Zambales Sojourn: Once. Last Summer.
Photographed and Written by JUN REYNALES.
IBA, Zambales, March 19-21, 2013 -- Nothing beats the warmth smiles and beautiful faces of the wonderful people of Zambales Province.
It also gives the exciting activities for their annual Zambales Province’s Mango Festival which was held in the center of the rustic town of Iba, Zambales this month of March. With hoards of exciting participants from the different towns around the province, all came with such vibrant dominating colour of yellow – showing the brightness of summer and the sweetness of their most delicious produce... Zambales Mangoes.
Lovely beauty titlists like Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup, and Janine Tugonon, added the grace of the pageantry and parade as they spearheaded and ushered the different floatillas of the different towns with their respective beauty titlests hoping to bag the year’s beauty queen to represent the province.
The whole street parade festooned with wonderful colorful costumes gamely danced all over the plaza of Iba, you also get to experience the energetic crowd as they cheered and danced along with each street dancers that passed them by. No amount of summer heat deterred the crowd to stop, albeit through the different small stalls and vendors sold some cool refreshments and foods, as all enjoyed the beat of the upbeat music of the parade.
Places like San Salvador Island for one. A remote marine sanctuary island, yet undeveloped, is one best example for some of the more intrepid and outdoor-type of adventurer would love to stay. With just a few minutes small boat ride, this island is best for those who would wish to sleep beachside with tents and go camping. Gaze with the stars, watch a bright full moon as it shares it brilliance when it reflects its mooncast over the calm ocean... well, simply amazing. Top that with good friends, eat good food and drink cold drinks, share laughs and stories, it indeed becomes a good place where friendship and memories begins and lasts.
Another such wonderful discover would be Potipot Island. Perhaps one of the province’s most recognized and loved beach area, it boast almost its pristine beautiful clear waters that enthralls all those who would take a dip in its waters. Local small huts can be rented out, or best, to bring your own tent and camping equipments to enjoy your stay there. While heading out for Potipot Island, I was fortunate also to be introduced to the region’s most cleanest lake – the Uacon Lake – with its gentle waters that eventually meets the open seas, it is best for those who would want to kayak around and discover some of its mangrove forest alongside the lake.
The chanced visit to these wonderful beaches and lake of the province gives us cityfolks appreciate more what the wonderful province enjoyed – and us to experience -- during such wonderful travel adventure.
Topside travel also brought me to go inside the famous Casa San Miguel in another rustic town of San Antonio. Spearheaded by no less than the equally-famous violinist Coke Bolipata, converted their ancestral house to an exhibit/perfomance hall, a museum, an al-fresco cafe, as the housed young and talented scholars from the province all eagerly to leartn and master the craft of playing the violin. Every now and then they have such angelic performances and invited not only some high-class delegates and dignitaries from Manila and other countries, but also from their own provincemates, as all eagerly to listen to all the fine jewels of young talented violinists all in the huge expance of the property.
In such simple rustic town, beautiful and angelic music are made and upcoming talented virtuosos are crafted to play such marvelous pieces perhaps to that of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and other gods of immaculate music genres.
And capping my Zambales sojourn was visits to some of the country’s oldests and most reverend churches situated in the different towns around the province. Different styles of architectures as each location creates a different styles in its architecture and traditions. Marvelous yet humble churches showed how these were encrusted to the provinces faith to their people, to their visitors, and to all those willing to share their history – capturing through their camera lenses, writing in their journals. Weary souls or not, visit to such wonderful structures gives one a sense of history.
I have always loved and visited Zambales province every now and then. But this journey gave me more realization as what the province really offer: that through its history and culture, the beautiful smile and warm welcome of its people, the sweet and delicious mangoes, are all what makes it sweet.
And its sweetness beyond summer can and will always be there for Zambales. It all happened last summer... once.
Life is Good!