I know a few select people who prefer to go to Santa Monica, located near the tip of the island and intimately facing the Pacific. They are the type who chase serenity and simplicity.
Here, they bask in the humble charm of the town with its perfect ordinary coastal rural feel with no invading urban crowd.
The town’s poblacion remains its own attraction and anyone who value and seek a tranquil early morning or late afternoon stroll around an old-fashioned plaza facing a modern, unpainted slightly elevated church will feel at home here.
It is even more relaxing to head towards the over-extended “pantalan” passing the playground and embrace the ocean’s breeze or drop by a floating village connected through a tiny wooden bridge backdropped by a mangrove forest.
Locals converged at the playground where children run and teenagers in merry exchange.
“I like kicking football with the kids whose laughter are infectious and uplifting,” says Alaine Legarda, a visiting young professional from Cebu City who excused himself from his friends hook on parties and socializing in the other town of General Luna.
“I want to explore lesser known towns, so I took a bicycle and discovered Barangay Rizal’s marine sanctuary and interacted with fisherfolk who brought me to the floating cottage in the middle of the sea. It was absolutely a one-of-a-kind experience,” he proudly says.
He also had an outdoor lunch prepared by a fisherman’s family in one of the stilt houses lining the coastal village.
“This is what I look for, savor the ordinary life but having an extra-ordinary moment at least,” he quips, grateful of the experience many had no time or care.
Santa Monica may not sound “sosyal” to urban tourist-pretenders but is not left behind when it comes to good accommodation. There is a government-run and local women’s group managed dormitory right in the middle of “action”- the endless ocean breeze, kicking football, play volleyball, do yoga and just be peaceful and let be.
Postcript: It is best to make a reservation through online before coming, and if you dock in the port of Dapa or land in Del Carmen airport there are a variety of vehicles to rent for less than a thousand, one way. But the best is to take the bicycle.
Photo courtesy of Coconut Sports