The shifting sands of Initao

TUBIGON, Initao, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/10 June) —  Sixteen years have passed since the last time I set foot on this place together with six friends, maybe seven. Back then, we came for a sad occasion – to throw some ashes of a friend into the spot where he loved to snorkel.

CURIOUS. Beach goers examine closely the seaweeds that cling to the rocks on the shore of Barangay Tubigon, Initao town in Misamis Oriental. MindaNews photo by H. Marcos C. MordenoHow time flies, I told myself as my eyes surveyed the changes around. Only the fond memory of that departed friend in this place has not changed. The bamboo and nipa structures that served as dormitories and function halls have given way to concrete buildings stuffed with amenities found in average homes like TV and videoke.

I have always disliked the idea of making vacation places a “home away from home.” If your destination is no different from home, then what’s the point of leaving?

Fortunately, classes had started, and there were only a few guests at the resort. That lessened the chances of having to endure unwanted decibels, allowing the heart to savor not just the memories but also to enjoy the feel of the sea breeze and the rhythm of the waves.

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Nature’s greatest music, I mused as I stretched my legs on a bench made of driftwood upon arriving from Malaybalay City, a copy of Paolo Coelho’s “The Witch of Portobello” in hand.

I didn’t get to finish past ten pages of the book. The white sand on the shore beckoned as the sun set and the water retreated. It felt good to walk barefoot and feel your soles sink into the wet sand. In a spot where the low tide had exposed some small rocks, presumably degraded corals, shellfish could be seen racing towards the sea.

The water also looked inviting. But it wasn’t the best time for a plunge; one has to wait for the high tide, when the sea would cover the part of the shore where there are no rocks or corals. At this time of the year in Initao, the sea rises at around midday and recedes by mid-afternoon.

“Why don’t they remove these rocks so that we can have more space for swimming?” I wondered aloud.

Noli, who happened to talk to a employee at the resort, echoed the explanation she got from the latter. “It isn’t always like this. From November and up to a certain point in May, these rocks would be covered by sand. Maybe it depends on the flow of the currents.”

“Shifting sands,” I tried to sound poetic.

But while many may find the presence of the rocks annoying, Ed found them to be a source of an enjoyable experience. He said that while he was sitting on one of the rocks he felt a tickle on his feet. Upon gazing in the water he saw little fish nibbling on his skin. He was having free spa!

Ben, on the other hand, spotted a marine turtle while wading across the rocks. “Perhaps its back is as big as a winnower,” he said.

Now, these made me realize I was being stupid in wanting to have the rocks removed. Nature placed them there for a purpose.

Perhaps if the rocks weren’t there, Ed would not have experienced the free spa and Ben would not have seen a marine turtle in its natural habitat.

This is the beauty of whiling away your time in Initao’s beach. It may not be renowned like other destinations, but one can still get a piece of Creation and taste life in an unhurried pace. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)