I was the ad hoc tour guide for day, and my first planned destination is Sitio Balinokmanok, a quiet beach a few minutes by boat south of our "base camp". My friends are pretty excited to see the shipwreck I featured in this post. But first we got to eat a good breakfast :).
Capturing the beautiful colors of the dawn after a long trip was draining but we manage to prepare a decent meal to jump start the day.
Within a few minutes, our paksiw was ready. (Fresh catch simmered in coconut vinegar with a plethora of spices : ginger, garlic, onions, ground pepper, some fresh green peppers and everything in between). The spicy smell is guaranteed to wake a sleepy head up.
After that hearty meal, we readied our gears for a day of snorkeling, "photo hunting", and snoozing under palm trees - real hard work :D. (One actually does not have to go far in Osmeña to see a great beach. Right in front of where we are staying is an amazing stretch of fine white sand with crystal clear waters).
A serene, sleepy beach front welcomed us in Balinmanok. Tucked in a small cove and not very accessible from the back roads (thats why we took the boat), its deserted most of the time. It only gets crowded (no, not Boracay crowded, not even close) during the Holy Week when relatives of the fisher folks come to visit.
Some of us went straight to the hammock and makeshift hut under the palm trees while a couple of enthusiastic ones borrowed some spear guns and head out to "catch lunch". As far as I can remember all they manage to do was scare the fish away. Our fishermen friends would politely smile later when the hunters bring home their meager catch.
A friend and I delayed our snorkeling a bit to wander down the beach. It was low tide there are a couple of locals picking shells and small white clams (called tulya). We saw a group of 3 siblings rummaging through the rocks. The eldest was complaining that they woke too late and now there's nothing left for them (even though their "slim pickings" could still amount to a decent meal). I could just image a large plastic bag full of shells if they had gotten there real early.
We also met Nanay Pilar, a retired school teacher who spends her quiet morning picking shells. She chatted with us while we took a couple of "environmental portraits". She was a good sport even when our host teased her that she can be the next top model :). Turns she is our host's cousin. (In hindsight, I notice that everyone here is related - either an uncle, an aunt or a cousin).
Its amazing how one can get these little white clams by digging just a few inches in the sand. Soon several of us where kneeling on the beach (just near the water's edge), busily shifting the sand and eagerly picking tulya.
Guess what soup we had for lunch :).