My journey towards one of my dream destinations, Burot Beach was indeed one of the most unforgettable. It was a little bit of everything. It was aggravating. Exhausting. Very exciting. And absolutely inspiring. All rolled into one heck of experience. I gotta admit, I never had expected it would turn out the way it did but I appreciate every single part of it.
It all started Saturday, the 16th of November. I worked on a graveyard shift and I got out at exactly 10 AM. Minutes before that I was counting seconds by years and a decade for a single minute. I was so excited and worried at the same time. I haven’t got everything prepared but my boyfriend/travel buddy/my-number-one-fan and Ian was his name, assured me that he would have had everything secured right before my very eye when I get home and there was absolutely nothing I should worry about. Oh well knowing him I didn’t really get my hopes too high and I was right for doing so. It took me several minutes to hail a cab going home. Although I have anticipated some delays I was hoping real bad that Ian would have gone over himself to prove me wrong but he didn’t! Oh boy…
When I get home I was really frustrated, about to give up, change my mind, cancel Burot Beach and spend the weekend staring at the dumb TV but I thought of almost a year of planning this dream weekend getaway, of wondering what it could have been chasing the beautiful sunset in a quiet calm of the sea within the embrace of the sands of this unspoiled beach, and that gave me the motivation. I wasn’t feeling really well, could catch a flu anytime but I didn’t mind. I waited ever so patiently, made some preparations of my own and breathe so I could prevent myself from blowing the whole thing up.
The original plan was that it was going to be just me and Ian but he doesn’t seem to find my company alone really exciting so he asked me if he could invite some of his friends to come with us which I, skeptically, obliged. We were on a tight budget and the idea of his friends coming over would definitely cause a big difference. It would have been better if it was a positive one but NO. Oh well. Anything that would make the boy happy.
Two hours after 10 AM, my patience was almost at its peek. What was taking those sissies too long? We were at the house waiting and still they haven’t shown up. I think Ian sensed my aggravation. He must have seen my head burnt, similar to that of Nicolas Cage, in the movie “Ghost Rider” that he quickly scooted out to hunt his friends. Several minutes later, he was back along with three bullies. Good Heavens! Now the dilemma was how we’re gonna get to Taft MRT/Pasay Rotonda FAST. We were coming fromFTI Taguig so hailing a cab taking us to Pasay Rotonda was a true pain in the ass. Many turned us down for the reason or fear of being caught overloading. We were five and PUV’s are bound to follow a passenger load policy, which for a cab, only five people including the driver is allowable. The sun was scorching hot, burning through my skin. I would have loved it if we were at the beach sun bathing but hell NO. We were chasing cabs from one to the other. Finally, a good-hearted driver or so I thought let us hop in but he asked for an additional 30 bucks on top of the meter price which I thought just reasonable. Well, whatever that would make you take me away from this inferno Mr. Cab Driver.
We have driven a good 50 meters or so from the spot where we hailed Mr. Good’ol Cab Driver when he opened up about the additional 30 bucks he was charging us. Hardly convinced, Ian quickly disagreed and insisted that we would only pay for the meter cost. Without a word, Mr. Good-Natured-Cab-Driver, pissed, furious even, pulled over and ordered us to get out. It took me quite a few seconds to take it all in. Is this really happening? I got off the cab slamming the door while thinking Ian could really use a kick in his balls. I was grinding my teeth trying real bad to keep my cool. My scowl could have quickly scared a cat. I looked around and found we were at the area where cabs rarely pass by. We walked for several minutes. I was at the end of the pack barely talking. I was all ready to throw my tantrums. I was about to cry. What a luck huh?!
When the four of my companions ran to the other side of the road towards the parked taxi, I didn’t stir. I just stared at them. I slowly walked toward them when they gave me an OK-we-are-good-to-go signal. This time I felt more comfortable. Mr. Truly-Good-Natured Cab Driver was a pleasure to talk to. He was quick to change my mood. Thanks to him, I wasn’t all that gloomy.
