Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mabua Pebble Beach and more

Seemingly nothing more of interest to do in Surigao City on a gloomy afternoon, I hired a tricycle (pakyaw basis) to tour me around the outskirts of the city with the Mabua Pebble Beach as my main objective. On first attempt at a tricycle… no deal. Flagged another, this time, the jolly driver said okay, and I was off to roam the western fringes of Surigao City! Trike driver’s first question was why I wanted to see Mabua and if I was someone from the government. I said I just wanted to see it since I heard from some people that it was one of a kind.

I told him, I would also like to see other places along the way, like Sabang, Lipata and so on. He enthusiastically said “no problem! Hmm, I instantly knew I was going to enjoy the company of this old man! He said I can call him Eugene (I expected that since I could read his ID hanging inside the trike and in front of me). It says his name is Eugenio D. Dalagan. We joked and laughed about his surname for a while. He said he was proud his surname is easiest to remember hehe! Dalagan in the Visayas and Mindanao means “run” often shortened by the Cebuanos into “dagan”, and sometimes also becomes “jagan” or “dayagan” in parts of Bohol and Surigao!

Sabang Beach. Zooming through the highway overlooking the beautiful view of the sea, driver slows down. I asked what place it was. He said Sabang Beach. I just said “oh”! Well, it is a long beach by the side and below the highway. The sand is brown and there are many open huts (they’re called “cottages” in this country). I looked out and there seemed to be nothing worth my while in there, so we moved on. Ah the roofs of those huts are about the level of the highway. He told me that the place is actually better visited during evenings where a lot of lovers or those seeking lovers come around. Hmm, I noted that! Hey, the other side of the highway is also mostly water (mangroves).

Moving forward, after the bridge, the road starts to ascend offering one of the grandest views of Surigao. Hmm, I noticed a scattering of big new and obviously affluent houses. Eugene started naming the owners as we passed by them. I was amused that he would usually say “German”, “British”, etc instead of just “foreigner married to a local”. He joked that people in those houses have to ride cars just to buy vinegar. Hehehe, true, they don’t even have neighbors (yet)!

When the road started to descend, I saw directional signs to Almont Resort. When driver saw me take a picture of one of those, he turned right on the road that leads to the hotel. Although I already know, I liked listening to Eugene telling me that it was the Maharlika Training Center previously owned by the government. Reaching the resort we enter on top of it hehe. Whoa! That is because the road is from the hills descending towards the sea. I was just able to snap a picture of the roof deck (road level) and then it rained heavily. Ack! It does have a good view of the shoreline and some houses leading towards the city.

Lipata Pier. Moving onwards and further down the hills, we reached Lipata. It was still drizzling and my blood simmered even under the cool rainy breeze. There was no boat at the time, so the pier was rather not so busy. Eugene drove towards near the entrance and a guard told him we may not enter. I got off and said I just wanna breeze through to see the place. Guard said “bawal tricycle”. I begged since the port was big and I cannot possibly be walking around with sudden drizzles. This is what hit my nerves “kung nag-kotse kayo sir, wala problema, bawal tricycle”. I tried to reason that there were bikes and motorcycles entering or parked inside the compound. His now irritated reply was “hindi yun tricycle”. Ah! I went back to the lowly tricycle and loudly exclaimed “assholes”! It did not illicit a reply nor reaction. That guard did not probably know what I meant hehe! Oh I owld like to repeat that now… “assholes, including his boss and whoever manages that port.

I did like Eugene’s consoling remarks saying “di bale sir, malaking pantalan lang naman yan”. And I rested my case hehe! We moved onwards up more hills and the highway seemed to be turning in a counter-clockwise direction. Oh more big houses! Driver described them to me as “mansion ni (whoever)”, “resthouse ni (whoever)” and so on. Then the road started to descend.

Oh we were at Mabua and went straight for the beach, the pebble beach. At first I said “this is it”? And Eugene said yes. Hmm, it was an ordinary beach for me. Ugly in fact, under a gloomy sky. I’ve seen these in many places, brown to blackish sand and a scattering of pebbles. At least, walking on them bare feet does not hurt. Then I was surprised when Eugene said let’s go sir. I thought he was telling me we should head home. Then he continued that the other end of this beach has more pebbles. So I hopped in.

OMG! Reaching that other end, he was wrong to say it has more pebbles. IT IS made of pebbles and I can’t see any sand. Oh my! Now that was not common to me, in fact that was my first sight of a “pebble beach”! Wow! I went down to look closer… mama mia! There is no sand! The part where we were standing had bigger stones and they become smaller towards the water. He tells me that it was/is actually hard erecting those huts (for rent) as folks have to dig very deep on those stones to ensure stability of the posts.

I tried digging down to see where sand would be… none and those pebbles were heavy. I walked towards the edge of the water and also tried digging on the smaller pebbles… can’t reach sand… its way too deep. How so ever this conglomeration of so many big and small pebbles came to be, I can only wonder. How small are small? Well, too tiny some will fit inside fingernails! How big are the big pebbles? Ahh some bigger than a basketball or wide than my PC Monitor! Oh, lovely you can laze around and even roll your body on them! It does not hurt as all those pebbles round or flat are very smooth.

Eugene tells me folks can just come and get these stones for whatever home use they wish. But when I said they could get depleted, he told me that the city government does not allow truckloads to be taken from there. Though we saw children putting pebbles by into a sack. Hey most houses in the area have their walls, floors and yards either made of or adorned with pebbles. One of the most attractive is that orange painted house with brown roof just across the road from the beach. The big yard is a combination of grass and the pebbles. It’s wide hah! Probably tons of pebbles!

Alrightie, done with the pebble beach we started back for the city center. Oh, yes there is a scattering of resorts there. I think I counted something like five or six. There is an elementary school and a secondary school in the area and of course, the pebbles also adorn their lawns. It was going-home time for the students when we passed by their schools. By the side of the road was a teacher waiting for a ride and she flagged my trike thinking it was doing a normal commute run. I asked Eugene to stop and take her in. She took the ride not knowing it was my “special trip”. When Eugene was not stopping for other passengers, teacher asked why and he said “pakyaw ni”. When teacher said “aw sorry” and was telling him she’ll get off, I answered with, “its okay ma’am, I am alone anyway”. Thus, I got myself someone to converse with. Topics? Well, like why she was teaching at Mabua when she lived in the city. That those pebbles are actually very good to use when grilling food as they retain a lot of heat. That many Mabua houses are built cheaper due to the “free stones” they just pick from the beach… and so on!

And the road circled back to the city… when I looked, I was again traversing the R1 route going down towards city center. Teacher got off at some store while Eugene continued to drive me onwards to Tavern.

That was a nice tour to end an otherwise “nothing” day! Yey!


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