On The Beach Holidays – An Introduction
On the beach holidays, especially during the feast of Saint John The Baptist, are pretty much spent by beach goers, island vacations buffs and natural attractions seekers wading in the crystal clear water of the best beaches in the world either on a white sand beach, black sand beach or pebble beach considered as favorite island getaways. In the case of the residents of Bucas Grande Island in Socorro, Surigao del Norte, Philippines spending the Saint John the Baptist Day in Puyangi White Sand Beach, located just a walking distance from the town center, has become an annual tradition.
On The Beach Holidays – Spending Saint John Day in Puyangi White Sand Beach
As a backgrounder especially for the non-Christian readers, Saint John the Baptist was the prophet mentioned in the Holy Bible who prepared the faithful for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. John’s main character in the gospels is attributed to his baptism to Jesus Christ at the Jordan River which is now one of the Seven Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Since, he was 6 months older than Jesus, the Catholic Calendar placed the feast of John the Baptist on June 24, six months before Christmas.
June 24 is being celebrated in various ways according to the customs and traditions of the place. Other Christian communities in the Philippines celebrated it with fanfare more so for places who chose Saint John the Baptist as their patron saint, hence, the annual fiesta celebration. But other areas just considered June 24 as another ordinary day of the year.
But in Socorro, the lone town in Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte, Philippines, the feast of Saint John the Baptist, though not their annual fiesta, is one of the important days marked in the calendar of the inhabitants. While it is not declared as a public non-working holiday, but the Socorronhons considered it as such as the entire family has to take time spending on the beach holidays and take a dip to commemorate the Jordan River baptism of Jesus Christ. And, though there are several patches of white sand beaches surrounding the island, the inhabitants chose to converge in the most popular beach in town- the Puyangi White Sand Beach.
On the eve of the June 24, 2011 Saint John the Baptist Day, I went to Puyangi White Sand Beach to scout for a place where I and my family could settle for the next day’s picnic and join the customary on the beach holidays of the Socorro inhabitants. I rode on my motorcycle, went through a foot trail beneath the coconut trees parallel to the 1.2 kilometer stretch white sand beach and reached the place in 5 minutes. As I stepped on the sand, I was enthralled on this tantalizing views . . .
I slogged over the pearly-white sand beach and loved the feel of a mixture of silica and pale quartz grains touching my sole as it actually squeaks a bit when stepped on until I reached the Puyangi Spring . . .
Candidly, I felt nostalgic as I waded through the knee deep crystal clear water while taking photographs of this scenic view of Puyangi White Sand Beach. . .
I couldn’t help but imagine the days during my childhood when I was so fascinated with the bright sand at Puyangi White Sand Beach which makes the sea waters especially beautiful with emerald, light blue and sparkling azure colors. There were times that, while enjoying the swim, I would be told by my elder brother that the proximity of a barrier reef makes the crystal clear water at Puyangi White Sand Beach naturally calm and warm. But the waters cascading from the Puyangi Spring enables the convergence point uniquely cool thereby offering me and the other swimmers the option for an alternate warm and cold bath. I cannot forget the days when, after taking a languorous swim in the warm waters, I occasionally took a quick dip at the refreshingly cool waters of the Puyangi Spring.
After quite sometime, I went home eagerly dreaming for the coming of the on the beach holidays a day after. Then, June 24, 2011 came. I went to the vicinity of the Puyangi Spring again and found some beach revellers already dotting the white sand beach . . .
Including this pair on the way to their rendezvous . . .
As I slogged further, I was delighted by the sight of these children . . .
But nothing beats the sight of this innocent smile . . .
While the sports enthusiasts really found time to blend beach going with sports . . .
I walked further towards the direction of the town center and found a lot of on the beach holidays revellers positioning atop the limestone serving as natural breakwater . . .
Until I reached the cottage where my family and friends were awaiting for me to . . .
We then ventured into a lively chat while occasionally glancing the spot where my 8-year old child Edrian was enjoying the swim.
As the horizon started to dim, we called it our turn for a romantic and languorous couples’ swim which we did until the later part of the night . . .
On The Beach Holidays – Final Thoughts
June 24 is an important event in the life of the Christians. It is celebrated in one way or another in various communities. Others made a mockery of the celebration by throwing murky canal waters at the sight of the passers-by. But in Bucas Grande Island, we chose to celebrate the day of the Feast of Saint John The Baptist in a memorable and enjoyable manner with each and every able-bodied Socorronhon joining the much awaited annual on the beach holidays celebration.