Someone drowned in Matabungkay, Batangas last Sunday. But it seemed like that guy was not the only one that needed saving.
My travel buddy and I spent the long weekend at a beach in my home province. We had grander plans actually — Palaui Island in Cagayan, Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Sagada in Mountain Province, Hundred Islands in Pangasinan — but our weird schedules made the long weekend completely pointless. So we were forced to choose a beach that was close to the city.
Matabungkay in Lian, Batangas is indeed close to me. I’m not just talking about physical proximity but more importantly emotionally. I stayed there for two months when I managed an English camp for Korean grade school and college students in 2006 and we made wonderful memories and bond in that barangay. I was very familiar with the place. Matabungkay was an easy choice. You see, memories, which needed revisiting, were littered on the sands of Matabungkay.
Apparently, it wasn’t just memories that were all over Matabungkay. Trash, too. I wish I’m talking figuratively here.
It had been three years since I last visited the popular Batangas beach but a lot has changed. There was so much garbage lying on the sand and swimming with tourists. Seaweeds are a common sight in the area but what really ruined the place were plastic cups, glass bottles, aluminum foils, Lucky Me Pancit Canton wrappers… (Sorry, the brand got stuck in my head coz it’s my favorite and there were so much of them there.) It was really heartbreaking.
And yeah, someone drowned while we were swimming. I hope he was able to reach the hospital on time.
But you see, that man wasn’t the only one drowning at the time. The beach is in desperate need of attention and help. If that beach turned like that after only three years, who knows what it would be like three more years from now. No wonder tourists are now taking a detour to Nasugbu and Calatagan (which are great beaches, btw).
We tried to find out where all the garbage was coming from. We walked around and found the community tidy. There were trash cans near the stores and not a single trash could be seen on the road. All the garbage was at the shore. Could it be because it came from the tourists on the bamboo rafts? Mind you, there were many of them. Too many, if you ask me.
The sadder part is that no one was cleaning up the place. We took a peek at the celebrated Matabungkay Beach Resort and Hotel, where I stayed three years ago, and the place was still gorgeous. That’s because they keep on raking seaweeds that drifted to their coast. Something that other resorts and the community itself fail to do, allowing garbage to pile up.
Having said that, did we enjoy our trip?
Absolutely. Although the beach was a disappointment, Coral Beach Club, the resort we stayed in, was fantastic. It was just the beach. The trip turned into an eye-opener for the two of us, which made it not just a relaxing trip but also a learning experience. Learning is always fun.
Now, it’s time of ways to think on how to help.