Quezon Weekend

Calm Waters Beckon

Calm Waters Beckon

Last weekend, April 3, 2009, we finally got to go to a private resort in Catanauan, Quezon. We were invited last year but were unable to accept until last weekend. We were picked up at the Mall of Asia by our benefactors at around 10PM. Since it was a Friday night and the with Skyway construction after Bicutan, we expected our journey to be slow moving. But we didn’t expect that it would be that bad. It turned out that there was a stalled truck just past the Bicutan offramp.
After those two obstacles the pace of our journey got better. Since our destination was in Bondoc Penninsula, our route would take us throught the towns of Sto. Tomas (Batangas), Alaminos (Laguna), San Pablo (Laguna), Tiaong (Quezon), Candelaria, Sariaya, Lucena, Pagbilao, Malicboy, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, etc. all the way to Catanauan. Manong Nilo, our driver and elder brother of our benefactor, is an excellent driver. His mastery of the route was the reason why we arrived as early as we did (around 3:30AM). He is jovial and friendly. He told us about the drudgery of life around their area, and how their family really strove to make a life for themselves outside of their place. In so doing, they became successful, and returned to their barrio to make improvements and benefit their “kababayans”.
The number of vehicles gradually decreased as we approached Pagbilao. Traffic became almost non-existent after the junction where the road to Bontoc Peninsula veers to the right from the Pan-Philippine Highway (going to Gumaca and the Bicol Peninsula).
We arrived at our destination around 3:30AM. We were ushered upstairs to our rooms where we could finish off our night’s sleep.
We awoke around 7:45 that same morning and had breakfast. After our meal, we changed into our bathing attire so that we could enjoy the sun, sea, and shore.

The water was clear, cool, and shallow (it was still low tide).   The sun was drifting in and out between the clouds.   There was hardly any wind thus the waters were calm and reflected the sky.
Sun drifting in and out of the clouds

Sun drifting in and out of the clouds The water fronting the beach was like a small bay. Near the center of the bay is a bamboo raft ("balsa") with a nipa hut ("bahay kubo") on top. We loaded food and drinks onto a small outrigger ("banca"), rode it to the raft, and off-loaded our supplies onto the raft. The water around the raft was only waist deep so even the children and those who don't know how to swim just had a merry time frolicking in the sea. The shallow water was a boon to kids and those who didn't know how to swim

   After some time, our hosts let us take turns riding their jet ski.  Everyone had a blast!  It was really great fun riding it.

Getting instructions on how to work the controls

Getting instructions on how to work the controls

After everyone had a turn at the jet ski, our raft was tied to two outriggers, which then towed us into deeper water where we could do some snorkeling. 
As always, it was a real treat to look at corals, fishes, sea urchins, etc.  We had lunch out in the sea, and they towed us backaround 3 PM.  
Having fun at the pool side.

Having fun at the pool side.

   The resort also had a pool, although it was rather deep.   After swimming we rinsed off and proceeded to explore the sea shore towards the west end near the mangrove.

On the west end of the shore is a small mangrove forest.

On the west end of the shore is a small mangrove forest.

It was nearly dark when we returned to the house.
After dinner, we had fun at the videoke machine.  And to remove the last vestiges of inhibition, San Miguel Light was served.  The singing ended around 11PM.
   The following morning, some of our companions went strolling along the seashore. This really worked up their appetites and were hungry when breakfast was served.  The same ones who went strolling went back out to the raft for some more swimming.  The rest of us, meanwhile tooks showers and proceeded to pack our things.  When the others came back, it was their turn to take showers and pack for the return trip.
   We left the resort after taking an early lunch (11AM).  On the way back, we made a stop at the Agdangan Church.  The prayer tower while still uncompleted due to lack of funds still stood at 120 feet. 
This 120-ft tower is known as the Luminous Cross of Grace Sanctuary.

This 120-ft tower is known as the Luminous Cross of Grace Sanctuary.

 Inside the structure are life-sized statues depicting the Stations of the Cross.  Along the walls are murals done by local artists illustrating images from our Salvation History.  At the top is a dome-covered platform where mass can be celebrated.  At the very center is a small raised dais with the symbol of the Holy Trinity. On this dais, and no where else on the platform, your voice reverberates.  It is said that the center of the platform is a focal point of positive energy that have healed numerous pilgrims.  At night, when the cross atop the dome is lit, it can be seen as far as Marinduque across the Tayabas Bay! 

Since cameras are not allowed inside, I can’t show you anything.  You really have to come and see. 

As we continued our homeward journey, we made a stop over at the town of Sariaya to buy some “pasalubongs”.  The going was great until we reached the outskirts of San Pablo.  It was a slow drive until we reached Sto. Tomas.  From there, it was easy going back to the Mall of Asia, where our weekend began.

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