#Gopalabeachday SOON!

Aug. 22, 2017

What was supposed to be an overnight getaway for some R&R, ocular of my friend’s family property for Gopala’s Beach Activity and advance celebration of my eldest daughter (she’s turning 19 – WAHHhhhh not my baby anymore!), became a 2 nights 3 days of wonderful experience. It may not be PERFECT but definitely worthy of memories. (It gave us a glimpse of what a life by the sea could be – in FULL COLOR!)

The night before my husband said, “Weather forecast says, there’s thunderstorm and rain” “Shall we go?” I just said, “Let’s push it!” We’ve been planning a trip to the beach for a few months now. It has been our family tradition to go to the beach at least once a year or as long our budget allowed us.

My second daughter, Vaish has been begging us to go, since she misses La Union. It’s where both of my older daughters stayed for summer camp for few months in a year. So living by the beach became there home away from home.

They learned to free swim in the ocean as far as they can reach (one time I visited and swam with them I got a bit scared seeing them so far from the shore), learned to boogie board, and kayak. My eldest daughter, Vishnu priya was even assigned to be one of the lifeguards.

So we did our last minute shopping for food and supplies, we were told there was NO electricity, NO water and NO kitchen amenities – so had to be survival ready! While my husband went and got the pick-up truck my friend lent us.

The next day, we left around 8am. It was just about 2 hour drive or less but my husband insisted on stopping so many times to take photos of the scenic views.

We were all happy to see lush tree-filled mountains on the way. Green pastures and crops-filled lands made the trip very pleasant.

It was our first time to go to Calatagan! A new found friend and investor of Gopala, friend invited us to their family’s private beach property.

We were guided by Kuya G, their caretaker, he said, “I’ll be outside wearing a yellow shirt.” When we saw him waving at us, he let us enter a tall wooden gate. We thought, “How can there be a beach here when it is still quite far from the coast.” True enough, we still drove about 5 minutes or more towards the beach. As we looked through our window we passed by a thick landscape of trees mostly mango trees, felt like driving through a forest, until it was gone and replaced with the sight of the ocean.

Our daughters hurriedly got off the car and almost in unison sighed “WOW!” “What a sight!” Actually we were all in awe, it was BREATH TAKING.

I sat down on the picnic table closed my eyes for a bit to feel the ocean breeze on my face, listen to the silence, and breathe in the fresh ocean air, I said out loud, “This is amazing!”

Actually it was the solitude, the calmness, the ocean breeze and the scent of saline water that captured us. The beach front property were additional perks. On the ocean view, we can see a number of islands, on the right and left side were filled with mangroves and at the back were trees… lots and lots of them!

We were the ONLY ones there. Oh! Some wild and free roaming goats and two dogs.

There was a cute trailer house that was intricately designed. It was a work of art. We all thought, “My friend might have designed this!” Inside, there were two beds with pull out drawers underneath. The side tables also had a drawer and hidden compartment to maximize storage. There were jalousie windows in all 4 sides, what was impressive was the sliding wall beneath the windows with the ocean view, to capture the sea breeze even inside the trailer house. You can adjust how much breeze you want in. We joked, “Oh here’s the air-continuous! (No need for electricity)

The toilet and bath was also well designed. 

It was almost lunch so the caretaker said, it was about to get very low tide. We didn’t know what it meant we just sat there and watched until the sea water slowly disappeared before our eyes—it was amazing! My mom said, “Where’d all the water go?” We all giggled.

We then ate our early lunch. There was no dishwashing area so we washed our plates with beach water and the final washing with our drinking water. (We didn’t use soap because we didn’t want to pollute the water more, we used the sand as our scrubbing granules)

My daughters felt a little disappointed because they were so ready to swim in the ocean but it was gradually replaced with curiosity as they found sea creatures on the beach ground. The usual looking starfish emerged and crawled towards the puddles of sea water. Little fish swam their way towards the leftover sea water. Their nature interest kicked in!

