Food and Accommodation: Complimentary
Contact Number: 032-354-8661/0917-307-8341/0915-455-6990
Waking up early and having a certain someone to wake me up are reasons to be thankful
A yawp. Then a scream. I stopped reading my battered copy of Jamaica Kincaid’s “The Little Revenge from the Periphery” and looked for the source of the ruckus—the kind of ruckus that only a family can make. It was coming from the pool.
It was my second day. It was the first time that I heard such a happy scream at the resort since the place usually emits a quietness as a consequence of its secludedness.
Aside from the unhurried movements around—the mopping of the bar, the brooming of the fallen mango leaves, the faint trail of smoke rising from the heap of leaves—everything was still. Like the stillness of old laminated pictures covering all the possible spaces of the bar’s walls. Or the silent loudness of Visayas, Mindanao, and Luzon maps on the wall.
I tried looking for Suwanee, Georgia in an equally big U.S. map on a Daan Bantayan wall, but I could not find it.
The bird and the dawn-kissed horizon
“You must be kidding me, right? Hundred twenty-five pesowz for cowned beeef? It only cowsts 25 pesowz at the stowr.” The staff—the owner’s nephew—looked aghast and intimidated with the guest’s British accent. “Well, yow’re naht at the stowr,” my inner evil silently retorted.
“Dat’s awar prays, seer,” the staff answered, embarrassed of the fact that indeed it was overpriced and perhaps embarrassed of his crooked English (crooked according to whom?). He looked so small though their height only slightly differs .
It was interesting—infuriating at the same time—to see how English plays one of its many tricks: to domineer a foreign place—a place that has its own language —and make the place and its people look and feel so small and, yes, stupid. The fury becomes sadness.
The ship’s wheel at the Bar
It was the scene that greeted me upon arrival. I wanted to speak for the staff’s behalf. If there is arrogance that I really abhor is how some—not all—Westerners act like they “still” own the world especially when they “touristed” in the once-colonized third-world countries like the Philippines.
Well, they did. Not anymore. But they still act and think they do. Or perhaps this is just me having a colonial hangover. Or perhaps spending the entire September with Kincaid rewired some of my thoughts. Or perhaps it was just a simple complaint with an expected reaction that I exaggerated here.
Because I love the contrast
When the British guest got back to the Pinoy chick flick they were watching at the bar—a rather poor Hollywood imitation—his companion, a vulnerable-looking Cebuano, apologized to the staff. I just kept on patting Prince the dog, acting nonchalant about the whole drama.
I marveled at the singularity of the moment: a bird flew by on the dawn-kissed horizon. Everything was lifeless except me and the bird. The cook together with a kid was peacefully sleeping on the bar’s bench when I dragged myself out from my room to experience Daan Bantayan’s sunrise.
Because I could not find beauty in the big things, I looked at the small ones: the misplaced but beautiful ship’s wheel, the unused oil lamp, the World War II books, the restaurant’s walls that photographically reveal the history of the place.
For more pictures, The Big and Little Things Found at Virgin Beach Resort
HOW TO GET THERE:
1. Take the bus Bantayan-Maya at South Bus Terminal (Fare is P140-150)
2. Tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Sitio Suba, Malbago. Tell him you’re going to Virgin Beach Resort.
3. It takes a growling 4-hour bus ride from the city.
4. From the waiting shed, take a habal-habal ride to Virgin Beach Resort. (P20)
1. Malapascua Island is 40 minutes away.
2. There is a beautiful tree—straight from a fantasy movie—near the port. It has vines curtaining above the road.
3. Medellin’s Gibitngil Island is a town away.