How can a city squirt resist the prospect of a southwest adventure after a companion who had left earlier for Batangas sends an SMS describing her swim for the day where she felt like she was swimming in an aquarium with multicolor fish swarming around her?
|Float a few hundred meters from the shore of La Luz in Laiya, Batangas|
More local color is bound to come one's way as a public commuter. There are two ways of getting to La Luz beach resort in Laiya, Batangas--one via Candelaria, the other via Lipa. If there is no hurry, try the longer route that involves all manner of transport (bus, jeep, tricycle, feet).
When taking the jeep in rustic towns, the traveler from the city will inevitably find herself sharing seat space with any or all of these people: a farmer and his plow; a toughened-by-life grandmother who commands the driver to stop at a corner store so she can get off to fill her sack with rice grains while the motor is left running; a housewife with the week's marketing, her basket leaky with ice from the frozen fish; a lass with an aluminum wash basin back-rides (sabit), a hazardous practice considering the speed with which the vehicle nearly flies.
There are audible linguistic markers, too, signs that the Tagalog spoken here is quainter than the one in Metro Manila--the frequent use of di-ne or i-re (to indicate "here").
The city dweller easily lets her guard down because helping strangers find their right destination still seems second nature, the guide not expecting to be tipped and quite content with a salamat (thank you). The leafy grounds of La Luz in Barrio Hugom are of the same rough texture as the sand and pebbles on the beach. One learns there's a downside if a beach boasts of packed fine sand--the possible proliferation of sandworms that can get into bodily openings and cuts.
|Solitary reader inside a cabana|
A sign near the for-rent kayaks and bikes advises that the fish's habitat and coral reefs are protected so swimmers, snorkelers and divers can just enjoy the moment. The only souvenirs allowed to be taken out are pictures.
|Early birds by the shore of Sigayan Bay|
|Breakfast menu written on chalkboard|
|Warm-looking bricks on walls of one of many patios in Ugu Bigyan's pottery, garden and restaurant|
|A pond in the garden with shop in the background|
|Fresh pako salad|
|Mussels and mustard leaves in oyster sauce served on Bigyan's flatware|
|Fried maya maya with mango salsa|
|Bowl of guinatan with balls of taro and tapioca|
|Strainer resting on spoon rest with pair of birds|
|Entrance signs at Patis-Tito Garden Cafe|
|Beautiful fabrics and curlicued air vents|
|Banana turon a la mode|
|Unusually tall portraits of Patis and Lito Tesoro gaze down at visitors.|
|Dolls in Filipiniana finery by Patis Tesoro|
|Vanished world restored|