Island Paradise

Last May, our family returned to my Mama’s hometown in Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro. Aboard M/V Nikki, we left Manila around 10am and sailed for six hours. At the port of Tilik in Lubang, some of our relatives welcomed us upon arrival. From there, we drove for thirty minutes going to our town.

Locals call that  area (the town where Mama grew up) Silangan (East). It’s also famously referred to as Pulong Katihan where it’s low tide, usually in the afternoon and from midnight til dawn.

We went there to host a Pasandal during Mayohan, an annual and month-long celebration every May. Pasandal is basically a gathering of friends and families, a night of dancing and of course, enjoying good food. It’s not only a night of enjoyment, but also of prayer and thanksgiving. Thanksgiving mass is held and a procession follows in honor of the Blessed Mother. That’s only a part of what happened during our five days of stay in the province.  For the most part, let these photos tell the story.

Flores

Flowers of May offered to the Blessed Mother

 Okay. Obviously, I didn’t quite capture the moment here. I was supposed to take a picture of them while singing and swaying in front of the main altar, but I was too focused on listening to them that I forgot to bring out my camera.

So here’s a photo of elderly women (after) offering flowers to Mama Mary. I remember one priest reminding us after the homily that flowers should no longer be offered during the offertory, but should already be placed in front before the start of the mass. I somehow get his point but after seeing those women sing praise and honor Mama Mary through flower offerings, I see the reason why people would want to offer flowers during mass. I guess that makes more sense.

lubang2

Ladies dancing

 In the city, we’re used to seeing guys dancing with girls. Back in Mama’s hometown, you can literally ask anybody to dance with you. We see here ladies dancing with each other. That night, I danced with my lola, aunts, cousins, other close relatives and new friends.

One afternoon, my sister, brother, cousins, some friends and I decided to tour (more like wander) around town. Here are some photos from our tour.

bank

Rural Bank of Lubang

 I think this is the only bank in town. Though it looks kind of old from the outside, a friend says that it’s still in operation.

pnp station

Town Police station

That is one nice looking precinct, with no detainees, too. Yes, way better than any police station that I know of in the city. The third floor is where the “cells” are. But a local said that there are no cases of serious crimes there, so there’s actually no need to detain anyone. Usually, only drunk people stay in the station overnight, or until they are sober.

tuktuk

Tuk-tuk in the Philippines

This is a tuk-tuk. But they don’t call it that. It’s just a tricycle. Aside from jeepney and motorcycle, this is another mode of transportation in the island.

On our fourth day, we went to the town of Binacas for swimming. It was almost one hour of jeepney ride. If only the concrete road was finished, we would have been there in less than thirty minutes. It was a long bumpy ride, but it was all worth it.

binacas road

Road to Binacas

jeepney

Jeepney ride. Notice the windshield. If it rains, well, you know what to do.

We arrived at last!

beach

Rock formations by the beach

footprint

_____ was here. Is that really a footprint?

Footprints are seen in these rocks along the shore. This is probably why they call this place Binacas (Binakas). Bakas, in English, is trace.

We decided to go home before 5pm. It would be difficult to travel at night with no streetlights and rough road. Ten minutes before we get to town, it rained hard, as if a tropical storm hit the island. That would be our last day in the province and I couldn’t miss the chance of seeing the sunset. The rain stopped at around six and before I totally lost hope, Papa called out and said that I can still view the setting sun.

Here’s what I got.

sunset

Setting sun after the rain

The view was simply breathtaking. Witnessing this was one of best parts of our vacation. What a way to end summer.

The stories and photos may never be enough, but this island, in many ways, is truly one piece of paradise.

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