Making Bantayan Island our home has changed us. My idea of the perfect beach was one that was uncluttered, quiet and serene. The problem with my idealistic view was that the reality of everyday life on our beach is far different.
Returning from Cebu yesterday, we learned that a couple that moved in to a bungalow near ours has a special heart for the island children. Each morning beginning shortly after sunrise, the wife of this new couple gathers as many of the local children from the Santa Fe fishing village as she can find.
Crowded around her, she teaches them, laughs with them, plays and frolics all day under the tropical sunshine of Bantayan Island. She is chocolate brown from many such afternoon’s under the sun, herself probably once a small island girl watching foreigners from a distance with wonder.
Her husband appears to be Italian, probably meeting his island princess as most of us have, hunkered down for endless hours behind a laptop. He slumbers slowly from their cottage to the white sand beach, and lays his tanned body onto one of the bright white loungers on the beach. Children who have been taking their lessons from his wife, now come to rub suntan lotion over his body until he falls asleep in the afternoon sun.
When we first returned back to the island from Cebu and learned that this gathering of children right outside our bungalow was taking place everyday, I felt a sense of displeasure and bewilderment. How could they gather this noisy entourage day after day on my, ugh our beach? This will disrupt the serenity, the peace and the quiet. After all they call this resort “Beach Placid”. There will be no serenity with screaming children gathering day after day.
Then the reality of my heart overtook my mind. I actually believed that this beach was mine. Though I came here as a visitor, I was already staking my claim to this beach as my own in less than a month’s time.
Oh the deceitful heart of man. When Jeremiah the Prophet stated that the heart of man is “Deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”, he knew what he was talking about.
Perhaps on one similar morning, he also found himself also trapped in a fit of anger over someone else disrupting his daily pleasure.
No there is no sin in nurturing the precious little lives of these island children. As they laugh and play, scream and shout, this beach exists as much for them as it does for me. I suppose that all of us who come to spend any lengthy time on this island paradise will have to change our hearts and our minds. It is for me to change, not them. I should adapt and accept, they should continue their joy.
Besides, I live here, these tourists are visitors for a few days and then they will be gone. Taking with them the wonderful experience of playful little brown boys and girls with smiles as big and bright as a Bantayan Sky. Forgive me Lord…