He waited for about an hour outside the yellowish Cuyo Municipal hall… waited patiently. He smiled at me as if he just waited for five minutes. The 12 years old boy who live only with his big bro, was delighted when he saw me coming out of the tourism office. I could think of anything on my mind from positive to the pessimist point of view. Can you blame me if I thought the latter?   

The supposed to be short talk with the tourism officer happened for an hour or two. We talked about everything about Cuyo from tourism, planned developments, peace and order, and even personal lives to almost anything under the sun. 

We walked along the alley heading to public market where freshly catch sea creatures are available. The little lad showed me everything as if he’s selling all the goods to me.  Less than five minutes of walking I saw the beach and the host of small fishing boats used to feed the small community of Cuyo.      

  But the main lure of the less than a kilometer of white
beach is at the not so far end where a sand bar semi encompassed by the sea
that makes it a little peninsula… or not a sand bar at all. The little boy like
an experienced tour guide pointed me towards, showed me every sea shells found
on the shore, explained every construction going on and the dos and don’ts at
the beach.  

Thoughts were running in my mind. Capusan is not the most perfect beach I’ve seen but it has a distinct aura that can never be seen on other beaches. Its landscape made significant by the sandbar makes it a unique attraction maybe not for perfect beachin’ but for photo session. And that’s what we did playing in the sand then capture moments with my point and shoot. The boy like a boy enjoys the beach as if it his vast playground.     There, it has an abandon wooden boat by the Americans, they say, which is quite the unspoken symbol of Cuyo.   

While the sun is far from setting off, the little lad checked on the other side where the beach ends. There a picturesque landscape can be seen especially during low tide wherein the locals gather sea shells for their daily provision. Again enthusiastically, the boy showed to me everything that in it. From the star fish – a lot of starfish to artful creations of the hermit crabs and other sea creatures, everything there is just a spectacular work of ecosystem. 

I sat on the newly painted bench to reflect and digest all that I saw. Everything was so calm – the sea, my mind, my heart and my soul was at peace. I gave the little boy fifty pesos to buy some snack back in the market just so I could escape his talkativeness and questions and be on my own enjoying the still moment. Then I lay on a bench under the tree listening to the duet of the roaring voice of the waves and the angelic hum of the wind. I closed my eyes not to sleep but to meditate with the surrounding. It’s the thing that I want. Alone. Free. Careless Mind. Euphoric.   The hum of the wind colliding in the century old trees (like) gushing on its leaves makes a perfect brush melodically made for the ears was like a lullaby playing on my head. With exemption of the amused high school students afar from where I am everything was a euphoric celebration in peaceful tone on my head. It’s not the first in my life to experience this serenity and like the others I knew that it will not last long. Who cares anyway, everything is history the next day.   

He came back breathing to death. He runs the stretch of the beach so that I won’t get bored – he thought. He came with a soda in plastic and some cheap chips. While eating he started asking question of curiosity on why I am on their Island and about the like in the metro especially in Manila. But this kid is rich not in material wealth but with experience. The kid travelled a lot brought by the complexity of his family’s life. He can speak five local languages namely Filipino, Bicolano, Ilongo, Cebuano and Cuyonon . Aside from his natural curiosity over everything under the sun, I noticed that this boy is natural intelligent and resourceful thus made me conclude that he can live on his own. 

But he’s still a boy taking advantage of his adrenaline and natural flexibility. He jumped, run, twist his body then talk to me. He gave me frequent smile with his sensible question that I cannot directly answer.                                  

Not even a glimpse of a perfect sunset was evident. Clouds dominate the sky. I was a little sad but not enough to walk away and turn down the opportunity to witness the sky turning from blue to orange to darkness. It made me envious when my little lad tour guide described to me the perfect sunset of orange sky and the sun was like a flaming ball.    

There was no perfect sunset but there was a magnificent show lead by the clouds, the sea, the island and the sun. 

  I thought of rewarding the boy because of his enthusiasm and natural cheerfulness. I should treat him for dinner but he refused saying that he has to cook before his big brother came home. I said ok. I wanted to give him the portion of fresh Lapu-Lapu I bought in the market but he refused. I’m giving him some small amount of money but he refused again saying people might think that he’s taking advantage of me. I was astonished by his answers. Aren’t you going to? Instead, I persuaded him to accept the Snickers Chocolate Bar just so I could reward him with little things that I have.   

That boy made my Cuyo memorable. He made me believe that life in Cuyo is led by simplicity and honesty. From the eye of a kid I see how big our world is. He knows many things I do not know that only experience in life can teach. This boy’s humble life makes him rich and the master of his world. I want to see him again facing the world in the eye of an adult. Someday I will see Emerson again.         

This is part of my Northern Palawan Series 

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This is the travel blog of Jherson Jaya – banker by profession, adventurer by passion. Everything written here were based on his experiences. The lust of seeing new places thrilled him to explore both the explored and unexplored world. Old and new architecture fanatic; lover of food, both exotic and indulgence; and founds peace in long bus and train rides – thats how he describe his way of traveling.    Follow his adventure by liking his Facebook Page LonelyTravelogue and following him on Twitter and Instagram