I went on a holiday alone at Puerto Galera.
I am used to traveling alone so it was not an issue besides being alone means I can do whatever I want to do. I want the freedom and independence of solitude, besides, I will meet people if I want to. Indeed, I found myself ‘friends’, but went home with more than that, a scar on my leg and botched henna tattoo.
I got stung by a jellyfish as I waded the waters. It was a bright perfect day with a rainbow highlighting the sky spoiled but by the stinging pain that stretched from my upper things to my legs. It was not so long however as I am not so tall. I immediately got out of the water and sought help from the staff of the cottage where I stayed just right across the beach. They applied fresh kalamansi juice on the affected area. I requested for the rind and rubbed it on the fresh bite. My happy day swimming was over at that very moment. I spent the rest of the day under the shady palm trees staring into Puerto Galera’s horizon.
2. A Botched Tattoo Job
Puerto Galera is a party destination and beach resort. Tables and chairs were upturned during the day. At night, these are laid on the sands and lit with candles while loud party music hums with the rolling of the waves. There were henna tattoo artist around and I got mine on my navel. The artist was mediocre and my tattoo ended up like a cloud of sun around my pretty navel. I was stunned but I hid my displeasure. It was just 50 pesos anyway and the ink will fade in weeks. So I wandered around with a painful thigh and a ridiculous henna tattoo job.
3. A Large Bottle of Mineral Water
I carried the water from Batangas pier up to Mindoro. I was tricked by the peddlers to buy them the water. They coaxed me into believing that I’m going to a remote island of sorts where water is scarce. It was my first time and I never knew any better. I still hate the thought of it until now. Me carrying the heavy drinking water was like stupid because as soon as I disembarked from the boat, there was a party of stores lining up the coastline and there were mineral waters for sale around the area. I felt cheated.
4. Afro Braid
I got myself an Afro Braid but only after I lost the key to my cottage which the braiders who I snobbed all day salvaged for me. Who would not be cautious with them after the water-incident? Since they saved me from the inconvenience of searching for the key from the sands, I eventually succumbed to their pleas and got me an Afro braid which is really pretty anyway. While working on my hair, they lectured me about being friendly. They were hurt that I snobbed them all day.
4. Instant Friends
I went there alone on an off-season but there were foreign and local tourists. I carried a book and cradled myself comfortably on a hammock. I never bothered with anyone not even the foreigner taking a picture of me on the hammock with my book on my hand. In normal circumstances, I would have reacted for intruding my privacy.
My soliloquy however was short-lived because in a few hours, I became friends with a Filipina girl who was holidaying at the beach for weeks already with her half brother who is half-Filipino and half-British. It’s not that I violated my vow to privacy, she approached me first and I was gracious. She introduced me to her friends who also became my friends. So for two days, me and that girl was best friends forever.
5. A Choreographer
My best friend forever also has a male gay friend who was fluttering around the area, like a butterfly. The he-she friend choreographed some of the pictures (not shown here) which he took with my phone camera. I love this he-she friend no matter his odd ways. Not for the pictures and not with the way he was stalking and physically caressing my next-door neighbor’s hunk of a boyfriend. I always have a soft heart for gays, since working with them in a dance troupe in college. They taught me how to put on make-up.
6. Freedom and a Nice Tan
The friendship I built there also ended there. I desired nothing more from it after that short holiday. It was a memorable vacation. I was brave traveling alone, asking and following directions and going home whole and unhurt except for the jellyfish sting, the botched henna tattoo, a really nice tan, and the nagging thought of being cheated with the heavy mineral water.
I like the social environment at Puerto Galera’s White Beach, because I feel free from the stealthy stares of the curious. I love the idea that nobody cares about anything except being happy and having fun.