Subic 'Scapade - Getting There

April 29, 2006

We're off! The whole family, including my nieces Robyn and Andre, hied off for an escapade in Subic. We left San Pedro at 2pm. Jeng and her family were in another car, behind us by an hour, and we were supposed to meet up at the Petron service station in NLEX. We got to NLEX at past 3 o'clock and stayed for a while for refreshments. Later we opted to move on with the drive, so we can secure a cottage for the night.


The trip was pretty uneventful until we got to Bacolor-Lubao stretch in Pampanga, where we got ourselves into unmoving traffic. Apparently it was the town fiesta and the streets were pretty busy. We spent over an hour navigating through these towns, most of the time driving off-road.
We finally got to Dinalupihan, and then Olongapo by 7 pm. The kids have by then tired of asking, "Are we there yet?" and we were all hungry for dinner. But we decided to drive on, again in the interest of securing a cottage, and starting the bonfire we had looked forward to.
Finally, we got to Baloy Beach in Bo. Barreto, 133 kms from Manila.
There we got the shock of our lives -- the cottages were full. The parking spaces were brimming. We were offered a seedy cottage for the night for P7,000. I wanted to kick myself for taking the risk of a long travel without guaranteed accommodations. There, I kicked myself.
The second option, which was the next best thing, was to get a picnic hut. We needed a roof over our heads for the night, and at least a place to sit and stretch our legs... as we wait for Jeng and her family to arrive and compound our accommodation problem. :(
We were shown the picnic hut area and I almost fainted.
There, every nook and cranny was taken, and everywhere were bare-chested, drunken men. Certainly interesting view for children, eh?
And where will we sleep? (On the bamboo table, the keeper said.) Can I really sleep with all these people and all this racket around? Where are the restrooms? And do I really need to compete with all these people for shower tomorrow?
And what do I tell Jeng?
A long day, a growling stomach, FOUR restless kids, the embarassment of dragging a friend into incovenience, the prospect of sleeping in full view of at least a hundred people -- it was impossible to think straight.
Yet somehow I found the energy to ask the keeper to find us a less populated area, and there haggled for a "short-time" stay. I asked him to take our P500 (give him P700, Mike said), allow us to have dinner at the hut then keep it for us for a few hours while we look for a place for the night. He was to keep the P700 if we were not back by 10pm. If we didn't find a place to stay, we'd pay for the rest of the rent for the hut.
By then Mike was relentlessly attacking the Pinakbet I packed for dinner. The kids were left to their devices with the munchies.
We left the maids to cook rice, packed the kids and drove off to nearby hotels. We went to White Rock, which we assumed to be less populated because it was more costly, and to Ocean View, (at opposite ends of Barrio Barretto) but both were full. The whole country must have decided to go to Subic for Labor Day weekend!
I called Jeng, who was in Olongapo by then, summarized the circumstances we found ourselves in at Baloy, and asked her to please find for themselves a place for the night. We've decided to head back to Olongapo to find a hotel there, and we drove back to Baloy to collect the maids.
Luckily, Mike suggested we drive past the crowded huts and scout for a vacant cottage along the stretch of the beach. And hallelujah, we found not one, but two! Only they were on limited lease; the house, where the airconditioned rooms were, has been reserved for use 10 am the following day; the beachfront cottage was reserved for 1pm. More haggling and more pleading, but I got it for us. They were miles better from the first house I was offered, and we got the two houses for P7,000. I called Jeng and told her the relief.
Mike (aka resident Boy Scout) started the bonfire in no time. (We bought the firewood along the highway in Lubao, Pampanga and stacked them under my legs in the front seat. You could imagine how it added to the day's exhaustion.)

(Continued)

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Why AnneThology?

Anthology means a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts. My name is Anne, and this blog contains a collection of my thoughts, musings and writings (poems, short stories), some songs I like, plus a sprinkling of excerpts I find worth sharing --hence, AnneThology.

Did you know?

Anthology derives from the Greek word ἀνθολογία (anthologia; literally “flower-gathering”) for garland — or bouquet of flowers — which was the title of the earliest surviving anthology, assembled by Meleager of Gadara.

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