Monday, February 7, 2005

Poctoy White Sand Beach, Torrijos: Perfectly perfect baya!

(Poctoy Photo: Bhaby)

An article about Marinduque appeared in a glossy airline magazine where the popular white sand beach of Poctoy, east of the island was mentioned for its 'imperfections'. Grasses and shrubs were just left to grow supposedly and did not seem inviting. I had the opportunity to visit the beach with two other friends to check those imperfections.

5:00 pm till 11:30 pm: Coming from the Torrijos Municipio for a word with some officials we arrived in Poctoy beach via the mayor's service vehicle. We entered a gate and realized that it was actually a small resort that had been in operation for sometime judging by the numerous small structures that greeted us. 'Rendezvous' it is called, concealed somewhat as the beachfront is blocked by what looked like an unfinished multi-purpose hall built by the municipio.

"Welcome" says Mr. Fetalvero the resort owner, "feel at home while we prepare dinner." 'Home' is a two-bedroom guesthouse with two huge beds each. Two morion masks and costumes were displayed in a cozy receiving room accented by other native bric-a-bracs. So his son who built this small resort is an architect based in Manila. This explained why many found materials were fashioned into frames, sculptures or simple installations in the guestroom, in the other buildings and cottages. Design ideas any visitor might be tempted to replicate in his/her own home.

For dinner we had sinigang, chicken and pork adobo and rice. Mr. Fetalvero couldn't wait to take us to the videoke bar where we saw live the off-key voices we'd hear while eating. They smiled, we smiled back and they were happy to share with the world their gift of music.

I rose after the concert to try one of four billiard tables, left after a round of misses for the beach. It was a moonlit night, but not a single soul could be seen there. Just as well. But it felt kind of strange and sad to be alone in the middle of some twenty desolate cottages. When thick rain clouds soon covered the moon darkening the entire powdery sand beach, I went back to the noise.

Grace was singing 'Pamulinawen' "Ngayon lamang kinanta 'yan dito", one of the boys remarked. She was encouraged and sang more Ilocano songs. "I was in grade three the last time I sang these!", she said. Didn't know if anyone cared.

Mr. Fetalvero talked about native Poctoy songs such as one called "Boracay". "Boracay? What is Boracay?" They're actually huge white birds seen in Poctoy from time to time, he says. Sea gulls? He first heard the song as a child and therefore it had nothing to do with Boracay, the famous beach.

Maybe Boracay, the birds, fly from Boracay, the beach, to Poctoy, the beach and return and fly again because it is just a fly away and they like white beaches? I was thinking quietly. Makes sense? No.

6:00 am till 9:00 am: Poctoy faces east. I woke up early to be able to watch the sun rise. Our host was also up and walked with me to the beach to check the morning's catch. It was cloudy. Then it drizzled. No sun visible. We ran to seek cover in one of the cottages beside a wild giant pandan. "This was where we found the mother pawikan laying eggs", he said. "Pawikan?" Beach folks recently found a giant sea turtle with eggs, informed the municipio, aware that sea turtles were an endangered species. The municipio assigned technical people to keep watch until the eggs were hatched. The whole barangay rejoiced when more than seventy baby sea turtles came into being and were eventually set free with their mother to the sea. So you see.

Mr. Fetalvero says the area of Poctoy is actually part of a community marine reserve so people are being made constantly aware that fish and sea turtles are not forever. There are talks that cyanide fishing is still rampant in the nearby Talisay and Cagpo areas but authorities are hopeful this deadly method would no longer be resorted to through their continuing information drive. But no morning catch. Tough luck for us!

In summer, the beach is teemed with peole from all over Torrijos, says the host. "The cottages were actually built the last couple of years by sitio people and youth groups. Proceeds from rentals go to their community projects," he says. "Note the many small stalls around. They'll make good money when summer vacation starts this Holy Week. The big event is beach volleyball. Come back!"

We returned to Rendezvous for breakfast of fried eggs, corned beef, bread and coffee. No, I disagree with that magazine write-up, I muse. What grass? Poctoy Beach is perfectly perfect as it is. Like the seascape that changes colors by the by, it offers many surprises. But one has got to find them. Then all becomes perfect!

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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