The dry season has officially begun! The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) declared April 1 this year the start of the dry season.
While looking for the exact date of the start of summer, I found out that it is not appropriate to call the hottest season “summer” as we do not have spring, autumn, and winter! We have only the “wet” and “dry” seasons. According to PAGASA, the termination of the northeast monsoon or amihan is their indicator that the dry season begins. Around this time, days gradually become longer than nights.
We always looked forward to summer—even if it meant enrolling in one short course or another. Summer is when we learn new skills or discover talent because this is the time we take dance classes, art lessons or play a new instrument. Boys in their puberty undergo the rite of passage.
Summer for my children meant long trips to their father’s hometown and a month-long vacation with their paternal grandfather. It meant early mornings at the beach and occasional trips to neighboring towns.
When they were older, my husband would drive. Even with packed lunch, we would still stop at restaurants or get off at parks. The 12-hour road trip would take about 16 hours because of all our stops.
A few years ago, my cousins and their families joined us. We took a plane to Legazpi, proceeded to Donsol where we stayed for half a day and checked in at Rizal Beach in Gubat, Sorsogon. In the days that followed, we went to San Benon Hot Springs in Irosin and explored Bulusan Lake. We went as far as Matnog, took a boat to the Huag Fish Sanctuary and spent the day on Subic Island.
Except for the water line, Rizal Beach hasn’t changed much. The sand is fine and light gray but gets coarser farther down towards the church. There are no surprise “drops” as the shore slopes gradually. The water is usually calm, except for the undertow at a portion where the river meets the sea. On the way to the beach from the town proper, surfing enthusiasts have established a haven that is quickly becoming a popular destination.
The approach to Bulusan from Barcelona offers breathtaking views of the sea. There are ruins right across the Barcelona Church. Farther on, little waterfalls line the road on the side of volcano.
Bulusan Lake now offers water rides. But even with those colorful vessels, the lake and the surrounding area remain mysterious and eerie. People in the area say no one knows how deep the water is. Some believe that there is a river that connects the lake to the sea below.
We visited Subic Island off Matnog next. But before we got there, the boatmen took us to the fish sanctuary, which held large fish, turtles and clams. Some parts were deeper than others, but water was so clear, the sea floor was visible from the huts built over it.
Subic Island is on the southernmost tip and one can feel cool and warm water coming together. This is where the Pacific Ocean meets the China Sea. But what is most unique about it is the color of the sand on its shores: pink!!!
Some of us had our fill of beaches that summer. The breathtaking views and wonderful food make the long road trip truly worth it—that is, if you’re not too attached to five star comforts. Memories of vacations like this always make me look forward to summer—er, the dry season!
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.