Bagac, Bataan is said to be one of the country’s best-kept secrets.
It’s an up-and-coming tourist destination, full of sleepy towns that offer surprisingly lovely beaches and mountain retreats.
Hopefully it can preserve its quaint and natural beauty once jet setters start raiding the place and locals start putting up more commercial resorts.
We stayed at El Paradiso‘s Le Petit Chalet in Bagac, Bataan–a beachfront bed and breakfast (plus lunch and dinner) owned by a Swiss and Filipino couple. It just opened last Holy Week and word of it has traveled among select circles.
The Schmids, the nice couple who own the place, rent out a nice yellow house with lots of bed space (enough for 12 people), a toilet and shower. Outside is a dining area, lawn, bahay kubo called Casita Nikki and fully-equipped kitchen.
It costs P5,500 per night. Cita Schmid, an excellent cook, serves delicious breakfast (P100 per head), lunch (P100 per head) and dinner (P250 per head).
The house was set in the middle of a beach cove, lined with a few genteel properties. Behind the area is vast agricultural land where the B&B gets its rice and a great mountain. That’s why it’s sometimes called montemar, meaning mountain and sea.
It’s nice to take a swim in the late afternoons or take 10 minute walks on gray sand toward both ends of the cove. There are very few people there, save for residents or fishermen, affording some privacy.
Plus, who can beat that view at sunset?
We stayed there for 2 nights and 3 days, gorging on Mrs. Schmid’s savory dishes. Merienda can be arranged at extra cost. You can also bring your own beverages (we brought loads of wine) and snacks (chips and dip). Try to bring fruits if you can, to aid digestion.
Day 1, Lunch: Pusit, Chicken Adobo and Adobong Sitaw
Day 3, Breakfast: Super giant longganisa, scrambled eggs, leftover Paella. For dessert, we had Ms. Carmela’s wasabi-flavored KitKat, which tasted like mint-flavored chocolate. She says there are only 2 prefects in Japan that sell this.
We had such fun having long talks over lunch or dinner, pretending we were landowners bent on acquiring new wineries abroad. We made up this elaborate fantasy of assigning particular reporters to sleep with particular tycoons to facilitate our airline, investment or holding company needs.
We pretended the owners’ horses were ours, which we could set free on a whim. We would dismiss the looming prospect of having to redistribute our land. With a glass of Pinot Gringo in hand, one of the editors would say, “We love the poor. That’s why we want them to increase.”
At night, crossing the dirt paths toward the Schmids’ home, we’d pretend we were NPAs, running from the military. Going back to our headquarters, spying our colleagues eating cheese and crackers, we would whisper conspiratorially, “Mga espiya!”
I guess in Newsbreak, we’ve seen and covered a lot of social inequity and injustice. Maybe our little fantasies are a result of the worst and best of what we know about society.
In a serene and beautiful place called Bagac, contemplating looming deadline on this chapter of our lives, I guess it was easy to run away and pretend and toast to well-kept secrets.