Monday, September 21, 2009

Some Enchanted Evening, Camotes

Immediately upon arrival from that great roam of Poro and Pacijan Islands, I settled at the videoke area of the hotel. It is actually a hallway / verandah just outside of their big ‘Celebrity Hall Function Room’, overlooking and has easy access to the swimming pool below. Just placed my things on one table and went straight for the pool. Seeing me do that, Manong Liloy (pool attendant cum gardener cum repairman) turned the Jacuzzi on. So I just sat there for a time to relax and let my tired body recover. Ahhh, the life!

I heard a soft karaoke music and some guy singing. Stood up and looked out towards the sea. I thought it must have been from that famous (or infamous?) beerhouse far down from the road. But I could see it was closed and nary a sign of any living animal in there. Looked up to the hotel and oh, it was them the crews at the videoke area. They noticed I was looking at them and probably wondered if they should stop the singing. I signaled for them to increase the volume and they did. Well, this is the Visayas, most people are good singers… except Jairus hehehe!

Some minutes passed and Randy came to the pool bringing me a fresh beach towel neatly folded and rolled. Placed it by the edge of the Jacuzzi and told me “sir, your Tanduay is ready”. I was surprised and said “ha? I actually thought of having it after dinner, but okay, I’ll go up in a moment”. When I went up to where I left my things, the table was set with the rhum flask bottle still unopened beside a bucket of tube ice near a cocktail glass, an unopened coke-in-can and slices of green lemon on a saucer. OMG, the pesky little Tanduay bottle that I saw on many a streetside drinking sessions looked so stylish hehe. Sosyal! Poured a bit of the rhum and followed it with coke. Ahhrkk! Haven’t tasted that in a long time that my tongue only knows beer. I thought it tasted like melted plastic hehe!

Asking why there was only one glass, I demanded that everyone join me finish the Tanduay. I also said, “that’s why I bought two bottles as there are 6 of us”. Randy and Jairus joined me while Joel did pour just about once. Did not see the chef nor Manong Liloy come out to join them in the videoke. No sooner I found myself again alternately wading at the pool or just chilling out in the Jacuzzi. Until I sensed no one was anymore belting out songs. Oh beside the Jacuzzi were my cigarettes, lighter, ashtray and my bottle of SanMigLight – I kept switching back to it after every few shots of the rhum-coke hehe. Ginawang chaser hehe.

Not sure how many hours I stayed in that pool alternately darting up to the videoke and back. All I knew was I first dipped before sunset and now I was looking at stars. Background music? Crickets and other nocturnal beings of the forest where My Little Island Hotel stands, but does not seem to belong. There were flickering lights at sea and I knew those were from fishermens’ boats bobbing in the waves. I looked up to the hotel and first time I realized it actually looked fantastic viewed from the pool area. All lights are yellow. Classy! Well, what did I expect, it’s a hotel and not just a run of the mill family operated B&B!

Then I heard music again… It was instrumental… piano in fact. And it did not come from the videoke machine. I thought this hotel must really know how to be a truly classy one. It was nice to hear old classic love songs of yesteryears being played on nothing but piano. It served as a very nice background to my act of doing nothing and staring at nothing in the darkness of the starry sky while still in the pool (now lighted btw)! The moon was still about inching its way from the forest though I could discern part of the wash from its white light. Oh most of the songs were familiar to my ears, that one playing I even knew part of the lyrics… “some enchanted evening… you may see a stranger…”. That’s one of my mom’s favourites that I came to know some of the words by constantly hearing that song during my younger years hehe!

Randy came to ask if my dinner should be served and if I wanted it by the poolside. Wheh! I laughed thinking that must have been luxuriously fantabulously pathetic hehe! Imagine a fine dinner setting by the pool and you are alone?! Hello?! Still grinning I told him I’ll take it over at the restaurant and at my usual place (near the window). As I inched up to the videoke area, ‘some enchanted evening was still playing’. Just picked the room key, left my other things on the table and started walking to go up to my room while still patting myself dry with the towel. When I entered the door between front desk and the piano lounge, voila! It was a live pianist playing those songs all along. Not piped in music! OMG!

So I went near to listen and watch him play. He acknowledged my presence with that “inverted nod” Pinoys usually do to greet others, and continued playing. I think that piece he was doing was “The Music Played”. The Robert Ludlum in me started to roll (what with having read all his books hehe)… I stood by the window of the piano bar as if looking out to the pool and beyond, but my eyes were quickly sizing the pianist’s identity. He played well, that was incontestable, but something told me he was not a regular paid musician doing his nightly gig. One, there was a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen neatly placed on a table to his left. Two, there was a car parked just outside the main entrance curbside of the hotel (its not a parking area). Three, he wore a polo shirt and walking shoes all right but he was just in walking shorts. Four, that expensive-looking phone beside the car key on top of the grand piano told me he was/is not a pianist by profession.

When he was done playing that piece, he turned to me and said “hello, sir”. I said “hi, you really play very well, I thought that was some taped music”! He just smiled and continued with some adlibs on the keyboard then asked “do you want me to play anything?”, I answered “nothing specific really, ganahan ra ‘ko anng mga classics” and he turned surprised to ask “oh bisaya ka?”. I said “dili” and we laughed. He played more songs and I watched and listened forgetting I was supposed to change into dry clothes for dinner hehe. Ah well, my boardshorts were dry now!

Joel serving as waiter came to say “sir, ready na ang dinner”! I thought he was telling me that, but when I looked, he was addressing the piano man. So, I said thanks and started to go up to my room. But Joel turned to me saying my dinner was also ready. Piano man turned to me and asked ‘why don’t we have dinner together’. I said that would be fine, so crews hastily transferred my dinner from my ‘usual place’ to the table on the center of the restaurant where the piano man’s dinner was waiting. Nothing much actually. His order was rice and ‘chopsuey’. That’s it. While mine was everything meat of a porkchop hehe. As we sat down, he explained that he was trying to cut down on meats per advice of his doctors. He shared his 'plants' with me while I did not share my porkchop with him hahaha.

Alright, introductions and getting to know you’s were the natural course of the dinner. And I found out this piano man is named Boy who lives somewhere in the middle of town. The hotel’s owner (okay, part-owner) is a relative and he would usually come up to this lobby to play piano and drink a bottle of beer when he wants to unwind. He does have a piano at his house but thinks the atmosphere at My Little Island Hotel is often more relaxing. Especially nowadays with so many pressures from everywhere as he is running for mayor of the town. Whoa!

After dinner, the playing continued, he asked me to sing along with a few songs. And gosh I obliged hehe. I loved it! Not easy to sing with a live piano if you’re used to following the colored words on a videoke hahaha! I even got some pointers on how to do it! Example? He said ‘just sing straight and the pianist should be able to follow you or lead you to the right timing'. Actually true and I liked it when we tried “The Nearness of You” as the song has many lines where piano either fades or comes in late to highlight my singing lines. Whahehehe, I was a piano-accompanied singer for an evening. Wohoaa!!! When I thought my throat could not anymore cope, I just stayed slouched on the couch listening to him play. I joked that I ‘owned’ the hotel and I had a future mayor to entertain me. He just said "pohon" as we laughed and he continued with the classics…

Oh boy… that was some evening!


  1. hi m very intrstd on the hotel,can u gve me contct info for that hotel?coz wer plnng to go n camotes next wekend..thnk u