By By Pablo A. Tariman
posted 16-May-2019  ·  
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Pablo Tariman in Abihao Point. Another must see place in Baras town.
The columnist's grandson Emman watching sea waves break into rock formations in Abihao Point.

On a week you decide not to be too prolific and settle on two articles a week, you figure out your grandson deserves a break after harvesting four medals and some citations in the last recognition day.

Emman has turned 16 and 11 years of that life were with me as guardian. I will skip the story of why he has to be with me because looking back, well, it doesn’t matter now.

When you have decided early on that you are better off single and caring for a grandson, you know it is a life that somehow blends with who and what you are.

Blessed with three daughters more or less settled here and abroad, you feel lucky you have a grandson who can fill up for the son you never had. You have given up on his parents who see no hope for this government. Whether they are proven right or wrong, one no longer cares.

On the day I decided he will stay with me, that was the day I decided to re-live fatherhood this time with a grandson.

And so six years in grade school and now four years in high school with two more years to go before graduation (thanks to K-12), you decide an island getaway for three days will give him a much-needed break.

There was an earthquake a week before our travel and lo and behold, the Clark airport we would be trying for the first time was one of those partially damaged.

I told my grandson it would be nice to see how that airport looked like at least once in our travelling lives.

It turned out we have to be awake six hours before actual flight because you have to take a cab to Trinoma for a bus to Clark and arrive at least two hours before the flight.

When we queued to check in, the airport looked like a huge bodega with hundreds of evacuees. It is probably the only airport where you have to pay terminal fee before being allowed in the departure area.

It is a far smaller plane than the other one that flies to the island regularly departing at the Manila international airport. Offhand, one can see why it offers inexpensive tickets. An hour and ten minutes away, you reach the island, catch up with sleep and on an early afternoon, you visit a new tourist destination in your hometown.

Abihao Point is in Baras, Catanduanes and we arrive on the day of the barrio fiesta. The driver of Baras Mayor Chito Chi brought us to the appointed place discovered by ace photographer Ferdie Benavista Ocol who is the face of tourism in the island. He keeps on discovering new places to see, coordinates with barrio officials on how to make the tourism attraction viable and then he fades away when the tourists start coming. Meanwhile, you hear nothing from the Tourism Promotion Office which comes to life only when a beauty queen or a TV travel journalist comes to visit. After all those endless tourism seminars, this tourism office has yet to produce literate tourist guides you can turn to for visiting friends and relatives.

But discovering Abihao Point for the first time was a treat that makes you overlook non-functioning tourism bureaucrats.

Barangay volunteer Janet Ogalinola assigns you to a local guide who brings you to the rolling hill with a view of the Pacific Ocean and clusters of many other islets dotting the wide blue ocean deep.  On the way using the tree covered footpath, you hear the sound of birds and the distant sound of waves.

Abihao Point is easier to reach than Binurong Point and it offers the same commanding view you get in nearby Balacay Point. The grass is greener and the ravines not too steep. Going down to the lowest promontory, you feel the freedom of being alone in the island with virtual paradise at your disposal.

You can see that your grandson is having a good time as he relishes the sight of waves breaking through the rock formations.

Abihao Point is the place to visit in my hometown. In my early youth, I used to climb those hills from the town población and reach Puraran by foot passing barrio Abihao.

Retracing your back, you like to recite Lord Byron’s tribute to Mother Nature --

      “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”

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