I woke up today and got ready to head to the beach, but when I walked outside shortly after 11:00, the sun was blazing ferociously and I thought it wise, with my fair skin, to wait until the afternoon to set out for the beach, when the sun would be far past its apogee and less intense. I walked to the Calle Crisologo to try to find a place to eat, but nothing interested me, so I settled on the local McDonalds, which – as with many of the buildings surrounding it – was designed in a Spanish colonial style. After that relatively inexpensive meal, I went back to the hotel room to relax and start planning the next leg of my journey in Indonesia.
After 15:00, I left the comfort of the hotel room and starting walking south to the beach. Unfortunately, most of the Philippines is not planned out with pedestrians in mind, so I walked along the side of the road, looking forward and behind me frequently to ensure I would not be hit by a passing vehicle or one of the many motorbikes with passenger cars. Traffic was very busy today and once again I am left dumbfounded on why a small town in a rural part of the country has so much traffic; it appears most of the locals rely on these taxi-motorbikes to get around regardless of the distance to be traveled.
After passing through the most cluttered part of the road, the street met up with the river and I began to enjoy that were given to me. Along the river were many thatched huts on stilts designed to look after and maintain the fish hatcheries next to them, which were contained by blue nets. I watched the water in one hatchery cone alive with excitement as a man fed the fish from his hut. There were also two men rowing down the river on a long bamboo raft, floating from one of the hatcheries to the another. Also, from my walk today, as well as yesterday, I noticed that pretty much every barangay has a community plaza with a basketball court and most of the courts were active with children playing basketball; evidently basketball is very popular in the Philippines – I observed the same thing in Mongolia.
As I neared the beach, I passed through narrow winding streets with more thatched roof huts and simple houses. There were once again many children eager to greet me with “hi” and “hello”, sadly there were also some greeting me with an outstretched hand requesting money – hopefully time and the wisdom that usually accompanies age will break them of this despicable habit. I finally reached the South China Sea after walking for roughly an hour. The sand on the beach was a very fine and colored dark grey, as well as ebony in some areas farthest from the water – more of a silt than actual sand. Also, despite a lot of trash in the town located next to the beach and many piles of rubbish along the edge, the beach was surprisingly clean and for the most part pristine. I then stepped in to the water and it was delightfully cool, making me regret that I had not woken up earlier to come here in the morning and appropriately enjoy the beach. I walked up and down the beach for a while, observing the children playing, the fisherman casting their lines out, and the boats found dry-docked along the shore. After exploring the beach and nearby community for some time, I then walked back to Vigan.
On the way back in to town a light shower passed through and luckily there was no need for me to seek cover. I reached the city, cleaned the sand off my feet and legs in the hotel, and then ventured out again in search of a meal. I went back to the cafe that I had dined at two nights ago and ordered a beer. Unfortunately this cafe specializes in foreign dishes (Japanese, Thai, and Italian) and they were not serving local food today, so I ordered a German pizza roll instead, which was full of ham, cheese, and sauerkraut. After finishing my dinner, I then went back to the hotel to fall asleep for an early morning wake up tomorrow – to catch an early bus back to Manila.