We all want a vacation now and then to be able to relax and re-energize. However, our busy lives just doesn’t allow for a luxurious getaway. Us girls also wanted to go on a vacation but our schedules never seem to match. We always had something to do on weekends. But we were all determined and constantly excited to discuss our plans for a weekend getaway. Finally, we settled on just going on a short but fun road trip to a small resort in Atimonan, Quezon.
It was a 6-hour ride, far enough from the city but still near enough not to exhaust us from the travel time. Picking a date to go was tricky at first. But our determination and positive thinking paid off because a couple of days before the weekend, all our schedules synced. So, we met early morning, on a weekend, (despite some mishaps and a sleepless night of packing our bags) for our quick adventure. It was a very quick one indeed. And it was all worth it as we came back with more than just fun memories of our trip.
The essence of pleasure is spontaneity.– Germaine Greer
The 6-hour road trip to Atimonan, Quezon didn’t feel tiring at all as we started early in the morning to avoid traffic. Our goal for this road trip was to relax and have fun. We always thought of this trip as an adventure; so we were all on an adventurous mood as we tried out alternate routes around the area when we did encounter traffic.
One of us volunteered to drive and borrowed her boyfriend’s car for the trip as well. Aside from admiring the sight of green trees, the mountains in the distance and endless fields of green with cows and horses grazing or shading themselves under the trees, we also had a playlist to accompany us. Of course, we had lots to talk about too so we never got bored during the trip.
One of the most fun we had was when we were going thru the zigzag road. Since the road had steep turns, people are stationed at these sharp corners to manage traffic. They signal drivers to stop when there are oncoming cars from the opposite lane to avoid accidents. They also wore colourful shirts and had colourful flags for good visibility. As a sign of thanks, drivers throw out coins as they pass by. So we prepared our own coins and gave some to them at every turn until we ran out of coins. We were especially fond of the grandmother who was sitting at one of the stations.
Courage and the willingness to just go for it, whether it is a conversation or a spontaneous trip or trying new things that are scary – it is a really attractive quality.– Alanis Morissette
Since it was a quick road trip to Atimonan, Quezon, we didn’t really have time to go to all the tourist spots but we did visit a few ones near the resort where we stayed. The Playa de Lucia Resort which was a newly developed facility. Some parts of it was still under construction at the time and they had a swimming pool. However, we were more interested in getting some vitamin sea so we let the kids enjoy their pool time.
When we finally checked into our room, the first thing we did was rest for a bit on the comfortable beds. While our companions took a nap, two of us went around to scout the area, check out the beach and of course, take pictures.
We took everything at a slow pace so we set aside swimming for the next day. For the rest of the afternoon, a friend who lived in the area took us around to some interesting spots. First off, we went to Coco – an old pier which was a trading port back in the day. Though it now has cracks and holes, the structure still looks solid and locals and tourists alike visit the place for a relaxing view of the sea. Of course we had to take pictures and it was especially beautiful during sunset.
The pier extended from the beach far out into the sea. It was this part where the floor of the pier had broken down and through the break, you could look into the deep, blue waters. Approaching the break and looking into the water was exciting and scary at the same time. The water’s deep blue color made it seem mysterious, as though mermaids could be swimming underneath the waves, or sea creatures could suddenly rise up and snatch you.
We didn’t go near the edge to avoid accidentally drowning in the deep waters. The calm waters helped us to relax and just enjoy the view. The walk to the end of the port and back to the beach was quite long but the view all around was a welcome respite from the daily scenery in the city.
The Lonely Mermaid
Our next destination was a lone piece of rock, or boulder which just seemed to be attached beside the road and right behind it, a sculpture of a lonely mermaid atop a smaller rock. See a theme here? The rock seemed to be impossibly suspended since it looked like it had a smaller base; which would make it all the more mysterious but we were too afraid to go down and check.
A lonely mermaid was there and you can walk up to the monument thru cement steps from the side of the road. We didn’t want to risk losing our footing on the slippery steps, so we contented ourselves with a picture of both the rock and the lonely mermaid. Both these lonely structures were by the highway and the backdrop of the beautiful blue of the sky and the ocean behind them made the whole scene beautiful to look at.
