Sunday, October 15, 2017

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Quiet and windless

I spent my weekend in Cabangan, Zambales with my IM family. After a brief medical mission at San Ildefonso, Bulacan; we took a five-hour drive to Zambales, a place we picked because we had wanted a taste of the beach. In our van were the Mondragons: Sir Alric and Karen and their daughter Monay (Alessandra to most, but she'll always be Monay to her Uncle Lance) were seated in the middle row. The little lady hardly cried during the trip. Her default reaction was a smile. She didn't mind being tossed around, carried by her childless titos and titas, all of them entertained by her calm, quiet composure.

Night lights

We arrived in Cabangan at dinner time. Everything was pitch dark. Bea asked where the beach was. "There," someone must've mentioned to her, pointing to the wide expanse of emptiness. Then we could  hear it—the steady hush of the waves. It was a quiet, windless evening away from the metro. Psalm 8:4 came to mind, "What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" I was overwhelmed by the Lord's providence.

Bonfire

After dinner we stayed by the beach. The beach caretakers prepared a bonfire for us—too intense for smores, but the fire kept everyone excited. I retired early for bed. I know Roger, Jerry, and Grace went swimming that night, but I had a good sleep after having gone on 24-duty at the ICU the day before. I couldn't even remember what I had dreamed about.

Beach front

Goat

I woke up as usual: 5 AM. After my morning devotions I hit the beach. The sun had barely risen, the water still warm for some reason. Good thing I brought my goggles with me: a pair of Speedo frames  that match my myopia, the same pair I'd been using for my laps in Manila. Then Rich and Roland approached me in the cottage. "Ikaw pala 'yun," they said. They were wondering who would swim this early.

Beach

Breakfast was coffee and tocino. I hit the beach again. Rac, Grace, and I left the crowd near the shore and swam for the deeper areas where we kicked  to keep afloat. "I've missed this," Rac said. I swam myself to exhaustion. A good kind of stress. Along the shore were Michelle and David and their son Mohan who's been going to school already. Since I'd met him three years go, Mohan has learned to love the beach. He used to go hysterical when even his feet were soaked in the water.

Coffee cups

By the beach we talked of politics, fake news, impeachment, and so on. It felt energizing to talk about ideas instead of people, for a change—and it encouraged me, in this time of cynicism, to hear my friends speak of the country's future with idealism and hope.

Cabangan, Zambales

Most of my friends went home by 2 PM, but Merv, Rac, Jerry, Grace, Doc Abby, Jay, Roland, and I stayed behind, a bit sentimental about residency ending in a few weeks. The sunset was just as it should be: gradual, without fanfare, and it had ended before anybody even noticed. The drive to Manila was smooth. The eat-all-you-can buffet in San Fernando was worth it.

Blue skies


At 10 PM we were back to regular programming.

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