The recent Typhoons, Ondoy and Pepeng, both caused devastation to a lot of areas in the country. And it always seem that the one province who that mostly experience the onslaughts of these heavenly disturbances is Catanduanes. It’s barely a month when I was on that island so when the storms hit big time, I wondered how the people we met there are doing. Aside from checking out the Surfing Scene in Puraran, we also walked around the neighborhood and met some interesting local colors there.
While Puraran Beach is alluring, we decided to go uphill by the main road to check out what’s there and also what to eat. We did find a nice sari-sari store there and chatted with the owner of the store about how sometimes the worst storms could send parts of their houses flying off the road. We then caught sight from a far a dark skinned man with prominent bony structure in his 50s or more drying up some abaca (Manila hemp) fibers. We couldn’t help but approach him and indulge our curiosity.
His calloused and heavily veined hands tightened as he pulled a knot on a set of stacked strands of abaca fibers. He looked up and seemed to have caught us taking photos from a far and gave a shy smile as he continued with his work. His name is Manong Domingo and he has been living in Catanduanes as long as he remembered. He’s an abaca farmer for many years and still does so even if the price per kilo of the abaca fiber has reduced to only 25pesos. It’s not much but he’s proudly earning a decent living.
Neighbor dogs naturally curious of strangers came barking in on our back down the beach. We decided to pass by Putting Baybay and check out the views from the high vantage point of their dining area. We met with Aling Celia, the owner of the resort who also turned out to be the Barangay Captain as well. She was very accommodating and invited us to her nephew’s kiddie birthday party too that afternoon. She’s also the aunt of Aireen, the owner of Puraran Majestics Resort.
We met Little Annie (Not her real name), the daughter of one of the Australian surfers married to a Filipina. She caught our attention when we asked her what she was drinking and she answered “Yakult” with and English twang. She’s an active and adorable girl. We met her family, who’s also related to Aireen. We saw them last at the airport in Manila.
In every place we visit, there’s always that resident friendly dog who never fails to entertain and accommodate new visitors. Brad the house dog of Puraran Majestics would come along our beach explorations and even visit our cottage just to say hi and wag a tail or two.
Before we left Puraran, we also got to meet the Mayor who of course had to make that mandatory photo with the foreign surfers there. On our way back to Virac, we rode in transit with Jun, an adventurous Japanese lady who’s an ex-advertising/ magazine executive from Yokohoma traveling on her own. She’ll be in Manila for a month and made her way here from Manila and is en route to Samar from Virac. On the road we were sharing some notes with her and some travel advices as well. Those are some of the interesting characters we meet, and I’m wondering now how they are doing.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.