Monday, 1 April 2013

(Belated) Happy Easter from Brighton shores!

The UK weather had been extremely unkind at the first quarter of 2013. I burst into tears one morning at work as my tropical-climate-raised self struggled with the cold. Yes, it's called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or winter blues.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on my facebook status that the beach was calling me. No, it was more like shouting at me with forceful demand. I spent the first 12 years of my life living in a coastal town. The beach was a 15-minute drive from the centre of town and a 10-minute walk from my maternal grandparents' old house situated close to the ricefields. 
Photo Credit:
A beach in my hometown of Lobo, Batangas, Philippines

I'm not sure which beach the above is as I read that my hometown has now at least 5 beach resorts. As a young girl, I used to go to one called Gerthel, which I believe is the one on the below photo.

Is this Gerthel beach?

I haven't been home for years, my mother mentioned that Gerthel is not bustling as it used to. Flooding has eroded the banks. Unfortunately, the area's topography is subject to natural shifts. My apologies to the person who took this photo as I don't recall where I got it from, so I'm not able to credit you. I'd certainly would take this down should you request, or you can just pay my mum a visit and she'll give you a week's supply of her to-die-for empanada in exchange for this photo.

The peril of living in a cold climate is you have no choice but to make do with a wintry beach. Coming from a tropical country, it was difficult for me to swallow at first. But over the years I have come to appreciate the beauty of a cold rocky seaside. Both wintry and tropical beaches have a soul-cleansing effect on me but on two different paths.

Top photo: Sligo, Ireland
Bottom photo: Subic, Zambales, Philippines

I've been to this beach in Sligo both in winter and summer and I can honestly say that I felt I belonged to its shores on that one winter day in March when the season was about to end. A wintry beach evokes a calming, reflective and nostalgic sense of how the universe and myself have evolved to that time and place. Peacefulnes descends on you. A wintry beach beckons you to look back.

A tropical beach on the other hand, stirs a cauldron of emotions ranging from being high-spirited to bouncy and festive that prompts you to look at life anew. It gives you an excuse to celebrate. The tropical sun cajoles you to positively look forward.

The same beach in Sligo, Ireland in winter (top) and summer (bottom).

The closest that I can get to sand (and pebbles) and sea is to go on a day trip to Brighton in West Sussex.

Brighton sea shore

The sun was out in all its glory on the drive there so I was wishing it will be bright this Easter Sunday. Without hesitation, the sun hid the moment I got to the shores. It was as if it was telling me that I've had a very good fill all my life, sunshine will be rationed from now on. 

The structural remains of the West Pier which burnt down in 2003.

Photo Credit:
The West Pier in its heyday. I would have loved to see this.

Brighton Pier (or East Pier) from a distance.

Entrance to the Brighton Pier. The only photo I instagram-ed. For now.

The shore as seen from the southern tip of the pier.

The Brighton Eye. It will have to be a sunny day for me to pay 8 quid for a three-turn ride.

I have only been to Brighton three times since I moved here, but every trip is a discovery day. I was saddened to see some favourite shops close down, but ecstatic to stumble into new ones. I walked a longer stretch westwards and became even more intimate with its landscape. Yes the sea was and will always be cold and I won't probably take a dip ever, but Brighton is a seaside resort that I visit to breathe out the excesses of London that wear me down.

This is my beach now. Physically deviates from what I grew up with but does the same job spiritually.

I have more photos to upload next time with stories to boot.

In the meantime, the sun shone again on the way back to London. Looking forward to summer.


Happy Easter everyone! x


  1. I just went and googled batangas beach resorts and there are quite a lot!!! i didn't grow up on a beach but I still get SAD. Must look into Batangas as a future holiday option.

  2. Happy Easter Monday! Our Governor used to be one of our top actresses (google Vilma Santos-Recto). Since coming into power (she's also married to one of the most powerful political families), more beach resorts have sprung up and some celebs moved into our small town. You should really consider neighbouring resorts. Cheap and cheerful, very close to Manila, people are just warm and hospitable, and food is great :) x

  3. She kinda looks like the batangas version of Sarah palin...

    Hope she doesn't have same values? Pretty though

  4. one ever thought of that about her. Haven't heard any complaints so she must be doing good. I'm sure the Rectos are the ones manoeuvreing behind the scene and she's fronting. But apparently she's good.

  5. It is sad that so many countries are ruining their beaches in the hunt for the tourist dollar. The original charm is stripped away and replaced by bland tourist style. Yet somehow all of those places attract goers so I guess they appeal to the masses. You can literally be anywhere in the world because one resort looks just like the next.
    Even place like Los Angeles attracts the beach goers. Few weeks ago we drove to L.A. where we were welcomed by foggy pollution that was hanging above the whole L.A. area. It was very, very nasty to say the least. …Well, that won’t be a problem soon if Kim Jong-un will proceed with his plans.

    1. Hello Anonymous, thank you for your comment :) I've only been to 1 California beach so can't say much about the aesthetics. But I can imagine how the rest has succumbed to touristy appeal. Some beaches in the Philippines have given in as well. Luckily here in the UK, local councils do their best to preserve their local beaches (which aren't a lot) and the surrounding infrastructures.

      Also, we don't suffer as much tourist invasion for the simple fact that our beaches are cold all year round. No tourist in their right mind would sun themselves in UK shores coz there's no sun. And if we do get the sun, it's very little. So it's really more for a leisurely walk and to dine by the beach.

      Thanks again for your comment and I hope to hear from you again. Please see the follow Brighton piece x


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