Everywhere we turned, the traffic was heavy so Mr. Truly-Good-Natured Cab Driver found a rendezvous that would take us to Pasay Rotonda in less than 30 minutes. Although it took us 45 minutes, I was still grateful and happy to pay him 30 bucks more for the good conversation he had with us. After we got off near Taft MRT station, we hurriedly searched for the terminal where vans bound for Calatagan, Batangas are parked. We didn’t knew exactly where it was located so we asked the guard from Kabayan Hotel for instructions who was quick to say “just go straight”. Several steps later and there it was. We were right on time. They were only waiting for five more people and the van was about to head off.
We departed the Metro 25 minutes after 1PM. I just had a brief conversation with the group then dozed off for 2 hours. When I awoke, it was already 3:30 PM and we were still somewhere in Tagaytay. I wanted to go back to sleep but I began to get so troubled. One of the main reasons why I wanted so bad to go to Burot Beach is the promise of a beautiful sunset. So beautiful everyone who’ve seen it fell in love with it and with only a matter of hours until sunset and we were still in the middle of nowhere, I couldn’t help but resent the thought of me missing it. I could choose to stay for another day but that would be too much of a risk to take since I have work the following day. I just kept myself perfectly still, oblivious to the world, lost in thoughts. My face must have been the mirror image of what I was thinking since the bullies started teasing and mocking me about it. I just rolled my eyes. Honestly! Don’t they have better things to do other than piss me off?
It was 4:15 PM. The van pulled over somewhere called Lucsuhin. There Ian and his friends thought that was our jump off point as they squirmed and turned like little boys about to wet their pants. I didn’t say anything since I knew where exactly we were headed through my research. I never knew being the only geek in the group has its perks. Then, one of the passengers, who said she was from Calatagan, told them it was still far. That didn’t really help my mood. Later other passengers who were also from the area joined in their conversation. I just listened to them. They began to warn us about some locals taking advantage of tourists who barely knew the place. They started suggesting other beaches like Manuel Uy in Barangay Sta. Ana and the Golden Sunset. Ian was quickly convinced but I was hard as steel, determined to push with the original plan. A little pissed, I went back to my reverie, appreciating the view of the places we passed by. A place so beautiful caught my attention. One of the locals said, even before I open my mouth to ask that it was the ranch owned by the elite Zobel family. I smiled thankful and wondered what those handsome trees lining the side of the roads were.
We had reached our jump off point a little passed 4:30. After waving the other passengers goodbye, I quickly scouted the place to hire a trike that would take us to Burot Beach but Ian said one of the locals had volunteered to take us there for FREE. I opened my mouth to speak but closed it again as I was lost for word. I was surprised and overwhelmed. Then a man approached us and told us to wait for him in front of the police station and to talk to no one. I recognized him as one of the passengers in the van. He looked like he was in his early 60’s. I wondered what his intentions were. The question, “What’s in it for him?”constantly popping through my head. Then I remember one of our neighbors warning us about the NPA or the New People’s Army’s forcing some people to join them. That’s scary but I was quick to discard the idea. Besides, what could an old man shorter than any of the five of us do to a bunch of overfed, oversize crooks? We weren’t at all like that but that’s how my companions looked like, crooks, and the overfed and oversize was just ME. (Laughs)
Ten minutes later, the old man was back. With him was his Mitsubishi passenger truck. Sweet! I swiftly climbed on the passenger seat. All doubts forgotten. The boys climbed not on the back seat but on the back of the truck. I was left to get to know the good Samaritan on my own. It turned out he was Nestor Caunan. From the way it seemed and from what I could make out of during our talks, he seemed to know so much about politics and that he’s very engaged in it. He doesn’t believe much in God and the Bible which I felt really sorry about but he’s a good man and that was what’s important.
