Bonfires and moon reflections at Laolao Bay

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FOR someone who has been on island for the past five years, I can’t help but sometimes feel bored and think that there’s nothing more to do to break my daily routine. I thought I have been there and done that already. But one dreary Sunday evening, a text message from my friend Donna piqued my interest.

She said Matt was suggesting a quick trip down to Laolao Bay where we could have a bonfire, complete with hotdogs and marshmallows. I texted back “yes” as quick as I could but I was scared to drive alone so I proceeded to San Antonio to pick up Junhan who I knew was home already.

Driving to Laolao Bay after sunset was a new experience for me. I had been to the beach so many times in the past, but I still couldn’t get used to hear my car squeak and groan as it maneuvers through the rough and bumpy roads that resembled a dried up river bed. But most of the difficult parts of the road had been paved already.

A small bonfire was already crackling when we got to the beach. It got bigger and bigger as Matt and Junhan fed it with dry twigs and pine needles.

Wasting no time, we took photos and videos of the hungry flames. It was a thrilling experience watching the fire smolder into a pile of embers only to grow big again as more twigs were thrown at it, producing a soothing crackling sound while we heard the waves lap on the shore a few feet away.

Ems and Donna were industrious enough to barbeque hotdogs but without the marshmallows because they forgot to buy them.IMG_3510 - CopySoon, a big round moon emerged from behind the brooding clouds, casting an eerie glow on the water. From afar, the lights from Laolao Bay Golf Resort Hotel gleamed like eyes in the dark. We could also see the shadowy silhouettes of the cliffs and Forbidden Island beyond.

For the next few minutes, we clicked away as we tried to capture the spectacular yet spooky beauty of it all with our cameras. We chased the reflections on the water as the moon played hide and seek behind the clouds.

Shivering in my thin shirt, I knew I could not last longer on the beach and had to go back to the cottage. I knew I didn’t have enough photos of the moon reflections on the water to satisfy me. I also brought the wrong lenses with me — zoom lens that couldn’t capture the entire scene, and an ultra-wide lens that captured more than I wanted to cover.

But now I know where to go and what to do the next time a “next time” comes around. Funny how a simple bonfire could light up a somehow ordinary night on the beach, and funnier to think that except for Matt, it was all our first time to do it.

If you think you have been here forever and have done everything there is to do, think again. You might just be surprised at what more this paradise of an island has to offer.

(First published at the Marianas Variety)

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