We found ourselves walking about 30 or more meters away from the shore. Walked on spongey seaweeds, sea grass, bursting as you step on black sand and corals. We walked passed Flag Pole (marking it was going to get deeper). We saw different sea creatures like sea urchins, a long soft GIANT caterpillar looking creature, crabs of all sizes, and creatures inside shells, GIANT orange and red starfish!  My youngest daughter, Vana cried, she got scared of the GIANT starfish. So she jumped on me and started crying. I calmed her down and my husband carried her to a patch of sand (we’re still meters away from the shore). We all sat down around the starfish and studied them. We looked closely as it carefully brought out their seem-like thousands of little legs for crawling. On their hard spiked top came out soft gooey spikes.  Vana was scared no more.

We swam a little when we reached the deeper parts but didn’t last that long since there were so many garbage around. It was too heartbreaking to see how we, humans, destroy God’s beautiful creation. (Take note the white sand was sugary fine) We thought, “It’s probably best to do an ocean clean-up here.”

While taking a family group-fie, we saw the storm coming. Our background looked like a scene from “Twisters.”

As we headed back to the shore, we saw the fishermen with their buckets walking towards the different parts of the sea ground, looking, poking, and hunting for whatever seafood they can find.

I thought they are so patient and hard-working people, enduring the heat of the sun and coldness of staying too long in the water – some were knee deep while other were chest deep – most are ankle deep. And to think people who eat those sea food asks for cheaper price for them. We don’t eat them but appreciate how tedious it was to get them. If only people will get to experience how difficult it is to work for food. Just like the farmers who plant rice and work all day – everyday – and for just a small amount of peso.

At the shore, we went our separate ways. Admired and experienced the place in our own different interest. My husband took photos, Vana played on the sand, Vishnu priya rested on the beach chair, Vaish sat under a tree, my mom walked by the shore. As for me, I sat on the picnic table facing the ocean and quietly meditated.

Midday, we enjoyed some singing. My hubby brought his guitalele.

There was no electricity so we went inside the trailer house at around 5pm.

At around 6pm the solar light on the post turned on. It was so bright that we didn’t need much light. (We bought solar powered lamps/flashlight.)

I started to cook our dinner on our newly bought camp stove. (I’ve been wanting to buy one but could not find the reason for it other than it was cute hahaha but now definitely had the reason to buy it!)

At around 7pm it rained, since the trailer house was quite old and seemed not used often, there were some leaks by the window. We shut off the air-continuous hehehe. Placed our water jugs, containers to catch the dripping water. It was a good experience for the girls – not everything is always pretty and nice. We also improvised for our “peeing” since it was raining hard to go out for toilet. (It was Vana’s first time to experience it but it definitely brought back memories to my two older daughters) – I told Vana, “We NEED to learn how to adjust in any given situation.”

We slept around 8pm after doing a few story telling which our daughters requested. They never get old for it!

The next day, the waves woke me up at 4am – WATER! The shore was filled with sea water again, my husband was also awake. It was still dark outside so we both did our morning meditation prayer. When the sun came out so did we. We did some walking by the shore. Picked up shells, he asked, “What will you do with them?” – I want to make lamps out of these beautiful shells! He was very supportive and picked shells with me.

When we got back from our walk, I shouted from outside, “Girls you’re missing out!” Vaish still sleepy walked towards us on the property boardwalk, while we walked we saw another GIANT – a giant creature in a white shiny shell. It was 2inches in a diameter and 4 inches size. I picked it up to show our guests later on.

We were very excited because we asked Manong to get us a boat for hire.

We waited for our friend and her three sons to arrive. When they came, they too were amazed! IT IS a BEAUTY. We showed them the GIANT creature in the shell and let the creature go.

As we talked, we heard the motor boat arrive. “YEY! It’s here!” Said the kids. It was Vana’s first time to ride a boat. We told the boatmen, “We want to go to that island, pointing towards the ocean and a seemingly far but closer to us island.” “OK!” Said the boatmen. (There were about six or seven of them on sight) And so off we went to one!

At first I was concerned. It has been years since I rode a boat. I’m not a fan because I have a problem with balance. I even get elevator sickness but at that time, I was just filled with delight, seeing my family and mom with Nim and her sons thrilled was a sight to behold.

