Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists . . . . So goes the familiar (at least, ahem, in our generation) opening lines of the Sunscreen Speech written by Mary Schmich, which became a successful music single “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann.
[See map and directions]
But that’s not what we’ll be talking about. We’ll be talking about the Anvaya Burger, er, Anvaya Cove.
The burger was the least of my concerns. It was a Friday so I had to take a leave from work. I was more interested in the beach, not the burger. Besides, I had no idea exactly where Anvaya is located, but there lies the beauty of a full-tank of gas and a sense of adventure. The search is part of the adventure. We’ve seen the Anvaya signs in our roadtrip to the Dambana ng Kagitingan, from the direction of Dinalupihan and ending up in Subic via the SBMA-Morong Road (see map; the road takes you to the Subic entrance/exit near Ocean Adventure and Camayan Beach). Anvaya Cove is around 15 minutes from this exit.
And while I was more interested with the beach, our son was dead keen on the swimming pool; more of a series of swimming pools. Six of them, if I’m not mistaken, overlapping to create a seamless water world for both kids and adults. There’s a main pool that flows into two other sub-pools (can I call it that?), just above the jacuzzi, which, in turn, abuts the kids pool. The exclusive pool is a few steps away, separated by the walkway that leads to a number of shower rooms.
I’ve got tons of stored calories but find it hard to draw energy, as with any health-challenged adult. Kids, on the other had, are dynamos that never seem to run out of energy. Speed kills, as they’d like to say when (Congressman) Manny Pacquiao fights in the ring. Same thing with running after toddlers. Between the beach, the swimming pools and the playground at Anvaya, you’d die from exhaustion and heart attack after a day of running after them. Mini-hanging bridge. Jungle gym. Swing. A host of climbing structures. Ahh, no wonder the Pawikan Grille, with its comfortable chairs floating on white sand under the trees, is just beside the playground — to provide a much-needed respite from the blizzard of energy also called “kids”.
Anvaya Cove, a project of Ayala Land, is not exactly open to the general public. It’s a membership leisure community. Me? Not a member. Just happen to know someone who knows someone who is a member. Maybe someday I’ll become one, but who knows you’ll become a member before me.
I don’t know how much a membership in Anvaya costs, but if I were as rich as some presidential candidates, I’d probably buy a share and, more than that, buy a house and lot in this lush greenery (then again, if I’m as rich as some candidates, I’d probably own this or buy a similar property).
Driving through the mango-lined streets and manicured road shoulders, inhaling the fresh air with a hint of seawater, I looked forward to a secluded comfort. Development is on-going. Some areas, like the beach and pool side, are done and the ongoing construction would probably be the residences. This place is a balance between pure nature and modern luxury/convenience.
Wait. I have to slap myself to end the daydreaming about owning a membership here.
What is real for me, though, is the beach, the jewel of this place. Its white sand, though not exactly like Boracay or Panglao, is one of the better kind of sand I’ve seen in mainland Luzon. Both ends of the cove look like outstretched arms hugging the inner shore, protecting it from the sea. “Not in my house, no you don’t,” it seems to say. The water is clear, perfect for snorkeling, diving, jet ski, kayaking, banana boat and other water sports available here. Save for the occasional jellyfish (harmless, we were told, with a net which cordons off an area), it is a great place to relax and be a beach bum. Perfect place to soak the sun.
Back in the province when I was young, we all looked forward to semestral vacations and summer breaks. We were not really too particular with sunscreen. Vacations in the province meant days spent at the beach, not on the sofa immersed in PSP, Wii or Xbox. And days under the sun, without sunscreen, means sunburn.
It was a bit painful. Classic sunburn, after all, is a first-degree burn. But we loved it. We wore the sunburn as badge of summer. Our bodies felt, ahem, literally hot for days, with cream to ease the discomfort. And as the skin shed from our backs and shoulders, we’d prepare to go back to school. Stories of summer escapades would then begin even before the first homework is given.
That was years ago. Since then sunscreen became the norm in my universe, largely in part because my significant other would insist on it. No more sunburn . . . until I had to accompany our son swimming practically the whole day in Anvaya. I thought it would only be an hour or two. Sunscreen is not needed, I thought. I was wrong.
The sunburn stung for days. It felt good.
Oh, the Anvaya Burger. We had the mini-Adobo Bun when we arrived, sort of saving the best for last. But we forgot about the burger. I’ll remember the burger when we come back.
I will also remember to wear sunscreen. [See map and directions]