It was getting dark at this point so we opted to go back to the resort and prepare for dinner. We had agreed to wear the dresses we could never wear for work during this vacation, and dinner was the perfect excuse to do so. I had prepared hair clips that we could wear as accessories for this very occasion and so off we went to dinner at a nearby restaurant (who’s name I can’t remember) which was also near the sea.
The restaurant was large and though it was dark outside, we could hear the sound of the waves and feel the cool breeze from the sea. There weren’t too many people around so the place felt quiet and we were chatting in low voices so as not to interrupt the relaxing atmosphere. This made eating the dishes enjoyable but it also made us very sleepy after we ate our full.
So after dinner, we wen’t back to our room but we didn’t sleep. We spent the time chatting about our issues in life and figuring out our futures until late into the night. It was one of the most honest, deepest conversations and profound self-reflections that I have had in a long time. Being honest with one’s feelings and getting advise without being judged is such a freeing experience and I am thankful for the experience with these girls. As the night wore on, sleep finally got to us and we agreed to take an early morning swim so we could be back on the road before lunch.
The next day, we went down to the beach in our swimsuits. We were met at the hotel entrance by Lucio, the owner’s dog who was named after his late wife Lucia (which is also the name of the resort). Lucio walked with us to the beach. We could hear him splashing in the water as we meditated at sunrise while grounding ourselves in the sand. He didn’t go too deep into the water though although we encouraged him. Instead, he was sunning himself by the beach as though he was guarding us and our belongings.
It’s not the first time I saw a beach with calm waters but in the mornings, the water is usually cold. Here however, the water was warm and inviting and because there were hardly any waves, we could enjoy just submerging ourselves neck-deep in the water without salt spray stinging our eyes.
We mostly floated around to bask in the early sunshine. It seemed as if we owned the whole place because we were the only ones on the beach at this time. Since the sun wasn’t scorching hot at this time of day, we didn’t even put on sunscreen. The whole world seemed peaceful and serene at the time. No buzz from city traffic disrupted our thoughts and the gentle sound of the water and warm sea breeze was calming to our senses. In such surroundings, it was possible to let go of one’s worries and just enjoy the present moment.
The sun was getting warmer and so after a couple of hours, we went back to our room. Lucio also walked with us back to the resort entrance and headed to his usual sleeping spot. We could feel how relaxed he was as we had been relaxed too due to the slow pace of activities we had been enjoying since we arrived.
The Journey Back Home
Before lunch time, we hit the road as we are nearing the end of our road trip to Atimonan, Quezon. We passed by the same zigzag road but this time around, we stopped by the souvenir center. The shop sells local delicacies and crafts. My companions got themselves some honey. I bought some turmeric powder and a woven bag.
Our next stop after this was for lunch along the way, where we also got more souvenirs. After a few more hours, we could tell just by the state of the traffic that we were nearing Metro Manila. We were back in the city again but we feel refreshed and revived. Our short vacation made us feel more ready to face the usual daily grind the next day.
We did not visit many tourist spots during this road trip to Atimonan, Quezon because our goal was to slow down our pace and enjoy relaxing activities instead. We all agreed to repeat this experience. Just go somewhere to relax, not worry about tourist spots and itineraries. We just want to be with nature, enjoy the sights and sounds without hurrying back to and from each destination.
We may not remember the names of the places we’ve been to but our senses will always remember the rest and quiet that we experienced together. Two days is a short time to get to know each other better. But somehow we have a deeper understanding of each other’s personalities just from the conversations we had that night and from the jokes and anecdotes we shared with each other throughout the trip. We may not see each other again soon, but we know that we will always have a connection. And we will always be looking forward to our next adventure together.
Still hesitating to go on that trip? I hope this mini-adventure of ours, our road trip to Atimonan, Quezon gets you motivated to plan for your own weekend getaway. Tell us about your best travel adventures and your favorite travel moments.
P.S. Yes, we took a lot of pictures of the scenery around us. Maybe why we only got to visit a few spots. They’re something to look back again to when we are stressed out and we want to remember some of our happy moments.
Updated Version. First published in Pinoy Smart Living on 08.14.2019
Photos are from author and travel buddies.