“So, Joe, why grow your hair long? Why not just go bald?” Len asked our friend Joe, matter-of-factly. I heard Joe mutter something, but my mind was far too preoccupied to listen to his answer. I gazed out the car window, thinking of Joe’s back hair gathered into a thin, foot-long ponytail, his head topped by a glistening crown that was bare of any hair strands.
“Just like Pico de Loro,” I thought, sadly anticipating the sight of deforestation at the two-peaked mountain my mountaineering buddies and I had climbed many years ago. On this cloudy Friday, my friends Len, Joe and I were finally headed to the beach house owned by Len’s family, and she promised us we would pass by a resort that had been built on a cove near Pico de Loro. I say “finally,” because Len had, for years, been asking me to visit their beach house. When I acquiesced, I asked her to invite our Tai-Chi teacher-friend Joe.
Living in a country that is an archipelago composed of 7,100 islands, makes visits to the beach a common activity. When we were young the elders of our clan gathered us every weekend and brought us to the beach during the summer months of March to May. When I was in college, I was fortunate enough to belong to the group of friends of a naval officer’s daughter and often, we would ride a ship and go to some far off island, which we had all to ourselves. Every island we visited taught me the meaning of the word “pristine.” As an adult, my work had taken me to the best beaches in our country. Thus, beach houses held no attraction for me – at all.
Finally, after a 90-minute ride we were in Punta Fuego, an enclave for the rich and famous people of the Philippines. Len’s beach house turned out to be not a beach house at all.
“My husband said, ‘Don’t call it a beach house, call it a cliff house,’ ” Len explained amidst the successive “oohs” and “ahhs” from Joe and me, as she showed us around.
“Goodness!” she exclaimed. “The sea is really putting up a show for you!” The waves danced before us, and we were in awe.
Over a sumptuous lunch that would make any vegan swoon, we unanimously agreed that we had visited at the perfect time. Although we were in the midst of the typhoon season, we were in between typhoons, so there were no monsoon rains.
After lunch we headed for the resort near Pico de Loro. To my amazement, the mountain was still covered with trees, and there was no sign of deforestation at all.
“If you come in April,” our guide Lance proudly said, “You’ll see the giant turtles coming by the hundreds to lay their eggs.” My eyes bulged with expectation. But aside from the prospect of seeing the giant turtles, the resort was nothing compared to Len’s cliff house.
“You really needed this trip, Rosanna, didn’t you?” Len asked, as we said our goodbyes.
“Yes Len, I needed this, thank you so much,” I answered, wondering how she could have known.
Such is the graciousness of life. It warmly embraces you with all the good things just when you need it most.
On the way home, I smiled, looked up and whispered a heartfelt “Thank you.” I went home bringing with me the graces of a perfect day and I was ready to listen to news about a beloved family member who lay dying in his bed in the United States.