One of the best days of my life
One of the best days of my life
I woke up at 9:08 am without any alarm. Thanks to my earplugs, eye mask and ceiling fans, I had a solid 10 hours of sleep for a change. It has been a long and effortful few weeks of travel.
After freshening up I made my way to the kitchen and with a French press made a cup of delicious coffee. While the coffee rested I headed next door to see Joy at her bakery and picked up a coconut roll. I had never seen one like this before. It was soft and slightly sweet and a perfect accompaniment for my coffee that was steeped to perfection.
I sat outside to drink in the coffee and use the wifi but I quickly noticed the day offered the best weather I'd had since my arrival to Palawan. It was the warmest day too. Only partly cloudy with fluffy cumulus clouds, a slight breeze and lower humidity. I knew I had to finally get to the most perfect beach in Palawan I'd been hearing about since my arrival.
I rode into town with two folks also staying at the Bamboo Nest and got dropped off by the center mall. And within seconds I found, Alex. A local man prepared to take me the 40 km to the non touristic beach of Nagtabon on his tricycle. 500 pesos there and 500 pesos back. We had a deal.
The drive out of Puerto Princesa was congested and slow moving, but after passing Robinson Mall we were finally able to make some real progress. And about 45 minutes later I saw the first view of the ocean and was able to clearly set my eyes on paradise.
After one last very steep hill down to the water I walked 100 feet and there I was. Standing in the presence of greatness.
I quickly tried to figure out where else I've been in the world that had a beach this perfect.
I counted about 25 people in the water to my left so I looked over to the right and started walking to a stretch of beach that had no one. Not one other human.
The sand was the softest sand I've ever stepped on. No rocks. No broken shells or bits of Coral. No pollution. No trash. No music. No noise. No one playing games. Just sand, sun, breeze, palm trees and the cleanest clearest water I've ever seen. I'm not a religious person, but I know I was talking to an infinite spirit here. I prayed this place would never be discovered and destroyed with large resorts and disrespectful drunk tourists.
I put my bag down and ran into the water. Frolicking like a 5 year old. I giggled and splashed and threw myself into god's perfection and couldn't believe that it was all mine this single afternoon. No one to distract me. Or pull me out of this heaven on earth. I felt more alive here than in most places I've been through this lifetime. What a respect I felt for this beauty. It was humbling. I immediately recognized how small I was and am in the space on the planet. I felt grateful for my eye sight and the ability to take in the many shades of blue in the water and green in the trees. I noticed the abundance of coconuts filling the grove of trees adjacent to the beach. The sand although not white, was pure powder in a lovely shade of tan.
The sounds of the waves crashing were entrancing. I stared at the water for what felt like ages and felt even more gratitude for how clear the water was. I barely saw a piece of seaweed the water was so clear and clean. I was in the middle of nowhere and it was incredible. I'm not sure there is even an English word for perfect magical serene and picturesque natural beauty all wrapped into one. This kind of energy that makes you grateful for everything you have yet you simultaneously desire nothing. But this experience. This minute. This moment. This quiet and peaceful delight. I already knew when I got back to the Bamboo nest I would pull clothes out of my bag and donate to the local women in the neighborhood. I have so much.
After a few more hours at the beach I found Alex and we made our way back towards town. I told him how much I loved tuba and he made sure to find me some closer to Puerto Princesa. It is the most delightful sweet fermented coconut goodness ever. I think you can buy a variation of it at Whole Foods in the US for about $14 us. I got it for about $40 pesos! That's $.80 US!
After 45 minutes and a short tricycle ride down BM road we stopped for the tuba and then to a quick visit at BM Beach. I loved the huts over the water, the sound of children playing and the blowing of the palm tree leaves. The beach was quiet at that hour and it easily kept me in my peaceful state.
Once back to the Bamboo Nest I headed across the street to see Fay for some pork and vegetables and some more tuba. And ate the flesh of my coconut from Nagtabon Beach for desert.
After eating and hydrating I headed back to the Bamboo Nest, freshened up and once the sun set a crew of musicians showed up to jam into the night.
There were locals and foreigners, Americans, and Russians... the night was alive with soulful beats and smiles, sharing and drinking local rum. It was incredible to see spontaneous communities like these come together. There was laughter and camaraderie and talent and acoustics. Kindness and love and sweet tunes. After taking in a few songs and singing along, it was time to rest my very joyful and tired head.
Thank you, Universe. This kind of magic is rare. And I couldn't be more grateful to experience it at all.
Thank you, people of the Philippines and Palawan.
Until next time ....