January 18, 2014

Calatagan, Batangas: The Quick Escape

My grandfather (may he rest in peace) was a travel nomad. I would always remember him, calling me whenever he wanted to watch a movie or eat something that he craved. He was also responsible for introducing me to traveling. At the age of 4, he and my grandmother, brought me to Hong Kong. I had my first U.S. and Canada trip when I was 6. The following year, they brought me to Malaysia and Singapore. As much as I wanted to join their travels to Thailand or Europe, they left me at home to focus on my studies. I lost the travel bug in me until he treated the whole family to Hong Kong back in  June 2011. (I get the feeling HK serves as a starting point for my travels.) I had a goal then to travel at least once a year and discover things that would inspire or help me to hone my craft. One Saturday afternoon, my grandfather called me from work and told me to go home and pack my bag because we're going for a road trip. I said I can only stay overnight so he brought me to the nearest beach strip from Metro Manila: Batangas.

My summer started early last year

The lovely beach house covered with trees
We stayed at his best friend's house in Calatagan. They own this beachfront house that reminds me of the movie, Message in a Bottle, or any beach setting from Nicholas Sparks' books. We were a large group called 'Mangiare' (Let's eat! in Italian) because obviously, we love to eat. Good thing one of his friends tagged her daughter (Tinne) & her best friend (Mere) so I was able to bond more with people of my own age. 

Mangiare! (My other buddy, Karen, wasn't able join us on this trip);
My grandpa on the left, wearing his favorite "No Missed Steaks" shirt
With Tinne and Mere
We just chilled the whole time and took this opportunity to get away from work.

Got rid of the sleeves to enjoy the sun
After lying in the hammock, chilling with the Beatles on loop, drinking an iced cold bottle of San Miguel Beer, and having non-stop conversations with my grandpa and his friends, I realized not to take life too seriously and just enjoy the random in-betweens. By the way, this was my last out-of-town trip with him. Thank you for the gift of travel, Papa. I still miss you everyday.

We left Calatagan at Sunday noon, had delicious sizzling Bulalo for dinner in Cavite, slept in the car like a baby until we hit Manila. Batangas City offers a wide selection of beach houses you can rent if you're looking for an overnight vacation by the sea.