Morong Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
I had quite a tight week at work on the last week of November 2007, but luckily towards the weekend, everything slowly loosened up and I was able to find time to do some of the things I wasn't able to accomplish. One of them was the meet-up with travbuddies Josh(The_bloosucker), Bryan(Ryan_84), and Mark(howYOOdoinn from Korea). We were supposed to have dinner on November 29, Thursday, but it was quite impossible for me to join them. That afternoon, the whole of Makati City was in a frenzy due to an abrupt military coup attempt with a siege ongoing at the posh Peninsula Hotel. There was momentary chaos with traffic gone berserk, worried employees fleeing Makati to be in their homes, and urgent staff meetings called by expat bosses for contingency plans.
I was able to make up for my absence on the first meet-up when I joined the three guys at Quezon City for dinner and drinks at OFF THE GRILL on Timog Avenue on Saturday. That was my very first Manila travbuddy meet-up meeting Josh and Bryan for the first time. We met at around 11pm ,had food and drinks and enjoyed the music played by a live band. Definitely not a boring bar, the singer and the band sounded pleasant, and the food tasted good and priced fairly but we wanted some more action .
The next bus will leave after another hour so I decided to take the bus to San Fernando, Pampanga then from there proceed to Bataan. I thought that in San Fernando, there surely will be a lot of buses going to Bataan so I can still reach Morong by midmorning. I hopped into the nearest bus that had SAN FERNANDO as its destination signboard, found a seat, and prayed that the bus will leave in 10 minutes as promised. Ten minutes later, the bus was already on its way to the EDSA(Epifanio delos Santos Avenue) northbound to Pampanga. By the time the bus was moving, that was the only time that I realized I haven't had a bit of sleep over the past 24 hours.
I woke up soon as the bus was already entering Balanga town. I was dropped off at the bus terminal which was located quite far and secluded from the town proper. It was already 8:15 am and the bus left 15 minutes earlier before I got there. The next bus will leave at 9 am and so I estimated that with 1 hour travel time from Balanga to Morong, I would be at the center by 10 am. I had no choice but to sit and wait for my bus to leave. At that point, I was already feeling woozy from lack of sleep; and hungry. I needed to have breakfast. My anti-diabetic meds must be taken after breakfast meals. But where am I gonna buy food, I thought.
I arrived at the PAWIKAN CONSERVATION CENTER 10:30 am. The trip to Morong from Balanga took more than an hour because the mini bus was running at a slow average speed of 40mph! The bus dropped me off at NAGBALAYONG, a barrio(county) before Morong town proper. From the center of Nagbalayong, I had to walk around 500 meters towards the aplaya (shore) where the Pawikan Center was. At the street corner where I was dropped off, there was a small welcome billboard with fading paint colors, and that was the only sign of the direction to the Center. There were no pointing arrow signs. All I saw was a long very narrow road with shanties all over the place, littered with children, and folks tending to their daily rural life routine.
After walking for around 15 minutes, I finally reached the aplaya and saw the Pawikan Center at a lot that served as a boundary between the beach and the shanties behind. The place was almost deserted except for the volunteer watching the hatchery. I moved around to see what the center has. There was a small room that served as an office, a lobby that displayed the list of benefactors to this NGO unit, some pictures of turtle species displayed, a stall for souveiner items, and some airconditioned rooms for guests who would want to stay overninght. I checked out the hatchery ,which is a small portion enclosed with low fence, and with dug holes to bury the eggs for hatching.
The group I was supposed to join for a film show and orientation already left 2 hours earlier for the mangrove plantation and conservation area. They were also done with releasing the hatchlings as they were in the center as early as 8 am. After a few minutes, Aling Nida (Ms Nida) the center coordinator I spoke with on the phone prior to my visit, arrived. I immediately apologized for my late arrival but she said it was okay and I can still release some hatchlings while the sun was still not at its hottest. She said I can come back someday if I was still interested to see their lecture videos on the Olive Ridley turtles and the lecture on the importance of mangroves to marine ecosystem.
I told Aling Nida that I was willing to adopt two turtles so I signed the 'adoption papers', gave my donation for the center, and went to the pond to get my babies.
The beach was deserted except for some boys frolicking in the very wide open beach that faced the South China Sea. There was no rain during that day and the sun was shining brightly up the almost cloudless sky. The sea was very calm and the waves were soft. When we were about a meter away from the waters, I placed the two turtles on the sand, and told them to go. As if following my orders, they immediately began to crawl slowly towards the waters. The sound of the small waves and ripples seemed to energize them as they crawled faster to meet the waves that will pull and push them home into the deep blue sea.
As I was walking back to the Center, I decided to come back to this place and support the Center's cause in my own little ways. From all the observations I made, I have already listed some planned activities when I return. After thanking Aling Nida and the volunteers, I said my goodbyes and started my walk back to Nagbalayong to resume my return journey to Manila. I was tired, hungry, and miss my home, but I was happy.