Beyond the skyline – A Singapore beach getaway

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.15.17 pm

On the not so distant islands of St John and Lazarus, just off the coast of Sentosa Cove, we discovered a place where the Singapore skyline meets the sea. An anonymous piece of city paradise to actually dig our toes into the sand and wade in all shades of aquamarine.

The beach isn’t decorated with sun-kissed locals who live off the sea. No bangkas nor wooden boats delivered coconut juice or San Miguel beer up to our boatstep. Instead we found city folk kickin’ back their Havaianas for a day trip of frolicking in their bikinis, with tan lines leaving a mark on their air con weathered skin.

For my friends it was a welcome break from the concrete corporate playground we know Singapore to be. While the beach doesn’t compare to those back home in the Philippines, it was lovely to actually be able to jump off the boat and melt into one of the untouched coastlines in the city. Even until now, after 3 years of living here, Singapore can still surprise and delight. Two islands – St. John’s and Lazarus island – beyond the skyline and a beach getaway just a short ferry or boat ride away.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.18.34 pm

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.19.02 pm

Advertisements

Buhay Baler!

Last November 5 to 7 felt like a reunion of sorts. Four childhood best friends escaped to Baler for the long weekend — a long over due post-adolescence trip that they haven’t yet taken since finally getting over puberty.

It was the first complete out of town trip that Lena, Mej, Jobim and I have went on together. The occasion was to celebrate Lena’s 21st birthday, which is odd because I feel like she was 21 long before I was. Lena was always so mature, even back when we were 15.

My other reunion was with the beach, a place I wish would never feel like such a stranger. I used to go out of town  more often until issues over money broke us apart — at least temporarily. Until I can afford the luxury of flying and traveling without sacrificing how to get by daily (I live in a dorm. It’s difficult), and my future (I’m middle class. It’s difficult), I have to be picky. Similar to why I’m still single, I don’t want to pick just any place to travel. It has to be worth the expense.

Baler is located in the province of Aurora and considered to be a surfing paradise. It’s about a 5 to 6 hour drive from Quezon city, which is why we left at around 2:30 in the morning and arrived past 8. Upon arrival, once the Pacific Ocean greets you, all you want to do is follow the path leading to the water.

A typhoon was passing by so it was raining on our first day there. Since it was too dangerous to swim or surf, Jairus took out the ukelele instead…

… while the rest of us sang along.

Monopoly Deal is also another fantastic way to pass the time. Too much time actually.

But I don’t care (about Monopoly deal, among other things.)

We tried to wake up at 6AM to catch the morning surf.  Since we were roughin’ it on this trip, we made mac and cheese… with cheese wiz. Mac and Cheeze Whiz tastes just as good.

Finally, the rain subsided. The men — Jairus, Ziggie and Bruce– they didn’t waste any time grabbing their surfboards.  Like the locals, surfing is part of their life.

The story behind Baler is like a movie —  an epilogue to Apocalypse to be exact. They filmed part of it in Baler and the crew left surfboards behind which the locals starting using!

I wish I had a picture of me surfing. I feel like an extra. Boo!

Beer with Jobim — the boy who used to get mad at me for drinking, but we’re not kids anymore and all we do is drink!

Buhay Baler! Buhay Beer!

The birthday girl and I had enough surfing for one day.

There are other beautiful and simple things to enjoy — like friendship.

Jobim’s rolling his eyes at me. I’m always so dramatic daw.

Enjoying the last of the trip, the view, the surf, the peace, before we have to wash up and leave.

 Aside from surfing, you can also visit and climb the biggest Balete tree I’ve ever seen. 30? feet.  It’s where all the aswangs and the dwendes play. Just kidding.

My avatar is here to find the meaning of life — happiness and joy!

And love.

Love, in all forms.

Lunch at a karenderia to complete the local experience.

Indeed the trip felt like a reunion of sorts. A childhood captured in 4 friends. A friendship both nostalgic and new.