The boatman was about to anchor the boat when Vaish just jumped off the boat. She said, “Mom I CAN’T help it!” I MISS the ocean! We went to the sandbar. We explored it and went swimming. We didn’t notice the time until our faces felt burning. (It may NOT be a perfect place because the sandbar was made of broken shells and corals so it was painful to walk on. (Unless you wear the proper gear which we didn’t have) but it was all in all – WORTH IT! You don’t have to go far places – spend so much, you just to learn how to appreciate the magnificent beauty of Mother Earth. This one gets a mark on my bucket list! Haha! (We’re simple people with simple pleasures.) Who would have thought we can experience THIS here close to Cavite!

On the way to the trailer house, we stopped by deep waters, so that my daughters can swim and dive. IF ONLY we can stay longer (the boat was on an hourly rate) 

After swimming, we got on the boat, the boatmen said, "You can actually see SEA TURTLES from time to time in the waters." It could be because the sea floor had ALOT of SEA GRASS which they eat. - That is one to look forward to for the next visit!  

We love the sea and the perks: seawater help increase your immune system function, improve circulation, promote overall well-being, hydrate your skin and has a purifying effect.

It is actually advisable to swim in the ocean more often but due to distance not everyone can afford to do it.

If given the chance we’d GO every weekend especially it’s only 2 hour or less drive – NO toll fees too!

We ate lunch when we got back and rested while waited for my brother and his family to arrive.

When they arrived there was no more water on the ground. Like my daughters they were disappointed but it slowly disappeared as they explored the place.

We went up the hill to check on another house that can be used for Gopala’s activity.

Nim and her sons had to leave, she was not packed for overnight and as for my brother since they didn’t get to see the beach filled with seawater, asked to stay overnight – that meant we had to stay with them too! My daughters were joyful! They wanted to stay FOREVER!

That night didn’t rain. We dined under the solar powered post. Played some card games and then slept. My brother and his family slept in their tent.

It was an early start the next day, we rented a boat again.

There was something different about the ocean that morning. It was quite restless and the water was murky. The cool breeze was even COOLER. Seemed like there was a storm from faraway. The sea level was quite high than normal. We knew because the water reached the trees near the picnic table.

The boatmen came early. We immediately got on board. We requested to go to another location. Manong said, “Ok, we will bring you to the white sand.” It got us even more EXCITED! As we road, the waves were bigger than usual. It swayed us back and forth. (I began to feel a bit sick but didn’t mind it)

When we got to the destination, we were quite sad, the sea level was too high to see any white sand but they did jumped in and swam. The little kids wore their floaters. I jumped in last because I still felt a bit sick.

The water was FREEZING but refreshing! We swam for a while before deciding to check out the sandbar from yesterday’s trip. On the way, they saw a fellow boatmen and asked for more gasoline. Knowing this, we decided not to go anymore since it will take up more gasoline – so probably additional fee – which we are allergic to. We just requested to go deep waters so my daughters and brother can swim but they lent their anchor to their fellow boatmen when they asked for more gasoline. Awww… We were beginning to feel something was wrong. The boatmen suggested that they will just tie the boat on a fishing post. On the way to the post, the boatman miscalculated his speed, the boat went straight to it – snapped – it broke! That’s when we said, “LET’S GO BACK!”

Back at the shore, we saw the sea get even grumpier but it didn’t stop my daughters, brother and his family to go swimming. They swam for few hours before eating lunch.

We ate lunch inside the trailer because it started to rain. We took a nap especially the drivers (my hubby and brother) so that they have energy for the trip back home.

We left before the weather got worse but WE WILL DEFINITELY COME BACK. Setup an event #Gopalabeachday! (We will address some matters first) my friend said, “She hopes more families experience the same kind of wonderful experience that we had. Most importantly something back to basics or survival camp especially since there are NOT much amenities or structures. It was all NATURE – which is GREAT!

Shout out to my friend’s mom for allowing us to use her place. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for sharing your piece of paradise on earth.