Saturday, May 28, 2005

Pandan Island, Nightlife In Paradise

After that sumptuous dinner, we ambled our way to the bar. I never imagined there would be anything much to do in this place during the night so I thought the bar area was a nice place to stay as we let or stomachs settle!

The bar was the only place in this resort with ample lighting. Everything here is solar powered, thus everyone is requested to conserve energy! Cottages have very minute bulbs for illumination which makes them even all the more romantic. But the bar was bit brighter and had a stereo playing dance tunes on CD courtesy of Mang Jimmy.

When we all felt we could already drag ourselves to stroll (after that heavy dinner!), we decided to walk the twenty or so steps to the water’s edge. It was a moonless evening but the wash of the light from the bar could still reach us so we could still see each other! Mang Jimmy told us we could drag the plastic (monobloc) recliners to the water’s edge if we wanted to stay there – and we did just that.

Nature must have been too busy showing off to us what it has. The water was as usual very calm and there was a very light breeze that we thought sleeping at where we were might have been a good idea. As if this was not enough, when we looked up to the sky, we were astounded to see too many stars at various distances shimmering flickering that their numbers looked to me like they themselves were forming clouds. Mameng laughed at us saying “kasi mga taga Manila kayo so you don’t anymore know how the night sky looks since all you can see there are lighted Meralco posts”! She was probably correct. I protested that I have spent many evenings in many a rural place or island in the country but have not seen such a clear night sky where thousands or millions of them little stars could be seen. Those stars were in fact making the night sky bright. It was even harder this time for us to find the constellations that we learned in primary school since there were just too many of them. Well, we could not resist just savouring the great experience that we were in. We had to brag. So using our cell phones, we called friends who originally planned to be with us on this trip but last minute chickened out! Just to let them gasp with envy really hehehe!

On fetching my next beer from the bar, Mang Jimmy asked if we wanted to play pool again as we desperately tried our best in the afternoon. I relayed the invitation and they all agreed. So we were back at the bar area, this time trying again how Efren Bata Reyes does his craft on the billiard table! Some of the younger crews of the resort were already also at the bar to wind their day’s end. Most of them were reading the day’s newspapers but some were game enough to join us at the pool table to give us extra challenge! *wink* *wink*!

A bit later, Mang Jimmy asked if we wanted to play some board game or card games as he had them ready at the bar. We were intrigued by what is this game called UNO so we trooped to him at the bar to learn how it is played. As we were boisterously enjoying the 'new' game, David – one of the owners – joined in as his wife just continued reading the papers. Even the other guys of the resort also joined in the fun with this UNO card game. They are cards yes, but not the type that you would see in casinos. They look more like flashcards used at prep school! I was first to run out of my voice shouting and laughing!

On my next bottle of beer, I opted to leave the group still playing at the bar and decided I might have a stroll on the sand. As I went off, I saw the two diving instructors lounging on the beach with another Caucasian-looking man. Like me, they were also drinking SanMigLight. As I passed by, one of them said hi and I acknowledged with a cheerful hello! But I walked onwards just to feel the sand and the water in my bare feet. It was not really too dark as I could see where I was walking on. Thanks to the millions of stars. When I reached about a hundred meters from the bar area, I stopped and sat on the sand. Just sat there relishing and trying to absorb the calmness of the night hoping I could stay in this place longer. When I was just deciding to return to the bar area, one of the resort crews came walking from farther down the dark beach. He greeted me a “good evening sir” and I asked where he came from. He said 'just there, walking'. We chatted for a while and went back to the bar area together.

As we approached the bar area, I opted to socialize with the dive instructors and the other foreigner. I learned he was also a guest! So the resort actually had five guests for the night! My group (four of us) and this person with the divers. Learned that he is a student at some (non-catholic) religious school in Cavite (near Tagaytay) and was in the island to do some diving. The five of us (two divers, the guest, the crew and me) exchanged stories about places in the Philippines and every other thing that would come to our minds. I learned that the crew who was with me was actually one of the boatmen and a very good friend of the diving instructors who come from somewhere in Europe. The other guest was also from Europe.

We were still deep into conversation and drinking our bottles of beer when Mang Jimmy and my companions started calling out for us to join them at the bar area. They were already dancing, all of them! So we joined in and the place was immediately transformed into an action packed dancing hall! About 12 to 14 of us human beings were grooving it out at the dance selections and I was already perspiring like all the beer in my body was trying to seep out! Even the other lady crews of the resort came to watch us and even the parrot was roused from its silent slumber! I never imagined there would be a 'disco' in this place! But we just converted the bar into one! Well, many people say “when there’s a will, there’s a way”!

When the dancing subsided and when most everyone was just in conversation with everyone else, people started excusing themselves to hit the sacks. First to go were some of the “non-dancing” crews of the resort. Then David and wife who said they were to attend mass service at Sablayan very early in the morning. Next, the divers and the other guest were back at the beach area still conversing/drinking together with the boatman and my companions were left with Mang Jimmy exchanging various stories.

Shortly after midnight, Mang Jimmy had to excuse himself also. But it did not mean the bar’s closure! In fact, next thing I knew he was giving me instructions as to where the beer and soft drinks were; where the bottle opener, the peanuts and other “chichiryas” were; and where the panel of switches were for all the lights in the bar area! So we all asked what he was trying to tell us. Very casually he said, “just go on with whatever you are doing, if you need a drink just get it here; if you need to change the music, the CDs are here; please keep the game boards here; just place the used glasses and empty bottles here and switch all lights off here”.

So we stayed on for a bit more exchanging stories, talking about our “adventure” and whatever else it was we could think of talking about – including the parrot who from time to time would make a shrieking sound albeit groggy – every time we reached for anything in the bar. Sooner, about 1:30AM, my companions themselves were heeding the call of the pillows! So off they trooped to our cottage all three of them. That meant I was left alone in the bar, right? Yes, but not really. *wink* *wink*! I did close the bar lights specially that the moon started to rise at that wee hour of the day and spent more time at the beach area just dreaming! I did hear some commotion and giggling at our cottage and there was no mistaking my companions were panicking over some rare creatures that visited our temporary abode for the night. Knowing how isolated this place was and sensing that the commotion did not anymore progress; I didn’t bother checking out on them.

By about 4AM when it was already getting rather too cold for comfort, I decided to head for the cottage and finally try the big bed! On reaching the cottage, I realized my three companions all opted to sleep on the porch (the terrace of the cottage which is at ground level)! As they were already quite deep into their respective dreams, I did not bother to ask them why they were there. Barry was on the bigger portion of the terrace that was wide enough to sleep three people comfortably. The two girls laid themselves on the other side of the terrace where the bench-like seats (also covered with mattress) were just wide enough for them to sleep. All were “securely” hidden under their blankets with no part of their bodies ever exposed! In fact, I just guessed their identities judging from the size and length of those three creatures tightly wrapped in their respective blankets!

So the cottage with two rooms and two big beds was practically for me alone. After taking a shower (I had to, after having been where I came from *wink wink*) I slowly entered the bed. “Entered” is a more precise term since the mosquito net is hovering over it and its edges were tucked under the mattress so that mosquitoes and other insects won’t enter with me! Quite an experience sleeping on a bed with a net all around it! At one time just before I dozed off, I imagined I was a little baby in an incubator without life support systems. Wow! Then, zzzzzzz ngoorrk!

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