Thursday, 10 May 2012

Photo essay ... Inviting water of Pag-asa beach, by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

New sights emerge from the rustic beach of Baranggay Pag-asa, in Jose Panganiban, CamNorte. Picture taken on Sunday, April 29, 2012, the day when the alumni of JP National High School decided to recall the old days as they watched the kids frolic in the water. - More MWBuzzpics by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ  below.

Scenes like this make Mambulaoans want to come home at least once a year.

I FIRST SAW the beach at Baranggay Pag-asa, then known as Bunog Island, sometime in the early 60s. Those days, I was attending high school in Parang, Jose Panganiban.

The late Margarita Navaja, a high school classmate and best friend, had once or twice invited me to their home on Bunog Island on weekends.

I was surprised to learn that their house was just a few feet away from the waterline of the beach. When it was high tide, the water would lap at the stone wall her dad had built to prevent the front yard from eroding.

One thing that dismayed me upon seeing it was the hundreds of slippery rocks and rough stones strewn all over the beach area. I told myself: "It would be impossible to enjoy a bath here with all these stones and sharp-edged rocks ready to cut my feet".

But one thing with this place was that there were lots of crabs under the rocks and sea cucumbers as well, which, unfortunately, were not popular those days as ingredient in special cooking. So, they just crawled there languidly in the shallow water, feeling useless but safe.

Instead, I was more interested in the bivalves and clams that I took home after an hour of two of cavorting among the boulders, which became a special feature of the Bunog Island.

One day, the Pag-asa beach would rank one of the best in CamNorte, if not in the entire Bicol region.

Writing this little piece, I felt an urge to dedicate the following little story to the memory of Marge, who had shown me how a rough jewel like the Bunog Island, which was home to her youth, would look in its virgin, untouched state.

The island was a jungle of trees and bushes that were home to many birds; walking under the trees' canopies was like being in communion with nature. In today's lingo, it could be called nature walk, or say, eco-tourism.

Flashback to April 29, 2012, same island, same place.
Seeing Bunog Island, now popularly known as Baranggay Pag-asa, after more than 50 years was like de javu. It was the same beach, all right, that I saw in my youth, but with different players this time.

 Cottages on offer

Gone were the boulders and rough marine stones that dotted the shallow waters. Instead, the beach was spectacle of busy bodies that went in and came out of the cool water under the blistering heat of the 10 o'clock sun.

No wonder, because the people who trooped on this day to this small stretch of a beach were mostly Balikbayans who, just a day before, attended the 65th grand alumni homecoming of the JPNHS.

And today, the second day of the festivities was dedicated to alumni batch outings, and the pleasure-seekers opted to come to this beach - the Pag-asa beach. Curiosity bit them, as they had seen this beach in pictures posted on the internet.

But those pics were dated. I am showing you the latest – in living color.

Beach campers should love this place once it has been fully developed as a resort catering to both local and foreign tourists. 

Once the Parang-Larap road has been cemented, travel to the upcoming resort of Pag-asa would be fast. 

Seeing this place the second time this morning, I immediately imagined how great this beach would be if its development as a weekend resort is pursued like clockwork.

The water is still clear despite the murky state of the other half of Mambulao Bay (on the poblacion’s side) owing to the indiscriminate activities of small-scale operators who were mining the shallow bottom of the bay for gold.

These two Metro Manila kids - Kyle Jeres, 12, (left) and Elaine Francisco, 11, don't mind the biting sun as they dig deep in the sand.

Metro Manila preschooler Katkat Jeres, 4, takes a break from the water and busies herself punching her iPad games.

It's obvious that Mambulaoans hunger for a weekend resort that the Pag-asa beach would offer in its developed state.

There are cottages available and beach lovers won't mind paying from P100 to P300 for a unit just to enjoy the breeze and the panorama on the other side of the bay, which is the town of Jose Panganiban.

The whole place is alive with human sounds as well as those coming from engines of cars that packed the little space just next to the nipa kiosks.

The drinking buddies of Batch '66, led by LaPIMa patriarch LoLoSam Tatum (left) during an outing at the Pag-asa beach. Also in picture are faith healer Fidel Era, Ato Jimeno and an unidentified batch mate. 

MWBuzz editor Alfredo P Hernandez (white shirt, front center) joined Batch '67 at their kiosk as his own batch ('65) is missing in action.

With the cementing of roads in most of the baranggays around the municipality, this developing resort facility could well benefit from good roads, where getting in and out of this place would be fast and less-worrisome.

But the happy thing about Pag-asa beach is that town mayor Ricarte Padilla wants to see it developed as a resort catering to both local and foreign visitors.

He told me: “I want to develop the Pag-asa beach resort … it’s one thing I could offer to beach-loving Mambulaoans.”

Well, initial works to push its development have begun and I am crossing my fingers that by the time I come back next summer for a month-long sojourn in my hometown, Pag-asa resort would be another reason to come home once every summer.

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AHP pose for a posterity picture before the entire beach is transformed into a modest resort. See the Baranggay Osmena on the other side of Mambulao Bay.


  1. Well done Fred, nice pictures! It brought back nostalgic but beautiful memories of our years of stay in Pagasa

    1. Hi Tony! thanks.... i really hope that this resort will rise very soon... the plan is workable and the mayor is bent on having it just like what he has described to me... a beach resort for mambulaoans... domestically-based and overseas... no need to go to the more adventurous bagasbas water... cheers and thanks for posting...