The road to Burot Beach was unpaved and undeveloped. We passed through the local cemetery and through the outskirts. We reached the gate where a guard approached us and asked us for the entrance fees. Tatay Nestor distracted him and asked if Ramon (the caretaker) was available to speak with. The guard let us pass without further delay. We had reached Burot Beach shortly after that and I was not surprised to see many people already there. It looked like the entire shores were fully occupied. We dismounted the truck then Tatay Nestor told us to look for a place to pitch our tents as he would go hunt for Ramon. We walked farther west and we found a shore where no one dared to stay that day. It was the perfect spot as we could have it all to ourselves. Though it was not part of the main shores of Burot Beach, it wasn’t any less beautiful. The sands were fine and white. The waters were calm and still. It was amazing and it was only a matter of minutes before the sun sets.
As I was sitting at the shores not caring much about the boys pitching tents and preparing the camp, I saw Tatay Nestor walked towards us. I stood up and ran towards him. He said he was just checking on us before he goes back to town and that he wants us to keep his number just in case we need anything. I offered to walk him to where he parked his truck but he quickly pointed to the setting sun and said “I don’t want you to miss it” then he turned and waved goodbye. I watched him disappear and went back to the shore to watch the sunset with my camera ready to snap some photos.
My day started like the world had conspired against me. As I was watching the sun leave for the day I couldn’t help but thought of how things unfolded, from the not-so-good beginning to the inexplicable. truly inspiring ending. The feeling it gave me was so surreal similar to my impression of Burot Beach thinking how could this beach be this mesmerizing. I have seen more beautiful beaches but Burot beach offered me something else that I yet have unraveled. I was content and even more grateful. What else would I ask for if somewhere, in a distant place south, in an unspoiled and untouched beach with clear waters and white powdery sands, found the most beautiful sunset. It was dramatic. It was breathtaking. It was no doubt perfect. The silence of the beach, the gentle melody of the waters flowing ashore, the chilly afternoon air and the scenic view of the sunset with the sky painted of different shades and hues combine made me feel like I was in a romantic movie making love with the gods. Bah! Now that’s overrated! Seems like it but it’s true…
- The night in Burot Beach is at its most beautiful during full moon. After the sunset entertained us with its colorful goodbye, the moon took center stage and offered us with a different kind of mystique. It shone so bright, dancing with the millions of stars. In the middle of the night, the moon’s beauty was unparalleled, only reflected by the evening sea. When it was its time to bid adieu and gave way for the sun, it left us its legacy consisted of grey, pink and purple elegance.
- Sea urchins were not at all that bad. When the boys went night swimming, each one of them felt the wrath of these tenacious creatures. They had almost cursed them to extinction but in the morning, we had a different kind of treat from sea urchins. We had our first taste of this famous delicacy which I thought was only offered in Bohol. I never knew sea urchins were that delectable, even more when eaten with a cup of hot rice and dipped in spicy vinegar. When at Burot Beach, several locals sell these for only 100 pesos per bottle.
- There’s a little island in the middle of the sea which the locals call as the white sand island. It only appears during low tides. Many bankeros would offer to take you there. It is not that far from Burot Beach so a price of 150 pesos to 200 is already reasonable (depending on how many are you in your group) to experience another wonder of this astounding world.
- Burot Beach has a rich marine biodiversity. There was a part of the beach where we stayed for several hours just watching small fishes of various species swim and fly in the waters. We were so overwhelmed that we forgot to even take photos as we were greatly astonished.
- To take care of your valuables anytime when at Burot Beach. It’s always advisable that someone in the group is left to watch over your belongings.
- To keep the beach clean. Take care of your trashes. Setting up bonfires is not prohibited but to help save the earth from global warming, it’s best to bring lamps, flashlights and other source of light and heat. Also bonfires are very damaging not just to the beach’s environment but also to our health.
- To hope that someday this magnificent beach is still there for future generations to see.