A trip to Zambales means several things for me: Food, sea, locals, rest, long walks, swimming, no air-conditioning, tricycle rides, and inspirations for creating works in clay.
During a trip to San Narciso with friends last May, the idea of going back to my roots, has ignited something in me. My interest in being inspired by nature was sparked. What do I do with more than a ton of clay with me? I get my hands all dirty once again.
Coming to Zambales in June is facing the rainy season. I tested some local clay from the town of San Felipe with Manang Ines, who is a relative of mine from the town. I taught her how to make an Indian mango by using the Pinching technique. At Balay Ti Daya where I stayed, there are several mango trees. I picked one piece and brought it over to the workshop area. Manang Ines was very cooperative and she enjoyed Pinching away : )
I plan to create large pieces with clay, but making them during the rainy season is impossible sometimes. Here, I try to stack several pieces to make a tall piece, which will be altered when the clay becomes leather-hard dry.
At almost 4:30PM, I head straight to the beach with my bike. The kids start going out of their homes and they all run to the shoreline. Home for them means living by the beach. They run out and it’s as if they have seen the sea for the very first time. I see all their excitement every afternoon. There’s not one day that I didn’t come to visit the beach. Kids from age two years old, fearless, and carefree, don’t mind getting their clothes all wet. Without plastic toys, electronic gadgets, or cushioned dolls to play with, they get together with their friends after school. This is their playground.
I remember having a good amount of time playing along the same shoreline when I was growing up. Big waves didn’t matter then. The bigger they get, the better. Boredom comes when there are no waves to ride. I met these girls and it feels nice to be called, “Ate”. We laugh together a lot. When I am scared to come in the water when the waves are high, their confidence and strength make me jump right in!What do some of the locals do on the shores of La Paz? Skimboarding. A skim board is like a surf board without fins. It is shorter in size and it used for gliding across the surface of the water. I was surprised to see this kind of water sport in La Paz.
Fishermen fix their fish nets as they wait for the waves to calm down. I remember one fisherman who told me, “Do you really want to witness some adventure here in Zambales? Come to the sea with me and let’s catch fish!” I turned down the offer, but now that I think about it, I will give it a go next time!
Thursdays and Sundays are the market days, where sellers of seafood, vegetables, fruits, hardware tools, plastic containers, flip flops, and clothes, and other useful things for the home are sold. I go to the market day, and see the catch of the day. Bangus, tilapia, tuna, “dilis”, and bonito, are just some of the few and common batches of fish that I see and buy.
I spent my first week in Zambales, observing what can be found here: The black sand, high waves, the mountains, fresh seafood, lives of the locals, fruits, and the fresh air that comes in and out of me. The openness of the sea and the simplicity of life in the province, have opened a lot of doors in me that have been shut down in the past. I am hopeful that what Zambales has done to me, would be used as tools, for giving back what was given to me by the Creator of this beautiful world we all live in.
There is intricacy in simplicity. A simple life can be grand too. The little details that I find here are the very things that I’ve always needed to be inspired with clay. All it took was a four hour trip north from Manila to discover these things. Going back to my roots has to be a part of it. I’ve waited for a long time for this moment. But it’s not too early, and it’s not late either. It’s the right time, I must say. The right time to be inspired, to feel extra happy, to love, to dream some more, and to give back.
This inspires me: Waiting patiently for nature to show its beauty takes some time but it will not make one wait too long to the point of wanting to give up. Others find beauty in things easily. I see it differently.
A storm needed to occur so I can be inspired. It happened. It finally happened here.
To be continued…