Camping at Burot Beach : Thank you, Universe, for decent toilets!

Dear Universe,

Summer is here once again!

I’d take sunshine over rain any day but man, the heat is most of the time unbearable.

Being from the Philippines, I am used to dry weather. But this is probably the most humid summer I have ever had. (And I’m already 22 years old!)

I guess, we have global warming to thank –or not thank – for this.

To kick summer off, I found myself packing my ever reliable backpack for a weekend of camping.

I have never done this before but I have always dreamed of sleeping inside a tent under a starry, starry sky.

In my dreams though, the campsite would be a lush forest surrounded by thick greens. Instead, we (three of my friends and me – the usual gang) found ourselves camping by the beaches of Burot in Calatagan, Batangas.

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We set a date, hopped on Chaks – the best car a group of adventurers (by that, I mean us) could ever have – and after missing the highway exit, getting stuck on traffic, and getting lost a couple of times, we found our feet in the warm off-white sands of Burot Beach.

During this camping trip, I was forced to learn a lot.

At Burot beach, there’s no electricity, the phone reception is limited, and since it’s an uncommercialised place, there are no establishments or even sari-sari stores inside the beach area.

It made me to go back to basics and the experience has made me thankful for a lot of things that I usually take for granted.

First off, Universe, I would really like to thank you for decent toilets! Seriously. It’s a great gift to mankind that I have never fully appreciated until this trip.

The most challenging part of camping at Burot beach – aside from setting camp from scratch, my friend stepping on a sea urchin while swimming, and that plant with thorns buried under the sand that we somehow kept on stepping on (we call them deathtraps, urgh!) — was going to the loo!

It was the first time I’ve experienced digging a hole in the sand to go pee. (Yes, Survivor series style!)

There is a public toilet inside the beach area but since we went there during the Holy Week holiday, the beach’s one toilet/one shower room wasn’t a pretty sight. But somehow, there was still a long line of people waiting for their turn to go. We were not a part of those brave souls.

There are also residents near the beach who would let you use their restrooms for a small fee but it was a bit too far from where we set camp.

So… a hole in the ground it was!

Burot beach, we realised, is untamed.  But that’s what makes it beautiful! (Cue: One Direction.)

We were forced to finds ways on how to cook our food.

We were forced to stop staring at our mobile devices and focus on each other and on the sights surrounding us.

We were forced to be a team so that we can find a way to set up a decent campsite.

Unlike other beaches we’ve been to, there are zero entertainment at Burot beach. No videoke, no banana boats, no bars and parties at night.

No distractions. Just pure sand, water, and each other.

It was lovely.

We entertained ourselves by learning the ukulele and playing it (horribly, on my part).

I also took this opportunity to finally learn how to swim! (Hurrah! Suck it, nightmares where I’m drowning!)

And we have also proven it to be true that if you happen to step on a sea urchin, you just have to ask someone (say, your best friend) to pee on it to make it better. You can also pour vinegar on the affected area. In my friend’s case, both remedies were applied. We still laugh about it until now. Good thing it wasn’t the poisonous kind.

The trip wasn’t even close to perfect.

Our rice was undercooked (we ate it anyway), our hotdogs fell on the sandy ground (we grilled it anyway) and were burnt after we grilled it (we ate it anyway).

We were starting to get irritated by having sand show up everywhere – even inside the sealed cooler where we kept our food. And inside our watermelon. And inside the sealed canned tuna that we brought with us (we opened the lid and there were already sand particles inside. But how-)

 

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We also weren’t able to take a shower until we got home and we got lost several times.

But for a few minutes, Universe, as I lay on a blanket outside the tent, my feet buried under cool sand, looking up at the starry, starry night sky, a little tipsy from drinking ice cold vodka (the best I’ve ever had so far), eating grilled Korean-marinated pork (that’s a little burnt too), and just talking to the gang about everything, life sure felt… perfect.

It really did.

And these moments are what I look forward to and what I’m most grateful for.

So thanks, Universe, for an awesome first camping experience.

I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

 

With awe and respect,

-N