Didn’t I promise Makus that I’ll bring him to the beach and let him go boating as prize for bagging the bronze medal in all Grade 1 level?
Today’s the day!
We woke up 4:00 A.M. today, packed the necessary ‘beaching’ stuff like towels, extra shirts, briefs, sun protection cream, toiletries, spoons, forks, paper plates and then went off. From San Carlos, the municipality of Lingayen is like an hour away, passing the Tandoc to Binmaley road. We arrived at the beach at round 5 A.M. and I allowed Makus to start his day at once.
Lingayen beach entrance is located at the back of the beautiful Lingayen’s Capitol office. An array of neatly lined trees gives shade and welcomes the eager beach-goers.
Upon entrance to the beach, public kiosks are lined up beside an equal queue of coconut trees. But then they are too far from the shore. The huts cannot defeat the sun’s angry scorch so we settled for one of the paid cottages. It is nearer to the shore and is covered with bamboo walls for sun protection and some privacy.
So for starters, a cottage rent may cost P300 during weekdays and P400 up if weekends and peak seasons. After a little price haggling, we got ours for a mere P200 because we arrived on a weekday. Our bamboo cottage has a long table, 2 side benches and a bed. We chose it because it’s nearest to the shore and because it’s just the right size for my company of five.
We brought our own rice and asked the cottage attendant if it’s possible for them to cook the rice for us. They agreed and provided the stock pot for us even for a little charge of P50.00.
The immense shore and waves are still and peaceful all throughout the day. So while Makus and his cousins were having a good time playing at the beach, I was cool to stay in the cottage and look after our things. The sun’s heat was scorching and I wouldn’t dare to go under it to expose my skin.
Incidentally, AB, a tattoo artist roams the sands of Lingayen beach, offering henna services for a meager P50. So while my company was busy getting sun-burnt willingly, I was getting myself some art on my skin back in the cottage. The design is of elfin leaves and flowers. It is pretty, although my elfin vines and leaves will only last for a week and a half. I’m not posting a picture of my henna-d back though; the bots may flag me for policy violation.
So while I was busy getting my henna, Makus, Zach, Hannah and Ara went boating. For a reasonable P50/head for big people and P20 for children, the boatman provided them orange life vests and treated them to an hour of trip going as far as 2 kilometers away from the shoreline, going to and fro and even letting them swim in the deeper part of Lingayen Gulf. It was the blast for Makus and for them three. The boat ride was the crowning glory of the beach trip for these four young urban dwellers. Well, it’s not every day that they could hold the ‘katig’ of a banca while the boat drags them in sea water.
When lunchtime came, we ordered the cottage attendant to buy roasted chicken from Chooks-to-go for us. We could have ordered fish or mollusks if the budget permitted, but we were okay with chicken. Although I must admit, lunchtime was some sort of a letdown for the children.
After lunch, I had to order for a strict ‘STAY IN THE COTTAGE’ policy. Makus protested, but he obliged anyway. He went for a short nap while the other three teenagers spent their idle time singing in the videoke provided for in the cottage. I must admit it’s quite expensive. The videoke rent cost P100/hour or if not rented by the hour, cost P5.00 per song. There are ameneties like snack bars, shower, floatation devices and comfort rooms too. Also there’s a lifeguard house located near the shoreline.
At around 3 in the afternoon, the sun disappeared in the thickest gray clouds, prompting me to join Makus and Hannah in the beach for a while. It was Zach and Ara’s turn to look after our things. The sands are fine and soft to the feet, the waves are still in this perfect beach setup, until of course, and we felt stinging sensation all over our bodies. We can’t see any water insect attacking us, but we felt painful stings every now and then. This forced Makus to give-up swimming and instead played on the shore, digging the sand and building small sand castles. I went back to the cottage, got myself clean, and started packing our stuff just in case they decide to go home earlier as planned.
A shower use cost us P15 per person and the comfort room use is P5.
Around 4 P.M., true to my assumptions, Makus and the teenagers decided to roam around the place and get pictures of the World War 2 relics. There was an old metal attack tank, which Makus did not fail to check out, an old Japanese bomber plane and a land-installed turret.
Unknown to my nieces, the Lingayen Beach is a World War 2 landmark. When I told Makus the story of General Arthur McArthur’s landing on the shores of Lingayen, he wouldn’t believe me, until he saw the war relics. After the cigar-smoking General McArthur declared his famous line “I shall return”, it was on the beach of Lingayen he landed to fulfill his famous promise of returning to liberate the Filipinos from the Japanese conquerors. I know about this information since I was a kid as I myself frequented this beach in my youth. I remember my amazement and awe, seeing and touching and even sitting in the pit of the single-manned bomber airplanes and the tanks made of solid metal. It was my grandpa who told me the story of McArthur’s landing. It’s now my turn to amaze my little boy.
The way home was quite uneventful. Makus, Ara and I spent our time sleeping all the way until our handsome driver reached our drop. We walked home tired but happy. I was delighted that my boy and his cousins enjoyed a much deserved little bit of summer beach fun.
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