I finally caved in to the pressures of mainstream travelling.
So this is how it feels?
Believing that my limited travel funds are better spent on visiting pristine locations, I shunned any opportunity to go to Puerto Galera.
Why would anyone want to find himself packed in a touristy location anyways?
Circumstances truly change quickly, as I found myself sitting in a boat on my way to Puerto Galera.
Not for vacation of course, but to participate in the 2011 International Coastal Clean Up arranged by the organization I belonged in .
(Bad breath? On our way for the International Coastal Clean-Up 2012)
Travelling in the spirit of volunteerism and good cause certainly is worth spending penny on. Picking up trash has never been as fun compared to Puerto Galera . That’s because surprisingly, there was almost no trash to pick up to begin with.
Just kidding. In all seriousness, what made the undertaking worthwhile was being able to interact with really amazing bunch of kids.
On our way towards the coastline, these kids were reserved at first and took a heavy of persistence on my part to make them chatty.
Once the ice was broken, there was no stopping them from blurting out the most astonishing and hilarious words one can possibly hear from young mouths.
Besides the creative jokes, their zeal and knowledge about environmental conservation certainly caught my attention.
It was great and at the same downright depressing knowing that at the same age the only subject matter I can be considered an expert in were “shooting an unsuspecting classmate with a pellet gun, pointlessly hurling rocks at other children in the playground, getting stitched in the head without anesthesia after getting hit with a rock, and most important of all convincing the principal not to tell your parents about any of my misconducts.
These kids become more like shining jewels when compared to a nutcase like me.
In the end after a shared lunch meal prepared by the parents of these kids, one of the kids approached us soliciting our autographs.
(The perks of saving the environment.)
After learning a lot from these kids, we should have been the one asking for his autograph.
But for that rare day, it felt nice that even once we were a role model in this kid’s eyes.
No one can doubt that I was a behaved kuya [older brother] worthy of signing autographs for young kids.
(Siamese twins, these kid and I are foreveer inseparable)
The activities that followed were equally engaging as interacting with the kids.
First it was worth precariously balancing our way through what seemed to be a mud skating rink amidst the hard rocks to plant mangrove saplings which would serve as a nursery for young fishes in the future.
(Geia obviously enjoying planting mangroves)
Next, not even the strong current could stop us from skin diving.
It turned out to be an exhilarating experience because ringing the curtain up, Pueto Galera unfolded its rich reef teeming with life. The healthy reef was so vast that I was able to find my own personal reef space when I swam away from the main group’s hustle and bustle.
Achieving underwater peace was a testament on how the people of Puerto Galera has successfully taken care of nature.
(Big Branch Table Coral)
(Chocolate Chip Sea Star)
(Colony of staghorn corals)
The International Coastal Clean Up culminated when we arrived at Coco Beach Resort. As one of the event sponsor, they sure know how to treat our organization like royalties.
The accommodating and the always smiling staff, free food and ALCOHOL are really great.
(Drenching from sweat and rain won’t stop these guys from enjoying Coco Beach’s great food)
But best of all the outstanding villas they let us stay in at discounted rates.
But as my own luck would again mess with me, the villa where I was assigned to was the farthest among all, on top of the mountain. The tiring stair climb provided the best view, but was not sensible for a drunk man struggling to keep his bearings after a night of heavy drinking.
(Somewhere over the rainbow is my room.)
Who can blame me getting dead drunk? Who wouldn’t party hard when it was reggae night?
Like me the bands sure enjoyed, playing as if it was a long time since a significant crowd danced to the rhythm and grooves of their music.
(Puerto Galera bands surely know how to work the crowd.)
At 2 am, the band,was finally tired and voiceless stopped playing even with the strong plea of the crowd.
We drank what remained of our beers and raised our bottles to the environment and the Puerto Galera people for doing such a great job!
As I finished my drink I asked myself “Where are those stairs again?”
(Yeah! Who cares if my drink is girly? IT’S FREE!.)
(Nicco Lampa visted Puerto Galera, Philippines on September 15, 2012 until September 16, 2012)