October 26, 2013: Chris’ parents were visiting us from Canada for three weeks. The challenge for us was to keep coming up with new and interesting ideas for day trips. At least having a rental car at our disposal gave us a lot more freedom and a lot more options.
Today’s choice was a drive to Pundaquit Beach. The main reason most people go here is to take a boat to one of three islands offshore or one of the remote boat access coves further along the coast, popular with campers.
Getting there was an adventure in itself. First, it’s about an hour’s drive to Castillejos. From there, we took one of the roads which our map showed would take us to San Antonio. Or at least that was the plan. Just a couple of hundred metres shy of where we wanted to turn left, the road abruptly ended at a washed out bridge over a wide river. Short of swimming, there was no way across. It meant turning around and driving all the way back to town and taking the next road along.
From San Antonio, it’s a few more kilometres over rough road to our destination. In our 1997 edition of Lonely Planet guide book (yes, we realize it’s a little out of date), it says there is no accommodation in the small fishing village of Pundaquit. That’s all changed these days, with numerous family-run resorts lining the beach. But it was off-season so not too crowded today.
Nora’s Resort was recommended for lunch. It’s just a little spot with rooms for rent, boats for hire, a few nipa huts on the beach and a restaurant. Although the food was all freshly prepared and excellent, Nora is the big draw. She is a lively character and certainly kept us entertained. She’s been widowed for several years. Now she’s on a lookout for a kind husband with a good pension. Know anyone?
Nora’s is definitely worth a return visit. I’d love to go back one day to try their house specialty paella and take a boat trip to the islands. Or maybe bring MOKEN and anchor off-shore.
On the beach we met a mother and her two young sons visiting from Metro Manila. When the older boy found out we were Canadian he inundated us with questions. Is it cold? Are there bullies in school? What kind of animals are there? Are there polar bears? Turns out they were just about to move to Winnipeg of all places, leaving the following week.
On the drive back to Subic Bay, we came across group after group of people in colourful matching t-shirts. With the local barangay elections just days away, all the candidates were out in force with their supporters trying to drum up votes. Each group was sporting a different colour. It’s like a big street party and everyone was enjoying the spectacle, even the kids. Granted there may have been a little vote buying going on, but there’s definitely a lot of enthusiasm for elections here.