top of page

The Summer of My Dream at 45°C

Many may disagree. But the best time to splurge and enjoy any family vacation is summer, not New Year or Christmas. It is the time of the year when you can go out in your barest get-ups. Everything one sees and touches around is relatively free, even if a bit polluted, as you step out of the house - the sun is visibly bright outdoors, with nature at its naked best. With the blue skies above and the sun at its brightest from morning till sundown, who needs an expensive holiday dress and a pair of new shoes to boot?

There are no exchange gifts and caroling dole-outs to give at the doorstep. If you travel, the warmth of summer requires simpler and essential packing and planning of activities without fear of cold or rainy interruptions. For the first time, I did not bring extra luggage when I went to the land of my dreams. There was little expense except the constant yearning for cold drinks to help quench one’s thirst because of the hot weather.

This year’s Lenten season was a timely vacation made doubly meaningful because our son, Alim, visited for a three-week break from work abroad. Even without his beloved spouse, Donna, and our dear grandson, Lyme, in tow, I still enjoyed our brief family vacation from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday to Monday for a side business hustle.

But alas! The summer of my dream came with the searing hot sun and the threat of overlapping El Niño conditions to La Niña of 40 to 45 degrees Celsius, the hottest temperature in recorded history this year. According to the PAGASA, the heat index may go even higher until the end of April. Indeed, it is a very uncomfortable hot climate for people. Alim says poetically,“naninikit ang katawan sa init ng araw.” So how can one enjoy summer? Isn’t it the purpose of taking a vacation to improve one’s well-being and, for Holy Week, to simultaneously uplift the soul and the weary? At the city proper, we noticed a few police at every intersection but more functional street lights, unlike in Naga City.

I thought that flying to the cleanest and most beautiful province known as the “Last Frontier” and “Land of the Living God” that is Palawan was a great getaway! And so, we did. The typical sunshine and blue-green beaches are incomparable to many, but little did we know that even this first-classed urban city cited as the cleanest and greenest city in the country can also bear the searing sun at 45 degrees Celsius. Staying at the old Badjao Inn along Rizal Avenue for four days and nights was excellent, a bit nostalgic and homey as it reminded me of my Lola Sisang and Lolo Binong’s old house in Dinaga and Ojeda streets in Naga City, where I was born by a madrona on a hand weaved bang on the floor. The room was just right for three adults, and the accommodation was relatively cheaper, with simple amenities close to the legendary Ka Lui with its unique barefoot culture of dining and NilaButch, another one-of-a-kind eatery in a park.

I love Puerto Princesa as a maritime delight, its deep blue-green sparkling sea waters and beaches known for its long-nosed dolphins and turtles with its vast greenery expanse of hardwood trees and flowers everywhere. Palawan’s capital city is part of the MiMaRoPa meaning Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan, also known as the Southwestern Tagalog region. Tagalog is the dominant language, with a sprinkling of Bisayan speakers and Maranao-speaking Muslims of Mindanao who comprise most of the city’s traders in the Pasalubong mall.

We took the Honda Bay guided tour package that comprised a group of islands of the Starfish, Cowrie, and Luli that connotes a funny coined word of lulubog lilitaw na isla depending on the high tide, passing by the Pambato and Frazer beaches known for snorkeling and other outdoor diving recreation. Each motorized banca was a good P1,700 pesos per person to cover food, boat travel, and personal guide from morning to afternoon. Before the pandemic, we had a boat ride to the world’s longest underground river, which had unique formations of stalagmites and stalactites. We also went inside some bat caves cited in the UNESCO Heritage. This time, sunbathing outdoors all day gave us lots of natural Vitamin D, tanned bodies, and sturdy legs. Native cooks prepared fresh sea foods of giant oysters, prawns, and crabs with watermelon fruits and buco juices and completed the meals on the beach sides with umbrella covers. Around the islands, I realized each isle has a common owner, the former governor Hagedon’s family clan, similar to Camarines Sur, whose governor’s family clan also owns many islands or beachfront. Law in political economy?

It was a refreshing feeling as our boat glided through the sparkling deep blue-green ocean, as refreshing as meeting new-found friends and listening to shared reflections of life lessons on Good Friday at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral the day before. Indeed, the summer of my dream was unforgettable. Despite the days of scorching sun and hot winds that brush against one’s cheeks, I felt warm, hot, and muggy, the experience of feeling the hottest days in the planetary records as of 2024 today, according to experts. Never mind the heat because the mountains and the vast down ocean are splendor. I wonder why, in every province in the country, the sea and the hills lie appropriately positioned opposite each other. Law of opposites?

A vacation provides a better opportunity for rest and better sleep, which can help unclutter your mind in exchange for better thoughts and improved mental health. On our last night, we watched our last Netflix feel-good movie and then caught late-night news on how the trust ratings for the president and vice president plummeted “mainly due to the public’s growing concerns regarding issues such as inflation, corruption, and perceived weak leadership,” Publicus Asia noted.

I prayed for better vibes as I returned to work after the brief vacation. The next day, the hot sun was again up at 45 degrees Celsius. I got a call from my broker, and I felt good.


bottom of page