Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Day in The Tropical Paradise

When I was still living in the Philippines full time, my favorite getaway when I get tired of the noise and traffic of the city is to go play golf or go somewhere quiet and peaceful to go swimming, walk in the beach, and watch the day pass me by. Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani Province is famous for its beach white sand. It is about an hour and a half drive from my hometown General Santos City. The last time I was there was in May 2007.

But in my visit to the Philippines last month, my brother told me about this new resort being developed by one of the business magnate in Gensan. The owner told my brother that it is not yet finished but there is one cottage that we could already use, anyway we were just going to stay for a day.

Just driving along the coastline going there is already a great experience.  As soon as you enter the Gensan-Sarangani boundary, you will be cruising along a highway that was built thru USAID. It is a world class highway devoid of the bumps & humps with fresh country air and beautiful scenery-- rice fields, coconut, banana and corn plantations, hills and mountains on the left and seashore on the right. The quaint little towns along the way amazed me and made me pensive. Time seems to have passed on them. They were not as much different from what I remember them 20 years ago. I still see carabao as a means of plowing the field and horse to carry the produce to the market. Life seems very simple still.

When we got to the place, I was mesmerized by the tranquility of the area. The beach sand is white and clean and the water is so clear.There I envisioned a world-class resort in that part of Sarangani. Listening to the owner talked about his plans for the place, I know on my return to the Philippines next time, I will be going  there  many times.

I know big name resort towns have spoiled our society and taken away the simple pleasures from the traditional summer family vacation. But as what I heard from Mr. Tan's vision of the place. I imagined nightlife there will be best experienced by an evening walk along the beach. The moonlight and stars that reflect off the ocean’s surface act as bright lights. For music, the soothing sounds of the gentle waves with a gentle breeze coming off of the ocean. All these and the luxury of a world class resort, what more can you ask for?
My family was so grateful to Mr. Tan for that wonderful time we had in El Jardin del Mar. Thank you very much!!!

50 Years After

My parents are in their early 70's and they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last Sept. 29, 2009.
For months, my siblings and I had planned a grand event: video interviews, powerPoint presentations, buffet galore, and hundreds of friends and relatives sharing the joyous occasion with us – the works! We thought our parents deserved nothing less than a fantastic fete with high (not to mention, tacky) production values. However, my parents had a different idea about how they wanted to celebrate their anniversary. Their wish was to have a much more simple celebration at the kiosk of the Parish Church of Alabel, Sarangani province following the renewal of their vows at the church. Aside from the family they wanted their guest to be just people they work with in the parish. Fortunately, they made this clear to us before we made the reservations and the invitations were mailed. So, as much as we had been looking forward to hosting a big party, we accepted the fact that it was their anniversary and they should celebrate according to their own plans! They wanted it simple and low-key, yet genuine and meaningful-like their love and marriage we were celebrating.

After the ceremony, papa gave a 5-minute talk on how they have stayed together all these years and touched the hearts of those present when he said that if ever they have a chance to go back and be young again, he said that he had no doubt he would want to marry my mother again. Sounds like a cliche but we, their children are living witnesses to their love and commitment.

With their daughters, (not in the photo is our sister who is a nun)

With their only son and grandson

Some of the guests (colorful!)

Our parents look like they're always serious but they both have a good sense of humor. Laughter and a bit of cheesy kissing. Add constant conversation (after half a century together, they haven’t run out of things to talkabout!) and the grace of God – that’s how they got their Golden Bond.