Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pagbilao, Quezon: The Night that Breaks The Dawn

Pagbilao, Quezon
May 22-23, 2011

A journey to the mountain and sea done in tribute to [a lost and terribly missed] friend…

 Bathe in Purple Hues: Pagbilao seaside early morning shot near the Power plant 


We waited at the road and took a bus going back to Pagbilao, Quezon. We passed the same route and got off at the town proper. Since the last trip for jeepney going to “Kwebang Lampas” is only until 4pm, we were left with no choice but to privately hire a tricyle to take us there (Php300). We bought a few items at the stores and boarded the vehicle. The road trip was roughly 1 and a half hour, across idle and browning rice fields, fresh rural air, verdant hills, and slowly setting sun.  

We arrived at the barangay hall at around 6.30pm, and everything was already cloaked in darkness… ahhh, rural life again. Some locals were kind enough to assist us (Filipino Hospitality through and through). We rode another tricycle that would take us to the seaside (fare = Php100). We passed along the enormous Pagbilao Power Plant, its tower flickering with bright lights, and the entire thing is like meteor in the evening sky. 

Bonfire: The little fire that lights the Night... the long suspense driven night.

This time, the road was definitely rough. I was almost complaining at the several instances when my body slammed at the metal railings of the vehicle. And the cold wind did not help; I was literally fighting to keep my body heat. Beside me, Angel has drowsed to sleep. Exhaustion finally took its toll.

We arrived at the seaside area after 20 minutes. There, we were informed that the beach area (Kwebang Lampas) was currently occupied to its limit and no additional visitors were allowed. We were shocked hearing this. That painful road trip were all for nothing? They offered us to camp in the area or choose the place near the beachside they call “Bermuda” (after the Bermuda grass growing there). Left with no choice, we chose the Bermuda. We boarded a small motorized Bangka to go to the area. 

{ The night scene at the Bermuda Camping site. bonfire. tent...
The tower of the powerplant is equipped with high-powered lightbulbs 
that flicker every few seconds. Up in sky, the moon softly
 lits the dark seaside while at distance the bulb lights coming
from fishermen's boats dances in delight. }

From the Bermuda (“Kwebang Lampas” is just a small walking distance. There are two ways to go to kwebang lampas, first is through the motorized Bangka and the other is by walking along the Power Plant. The latter is difficult at night especially if you’re not familiar with the place, but is recommended if on a tight budget.)

We pitched the tent and started a small bonfire. Beside us, the sea waves continues it rhythmic dance and the moon shines with delight. The dazzling lights coming from the huge tower will remind you of camera flashes. At a distance, you would see several moving lights coming from fishermen boats. The calming effect will entice you to relax and feel the place. The only problem was the insects that were roaming freely (good thing we brought off-lotion. Effective, I must say). After finishing our meager meal, we squeezed inside the tent. We decided to offer a simple prayer of Rosary for Anj and her new journey.

After finishing our prayers, we closed our eyes and felt the silence. Sleep was slowly creeping… But not for long… Suddenly, we heard sounds coming from somewhere. We are alone in the area, but there were surprisingly sounds of branches breaking, heavy footsteps, and voices of men… laughing men. 


{ Early morning scene. We walked towards the Powerplant to have
a closer look at the collosal structure. Here you'll find a small river
that empties into the sea. Fascinating. }

 Early Bird: The rural life in the morning
I immediately sat up straight and nudged Angel to wake up.

“Angel, narinig mo ba yun? Parang mga lasing... Anu gagawin natin?”

“Shhshhh... alam ko. Patayin mo yung lampshade. Bilis!”

Apparently, she too was aware of the situation. The sounds grew louder and clearer. Yes, definitely men. Laughing men… I felt as sense of panic. I looked at Angel and our eyes met. Fear was there.  I reached for the knife inside my bag and held it with one hand. I snatched the extra tent pegs and gave those to Angel. 

We did not dare move or go out of the tent. We just waited. Waited for the next thing that would happen… I feebly suggested that we go out and make ourselves known to the newcomers, but Angel was totally against it.

“Wag! Baka kung ano pang mangyari. ”

She insisted we remain in the tent and let the darkness cover us.  I followed her. From afar, we saw the men pitching tent and making a bonfire. They were very noisy and seemed drunk. I breathed a sigh of relief when they did not seem to notice us (or chose not to mind us). Angel suggested we took turns watching over the other. I agreed. Few minutes later, Angel dozed off to sleep while my eyes were still fixed at our intruders. 

Later, heavy raindrops fell. I looked at my cellphone. It was just 1 hour before midnight. The noise has subsided and the men have already wedged inside their tent. I close my eyes for a moment and looked at Angel whose body seemed like a dead log. I gazed at the other tent from afar. Should I feel at ease now? I looked at our flimsy tent cover and a hundred images flashed my mind. But nothing beats a tired body. Slowly, I laid my exhausted body to the hard cold ground. Heavy rains continued pouring. I did not know when I finally succumbed to sleep. 

 Immortalized:  As always, glorious sunrise in this side of the country

It was 5:30 in the morning when my eyes opened. I looked beside me and saw Angel still sleeping. Perhaps, her last night’s migraine was so intense.   I went out of our little abode. Somehow, the gentle hues of morning seascape erased my last night’s fears. I looked around me and my eyes found the noisy men. On an intense scrutiny, they were not really as frightful like what they’ve appeared last night. I shook my head smiling at our little dramatics, snatched the camera, and walk towards the rocky shore.  

The lens started rolling as I try to immortalize the images before me.  How I wish to wake up every day with this scene: gentle waves, fresh air, rising sun, and a very scenic seaside.  I still can’t let go of my rest-house dream by the shore.

 “Ang paraiso ay isang lugar na hinuhulma sa isip, binibigyang kulay ng paningin, at binbuhusan ng ningning ng puso. Isang lugar na nagiging tahanan ng mga alaala, ng mga karanasan, at mga pangarap... tahanang binabalik-balikan ng puso at isipan. Datapwat ang paraiso ay isang kamalayan ng taong may pag-ibig sa puso at katamikan ng kaluluwa.”


  1. Is it dangerous to stay there at night in a tent? What are your thoughts?

    1. Well, we did sleep there (in a tent) that night, hahaha, and so far nothing (unfortunate) happened.Thank God! =) As I think about it now, I believe we were just a bit paranoid (since we were supposed to be alone there anyway and there's no one within hearing distance).

      If you're after safety really, I suggest you camp in the beach side and not in the area where we did, at least you'd be in the hands of the beach's caretaker (please take note though that for overnight stay, you have to contact the owner in Lucena beforehand, as I was told)... that time, we were supposed to camp there, but unfortunately the beach were occupied(actually the whole place rented by a company for a team building)... thus we opted for the more rocky and isolated albeit free place.

      Hope that helps!!!


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