Last week, the family joined throngs of people who rushed to the provinces for a three day break from the usual hustle and bustle of the city. Together with family friends, brothers Ollie and Abel Marcelo and Edgar Soriente and their families, we rushed to the province of Pangasinan.
We left on Thursday at 4:00 am. We were delayed as our agreement was to leave at 1:00 am to avoid the traffic. Luckily, we only experienced being jammed at the Toll gates and at Tarlac. The ride was smooth thereafter.
First stop was Lucero, a small island of ten barangays somewhere in Bolinao, a town right after Alaminos. There, the children experienced living in a remote island with nothing to do but enjoy the scenery, play cards, eat and sleep. Good Friday, our host took us to a one hour trip to another island called Patar where we bathed for a while. But the best was yet to come.
Highlight of this trip was on Saturday where we went to the famous Hundred Islands arranged by my wife and Vivian with Lean Braganza, son of Alaminos Mayor, Honorable Nani Braganza, former DAR Secretary and one time Congressman of a district in Pangasinan. Upon arrival, we were treated to a hefty breakfast of fried rice, boneless bangus, bite-sized longganisa and eggs cooked over-easy. We were then led to the port where we were taken to a big boat called The Adventure.
We scouted for an island that was not thickly swarmed with people but to no avail. We settled going to Quezon Island. However, as it was already late, we couldn't find a place to stay. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise,though, as the boat we have was big enough to cook, eat and stay comfortably and have a break from swimming.
That night, the wives were about to cook dinner when Lean arrived. He invited us for dinner. Guess who showed up after the sumptuous dinner. No less than the mayor himself. He stayed with us until it was almost midnight.
Clad in shorts and t-shirt, he is still the Nani Braganza we knew when he was still a student - simple, articulate and sincere. We talked about the problems confronting the town and his constituency, how he got rid of jueteng and drugs, and his plans and courses of actions in the future. Honestly, I am impressed knowing that he always means business even when he was just a young student.