Early one morning, after two days in the tourist city of Vigan, I got in a small motor bike rickshaw and travelled to a small guest house on the coast.
It wasn´t far, 15 kilometres or so.
Before long, we left Vigan behind us and motored down narrow pot holed roads with open fields and small houses on either side. There were was almost no traffic. The sky was a blanket of grey.
We came to a small town called Santa Catalina. ‘Santa Catalina’: a vestige of The Philippines origins as a Spanish colony.
There was a single main street, houses and shops either side and a large church. There were few people about.
Finally we neared the coast.
There was a strong wind blowing off the sea. It was good to breathe fresh air again. Then the sea came into view. I’d had ideas of going for a swim but I at first sight, I knew that was completely out of the question. Big ocean swells broke far out to sea, reformed and broke again and again, forming a series of wild, breaking waves which pounded the beach violently.
With the sound of the waves filling the air, the rickshaw turned left and drove down a long drive and pulled up a large open dining area with wooden tables and chairs under a large sloping thatch roof. There was a middle-aged man seated at one of the tables talking to a couple of young Filipino tourists. Besides some of the place names, another surviving remnant of the Spanish era are people’s names and as far as that went, you couldn’t get more Spanish than ‘Carlos Fernando’.
Carlos got up and came over to the rickshaw and introduced himself.