other happy new year. Just for this day, I suspended all judgment.

And from the penthouse, we had a 180 degree view of fireworks from Ayala and the rest of Manila. And for someone whose lonely, it wasn't such a bad place to be in.