Camping at Burot Beach : Thank you, Universe, for decent toilets!

Summer is here once again!

I’d take sunshine over rain
any day but man, the heat is most of the time unbearable.

Being from the Philippines,
I am used to dry weather. But this is probably the most humid summer I have
ever had. (And I’m already 22 years old!)

I guess, we have global
warming to thank –or not thank – for this.

To kick summer off, I found
myself packing my ever reliable backpack for a weekend of camping.

I have never done this
before but I have always dreamed of sleeping inside a tent under a starry,
starry sky.

In my dreams though, the
campsite would be a lush forest surrounded by thick greens. Instead, we (three
of my friends and me – the usual gang) found ourselves camping by the beaches of
Burot in Calatagan, Batangas.

We set a date, hopped on Chaks
– the best car a group of adventurers (by that, I mean us) could ever have –
and after missing the highway exit, getting stuck on traffic, and getting lost
a couple of times, we found our feet in the warm off-white sands of Burot Beach.

During this camping trip, I
was forced
to learn a lot.

At Burot beach, there’s no
electricity, the phone reception is limited, and since it’s an uncommercialised
place, there are no establishments or even sari-sari stores inside the beach
area.

It made me to go back to basics
and the experience has made me thankful for a lot of things that I usually take
for granted.

First off, Universe, I
would really like to thank you for decent toilets! Seriously. It’s a great gift
to mankind that I have never fully appreciated until this trip.

The most challenging part
of camping at Burot beach – aside from setting camp from scratch, my friend
stepping on a sea urchin while swimming, and that plant with thorns buried
under the sand that we somehow kept on stepping on (we call them trap cards,
urgh!) – was going to the loo!

It was the first time I’ve
experienced digging a hole in the sand to go pee. (Yes, Survivor series style!)

There is a public toilet inside the beach area but since we went there
during the Holy Week holiday, the beach’s one toilet/one shower room wasn’t a pretty
sight. But somehow, there was still a long line of people waiting for their
turn to go. We were not a part of those brave souls.

There are also residents
near the beach who would let you use their restrooms for a small fee but it was
a bit too far from where we set camp.

So… a hole in the ground it
was!

Burot beach, we realised,
is untamed. But that’s what makes it beautiful!
(Cue: One Direction.)

We were forced to finds
ways on how to cook our food.

We were forced to stop
staring at our mobile devices and focus on each other and on the sights
surrounding us.

We were forced to be a team
so that we can find a way to set up a decent campsite.

Unlike other beaches we’ve
been to, there are zero entertainment at Burot beach. No videoke, no banana boats,
no bars and parties at night.

No distractions. Just pure
sand, water, and each other.
It was lovely.

We entertained ourselves by
learning the ukulele and playing it (horribly, on my part).

I also took this
opportunity to finally learn how to swim! (Hurrah! Suck it, nightmares where
I’m drowning!)

And we have also proven it
to be true that if you happen to step on a sea urchin, you just have to ask
someone (say, your best friend) to pee on it to make it better. You can also
pour vinegar on the affected area. In my friend’s case, both remedies were
applied. We still laugh about it until now. Good thing it wasn’t the poisonous kind.

The trip wasn’t even close
to perfect.

Our rice was undercooked
(we ate it anyway), our hotdogs fell on the sandy ground (we grilled it anyway)
and were burnt after we grilled it (we ate it anyway).

We were starting to get
irritated by having sand show up everywhere – even inside the sealed cooler where we kept our food. And
inside our watermelon. And inside the sealed
canned tuna that we brought with us (we opened the lid and there were already
sand particles inside. But how-)

We also weren’t able to
take a shower until we got home and we got lost several times.

But for a few minutes,
Universe, as I lay on a blanket outside the tent, my feet buried under cool
sand, looking up at the starry, starry night sky, a little tipsy from drinking
ice cold vodka (the best I’ve ever had so far), eating grilled Korean-marinated
pork (that’s a little burnt too), and just talking to the gang about everything,
life sure felt… perfect.
It really did.

And these moments are what I
look forward to and what I’m most grateful for.

So thanks, Universe, for an
awesome first camping experience.

I’d do it all again in a
heartbeat.

With awe and respect,

-N