Saturday, April 26, 2008

Looking forward to an enchanting summer

Few weeks from now, my family and I will be "going home" to my adoptive town -- Santa Ana in Cagayan Valley. I fell in love with Santa Ana the moment I first set foot on this sleepy little town. It has a charm that draws your spirit, like filling your soul with its deepest longing. I'm reposting here an entry I did two years ago about Santa Ana. o 0 o

IT'S NOT CALLED CAPE ENGAÑO FOR NOTHING. This cove in Palaui Island of the now-getting-famous Santa Ana, Cagayan North, is truly enchanting. I'm pretty sure the Spaniards who first set foot on this little island before they built the once majestic Faro de Cabo Engaño in the late 1800's fell under the spell of this enchanted island. The same spell that binds every stranger who willingly takes on the beckoning of the hills -- that strong presence so enticing you can't refuse.

I've been to Cape Engaño twice this summer and I swear I'll be back. I love the waters -- so clear and so cool. There's nothing more refreshing than the ice-cold seawater under the heat of the sun. But the best and more rewarding part of it all is the awesome sight on top of Cape Engaño where the lighthouse sits like a princess waiting for her beloved. I will never get tired of going up over and over again. It is not a very easy way up, I should tell you. A steep 20-minute or so walk uphill some 95 meters above sea level, that is. But swear, I will gladly do it again and again. The sight on top is just breathtaking you cannot have enough of it in two or three climbs.

Midway through the climb, I sat on the green grass with my friend Sheila. We basked on the wonderful scenery. Everywhere you look, you will be awed. Truly, there can only be a Divine Designer who entricately planned for all the things around us. One who designed the mountains exactly the way they are, or the colors of the sea, or the coolness of the wind...

Once on top of the lighthouse, you get a good glimpse of the Babuyan group of islands. But right in front of the cape at the mouth of the Pacific Ocean are the mysterious twin islands called Dos Hermanas. Legend has it that these were two sisters desperately awaiting for the return of their lovers. Dos Hermanas are rock formations covered with greens. Fisherfolks say the best gamet, that green seaweed used for Nori, can be found in this twin islands. But beware, not a few lives have been taken as they tried to break the silence of these twin sisters.

The lighthouse itself, while now in ruins, has traces of it grand old days. One can imagine a little palace perched on a hill where Prince Charming visits his beloved.

We only stayed in the lighthouse for an hour at the most. After some picture taking, we all decided to descend and frolick in the cool clear blue waters. It was only a little past 9am but on top of the hill, the heat felt like mid-day. Thankfully, it was windy so we didn't really feel the scorching sun on the way down.

Again, I slowly went down to enjoy the view. My daughter Star was already long enjoying the waters by the time I reached the beach with a few other friends. We were quite a big group -- almost 30 in all. Some chose to sleep under the shade of the trees. The cool breeze of the sea could indeed lull you to sleep. Hmmm, what a life! Others explored the virgin forest of Palaui, following the narrow trail that leads to a small waterfalls.

As the "GRO" of the group (I have volunteered to help my friend Pinky and her husband Mayor Vic Rodriguez promote their town), I deliberately left out forest trekking in our itinerary. The forest can be scary. It gives you an eerrie feeling -- hearing those strange sounds of wild animals. But some media friends chose to go anyway.

Frolicking in the clear blue waters, away from the stressful life in the metro, was truly refreshing. But like anything else in the world, our time in the midst of the enchanted island had come to an end. By noontime, we all had to pack up and bid adeu. Happily, a lunch of fresh lobsters, crabs, shrimps and lapu-lapu awaited us back in the mainland. Of course, over lunch and in the days that followed, we never ran out of stories of the enchanting Cape Engaño.

Photo credit goes to my friend, Rose Razon.

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