What I Did In My Summer Vacation

What I Did In My Summer Vacation 
By Walter Ang
July 13, 2000

When students make their way to school at the beginning of the school year, one of the first assignments that English teachers give out is always a composition on "What I Did In My Summer Vacation". I'm going to take my cue from this yearly ritual and spill the beans on what transpired during my summer vacation. First off, let me just explain that, unlike students, I no longer enjoy the luxury of having a two-month summer vacation. Instead, I get a few measly days off from the grind of the city when the Holy Week rolls by. Better that, though, than nothing at all, right?

I didn't even make any concrete plans to do anything for this year's break. Come Holy Monday, though I realized that I was so incredibly stressed out and I wanted, nay, NEEDED to get away so I could decompress. After a few phone calls, I was able to hook up with a friend who gamely agreed to go with me on a trip to Puerto Galera. Normally, my neurotic self would have had apprehensions about the trip, seeing as how we've never been there before and we didn't make any advanced plans or reservations.

Thank heavens I wasn't my usual self. I was in full "I-wanna-get-away- for-the-break" mode and nothing was going to stop me. What's more, my friend and I were able to ask another pal to join us on Wednesday evening. We were supposed to leave for the beach Thursday morning. And just to show how unplanned everything was, our friend said yes right there and then.

After a three-hour bus ride, we got to the pier where we had to get tickets for a ferry ride to the beach. I risked the large crowd inside the ticketing building while my two companions stayed outside to scout for scalpers. There were so many people jam-packed inside the lobby, I was afraid we were breaking some fundamental physics laws.

I ignored the sweat, body heat and occasional yelling. I stifled any fears of stampedes breaking out. I now knew what sardines feel when they're inside a can. I desperately wanted to do my Fran Fine (a.k.a. The Nanny) imitation, "Oh Lord, why me?" Fortunately, my friends were able to hook up with other hardy souls so we could fill up the quota for a banca ride instead. It wasn't lunch time yet and we'd made new friends already!

Two hours later, we stepped onto the warm sands of White Beach. The sun, the waves, the people, the atmosphere, boy oh boy! We were pooped from all the traveling and spent the rest of the day securing a place to sleep. (Prices were exorbitant as it was the Holy Week; to save our meager budget, we spent our second night sleeping on the beach.) The evening was spent staring at the stars.

The following day, we discovered an interesting little Italian bar/restaurant at the end of the beach. We marked our space near the bar and lounged in the sun while the aroma of freshly baked pizza and cooked pasta wafted in the air. Banana daiquiris in hand, we spent the rest of the day blanking out and staring at the waves. The tension began leaving our bodies, we felt the energy that flowed to refresh our minds.

All of this -- and without any plans or preparations, to boot! We were so thankful that none of our prissy friends came along. We didn't even want to think what it might've been like. Our sojourn came to an end with us trundling back to the innards of the city awash with golden summer glows. What a blast!