The day before my birthday, I decide to go on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Aloguinsan.
Why? I saw a post on Facebook about Hermit’s Cove and it was stunning.
It was a secluded white sand beach with a picture-perfect view.
So I brought my ‘borrowed and hopefully will never return’ tent and rode a bus to this municipality two hours away from Cebu City.
Halfway, we stopped to pee and for some refreshments.
It took me a few minutes to do my thing that the bus actually drove away without me.
I had no choice but to haul my fat-ass and run as fast as I could eventually hanging on to the bus door’s handles.
I guess you could say I became a stuntman for a minute.
Arriving in the town, I bought some food from the market’s carenderia and hailed a motorcycle.
This ride kept breaking down along the way, I actually convinced myself that it was a sign that I should lose weight.
Arriving at Hermit’s Cove a few minutes before the evening, I was denied entry.
They don’t allow overnight camping anymore.
Next option was Hidden Beach. Again, I was denied entry.
It was closed during that day because of a private event. Bad luck on my part.
So I asked the motorcycle driver if there’s another beach he could suggest.
He told me that I could stay at his cousin’s place, and it was free of charge.
Problem solved? No. It was a shit hole. And I had no other choice.
It was a delapidated beach property where fishermen parked their boats.
It was full of garbage and it had no proper source of light which made it unsafe.
With hesitation, I set up my ‘outdoor hotel’ and looked for a well-lit place to eat my dinner in plastic bags.
Feeling full, I decided to drink to numb the fear of sleeping at a rundown place.
The store was owned by a retired police chief who kept asking questions about my identity.
I’ve always thought I looked innocent but this incident made me realize that I could easily pass for a hired killer.
I had no choice but to make up a story that I was here on matters of tourism.
At least I got a travel blog and some photos in my camera to show.
I also told him of my sleeping situation. Still, he looked unconvinced.
I finally overdid my deception by telling him that I have an appointment with the tourism officer tomorrow morning, which I don’t.
Thinking that I finally got away from his untrusting radar, he suggested that I transfer my tent within the grounds of the municipal hall beside the police station.
Being an ‘expected guest’ of the town, he felt that my safety was his responsibility.
How can you say no to that? If I rejected this offer, he would be more suspicious about me.
You guessed right, I moved my set-up tent about a hundred meters with several onlooking passersby.
I guess I could say that I was the first person to ‘illegally’ pitch my tent on government property.
The bermuda garden was super illuminated it actually looked like a football stadium, and I was poised to sleep in the middle of it.
Thinking that I already ran out of more awkward things to experience, I got invited to drink a bottle of Fundador by a police officer on night duty which I think was a violation of protocol.
Waking up looking thrashed the next day, I remembered I had an ‘appointment’.
So I went back to the shithole and asked the caretaker if it was alright to request for a pail of water for bathing which he smilingly obliged.
Smelling fresh and looking presentable, I mustered all the courage to head over to the tourism office.
I introduced myself, told her that I write for a popular travel blog, and asked her if it would be alright to ask for their assistance with regards to writing about their tourist attractions in just a span of one day.
She called up their town mayor and I had my go signal, I even had someone take me around town on a motorbike.
Guess what? I was able to visit Hermit’s Cove, Baluarte, The Farmhouse and the world-class Bojo River Cruise like a VIP without paying a single peso.
Thinking I’m done for the day, their tourism officer called and informed me that I have a courtesy call from the mayor herself and that she’s inviting me over for lunch at the luxury Lunhaw Farm Resort.
She even asked me to stay at one of the rooms worth about 150 dollars a night and take a dip in the pool, how awesome is that?
Heading home with a full stomach and an epic story to tell, it was indeed my most unforgettable birthday yet.