Sounds filled the van as a group of people sang silly songs on the way to La Playa Beach. While mothers were talking nonstop, daddies were busy entertaining the kids. The silver van screeched to a halt and the passengers jumped out of it. Kids ran to the cottage, helping their mothers carry the stuff. We were staying overnight, and tomorrow would be a trip to Kawasan Falls. After all the unpacking and organizing, we finally dressed into our swimming suits and jumped into the cold water. I stayed near the sand first and daydreamed when a splash of water snapped me back to my senses. Being the oldest of the kids, it was hard not to get mad, so I joined them after taking my vest. Alright I admit it. I don’t know how to swim and I don’t want to learn. Such a shame, isn’t it? Ha-ha. We played in the water and made sand structures until our moms called us for dinnertime thrice. As the oldest one, I told the others to come out, but also promising that we can resume later. But that promise quickly disappears when we snored while eating our food.

I woke up with a start. The cold wind blew my hair as I tried to remember the events yesterday night. There was a hint of sunlight at the edge of the sea. Dressing quickly, I ran out of the cottage and sat on the sand. I closed my eyes and allowed the fresh breeze enter my lungs. It was so serene, so pure, and so beautiful that I forgot the time and silently drift off to sleep. A hand on my shoulder caused me to jerk up. It was my mother, and she was telling me that breakfast was ready. Taking a quick breakfast, I chatted with the other kids as we rushed to the bathroom. It was time to go to Kawasan Falls, and we rode tricycles to get there. As we got to the cottage, there were the rest of my dad’s friends. We begged our parents to take us to the rafts, but knowing how dangerous it is, they allowed us to go to the pools. By the company of adults, we crossed a rocky stream and a wooden bridge and stone stairs and some grasses before reaching the pools. Shrieks of joy suddenly erupted and we jumped into the pool until noontime. We traced our steps back and ended in our cottage at La Playa, eating and talking about our journey. The sun was about to set when we drove off. I was seated near the window as the memories started to appear. I looked at the beach one last time. It was then I knew that no matter where I will be, I will always be proud of my country.

Almost all of us have places we visited on our childhood days. It could be near our home, or far away. It could be a mall full of people, or a province that is so peaceful. But wherever we may be, we must never forget that we are from the Philippines. We are Filipinos, a proud race of brown citizens, and we must stick to our core values; Maka-tao, Maka-bansa, at Makakalikasan.

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