The last week of June had been very consistent with the weather: Bad. Everything seemed to be against this road trip to Pagudpud. The rain had no signs of stopping, some highways to the destination were blocked, and our Plan B’s were all inconceivable no thanks to the proverbial rain.
We could have surfed in San Fernando, tried the empanadas and strolled in the ancient streets of Vigan, dared sandboarding in Paoay, seen the massive windmills in Bangui, dipped in the waters of Saud Beach in Pagudpud, and much, much more. The 12 to 14-hour trip wouldn’t be as bad as you’d think with these stopover delights. But these didn’t happen.
A meeting was called on the very night we were supposed to set off to that municipality of Ilocos Norte. Go or no go? Unanimously, the group of eleven chose the former. After all, someone who had just flown back to the country was paying for this trip (well, most of the trip’s financial needs actually). No one would pass this up. This was a blessing surely not in disguise. But unfortunately, so as the omens who put a frown on our faces.
So it was decided after almost three hours of deliberation over chicken wings at Peri-Peri: We would go to wherever our cars’ gas tanks would take us, to wherever the storm’s opposite was. This foolhardy but nonetheless effective plan brought us to Laguna the following day, to the residence of that someone who would pay for everything, almost. We had lunch at Tagaytay and filled ourselves with mandatory servings of bulalo among many other things artery-blocking and went back to our temporary vacation home. The remaining hours ensued with a bottle of Black Label, the original Apple iPad (one liter of apple iced tea and one Tanduay Rhum lapad), and game of poker.
Sunday morning came, and still without any destination to go to, we called a couple of people for suggestions. Our trimmed choices whittled down to those beaches in Batangas, us finally settling on Playa Calatagan since the other options required prior reservations. Spontaneity does not work for them. We left Laguna at 10 and arrived at the resort around 12 noon. Approximately 96 kilometers, says my officemate's GPS.
The sun was unbearable early in the afternoon, so after lunch break these spacious bungalows with whirlpool bathtubs located at strategic corners of the swimming pool were our respite. Sadly, at 5:30pm, low tide came, and the idea of frolicking at the sea was scrapped off. Save it for tomorrow.
Entire evening was spent in this rest house we rented. It was quaint, spaces thoroughly maximized and filled with pop art posters. We followed dinner with a game of Monopoly Deal, something I have yet to master, until everything went dark all of a sudden. Power outage at its finest moment. It could have just been another night of blackout when the retro refrigerator in the kitchen started to rumble and shake. Everyone went dead silent and dashed off to the front porch.
I hypothesized (vehemently) that the fridge’s jiggy dance move was all due to the sudden loss of electricity. Imagine addicts abruptly deprived of their addiction. That put every nerve at ease, I guess, with a little of help of brandy and a game of Pinoy Henyo (I don’t know its English equivalent; it’s not charades, right?), girls versus boys. Guess who won. Night cap was another long game of poker.
Monday morning came, and I went scouting around the area at seven. I am an early riser. Two hours later, some went for a quick dip at the beach. Then it was time for all of us to get back home. Well, not entirely “home” for one of us, since the moolah-provider will be flying out of the country again. We went back to Tagaytay, had these sumptuous servings of sizzling bulalo among many others for lunch, bought the necessary pasalubongs at Rowena’s, and remained silent in our respective cars as we faced the impending reality of good things coming to an end. Especially good, spontaneous things.