Aborted two times.
Twenty-two years after.
Plainly two (2) is a very significant number in a plan which had finally pushed through after being scrapped twice due to conflict with sked and unfavorable circumstance. The realization of this out-of-town idea made us return to Zambales, one of our beloved destinations in the north after 22 years and it became one of the most cherished episodes in our lives.
Thanks to an old family friend and my brother Joseph’s US-based best friend, Vic Huerta, he made it possible for Larry and me to have an exclusive wedding anniversary commemoration and a rare bonding with my siblings.
Vic opened the doors of his “bahay kubo” (nipa hut) to us on December 30-31, 2019.
Quietly nestled in the enigmatic allure of Cawag, Subic, Zambales mountains, Vic’s Kubo (VK) appeared to warmly welcome our convoy. If it were in a deep slumber though, the noise caused by our arrival interrupted VK, which was personally designed by Vic who also took BS Architecture before becoming a US Navy, but now retired. I was informed that with VK’s master plan, Joseph and Ochie, Vic’s younger brother, are his associates in building his dream domain.
I gave the area a quick recon after admiring the design of the house which shows the style of Filipino architecture. The roof is made of cogon grass which I learned grows on the hill just behind the kubo. The attic has sawali walls from bamboo. By the look of it, a lot of developments are on-going in this big property. Well, ‘big’ seems to be an understatement if you get to see the private place in actual.
Did the mountains just inaudibly whisper something to my ears? Was it as delighted as I was for this intimate encounter? I could sense the mutual feeling. There was an instant connection between us. Then, the sweet smell of the mountain hit me like a newly concocted perfume. I smiled blissfully and my heart burst with so much joy. I was standing at a place closest to my heart…the mountains.
After a few minutes, Joseph/Nonoy (Medja to the Huertas) announced our tour of Kurokutok Nature Park and Resort which is the Huerta family-owned business. Vic’s Kubo overlooks this very interesting place which I am going to talk about in a separate article.
The trek down to and from Kuro resumed the excitement that we felt when we headed to VK after a stopover in Subic Base for our breakfast, Subic Market for fish, and Walter Mart for our other trip essentials.
Once we returned to VK, we unloaded our stuff so we could prepare for our lunch. We agreed to prepare easy to cook meals. Nonoy brought pork steak and laing which we would just heat up. I made chicken macaroni salad the night before and my assignment that day was to cook kusidong maya-maya. With the help of my husband in that spacious kitchen which is a separate structure from the main house, preparation became enjoying and fast. To add, cooking utensils and cutlery were also made available in VK. Not to forget was Julius, our dependable assistant-on-the-go who was provided by the Huertas.
It was a hearty lunch. Burrrrrrpppppp!!! The view of the mountain and the therapeutic ambiance of our surrounding had an effect on our appetite. Good thing we did not run short of food. Hahahaha…
Later on, the mandatory post-lunch activity among the oldies beckoned. Believe me, it was a very difficult challenge to win tug-of-war with sleepiness in the afternoon. Nevertheless, I triumphed over taking a siesta. Seeing my sons with their Tatay (Father) and their Tito (Uncle) in the pool, I mustered my courage to make contact with the cooooooold water. Brrrrrrrr…
Fact is, I have a low tolerance to cold. However, the smooth feel of the water which is from a sibol (spring) on my skin plus the absence of chlorine smell in the pool counteracted whatever coldness I was feeling. Proof: A well-pleased smile of a wet mau/cat. Ha-ha!
I was grateful that I joined my boys in the pool which at first glance could be mistaken as an infinity pool.
If I did not, brother Joseph wouldn’t have captured this postcard-like view.
Ah! This is a stress-free life brought forth by the beauty of the mountains…the water…the sky…my loved ones…and…Vic’s Kubo. These are enough reasons to be totally content even just for a day.
But, night time had to be experienced in VK to affirm that this place is an emergent paradise in the mountains despite using only solar electric supply.
Turning this evening in VK more heavenly was reuniting with Paulyn Huerta-Goña, Vic’s youngest sister and my good friend, after more than two decades.
Pau and her family, especially their dearly loved Mother whom I shared a unique friendship too when she was still alive, have been a part of my irreplaceable remembrance of Subic, Zambales.
It was truly a night to remember in Vic’s Kubo as I met again Ochie, who’s now a well-respected councilor in their district; Elaine, Ochie’s amiable wife; and the young members of the Huerta clan.
Updating each other, our enthusiastic and cheerful voices drowned the sounds of the various night creatures. It was truly momentous!
Their visit in the middle of the night made us feel genuinely welcomed but amazed just thinking about the narrow rugged winding rough road they had to traverse (which added to the thrilling excursion by the way) in going to VK. If we didn’t know that it was their territory, I would terribly be worrying for them as they returned to the town proper.
With the departure of our very hospitable visitors, we retired to bed. Sleeping was one of the best parts of our stay here since we went back to basics.
This roomy attic was fairly divided into three sleeping “quarters” for seven occupants by no less than the architect in the family…
…while he found his own comfy spot which was later on occupied by my youngest son.
Readers, this is how our morning looked like in VK. And it was as lovely as the sunrise!
How I wish I would always wake up to a new day this way!
Yet, fun can never be endless.
Delicious breakfast care of Joseph over, we made the most out of Mother Nature’s splendor before swimming recommenced.
Based on Nonoy’s prepared itinerary, we would leave VK around 10:00 am. A good timekeeper on occasions like this, we have to synchronize all our movements with him. The last day of the year, we expected heavy traffic in going to Manila.
So, we all packed and made sure that VK would be spic and span for the next lucky anointed guests.
Cleaning done, we were now ready to make our last hurrah.
What a perfect shot of a once-in-a-lifetime experience this is!
Vic, my sincerest thanks for sharing your blessings to us! You haven’t changed at all since FEU (Far Eastern University) days with Medja and the rest of dr. mhads.
Truth be told, we had no specific plan for our 22nd wedding anniversary, but offering your place to us made this year’s celebration uberspecial.
We will remember this for the rest of our lives.