Lots of water, but no water

BOLINAO, Pangasinan – Just when JC thought she can freshen up before dinner, the tap turned out dry.

“Don’t worry, Madam, there is water. We have water,” mumbled the room attendant as she turned on the room’s air conditioning.

It was one of the three rooms she reserved online as she hoped to stay in the western coastal town of Pangasinan where the past year has become one of the most sought out places for adventure-seeking and sea-loving people.

That has resulted in a boom as resorts mushroomed in the nearly 10-kilometer stretch of white sand beaches that define barangay Patar in the Pangasinan coastal town.

But the sad part is while more resorts have sprouted in the once lazy town, precious water has become a rarity.

JC checked in with her 23-year-old daughter and accompanied by a childhood friend who she sees every 10 years when she comes home for a month-long vacation from California in the United States where she works in the state police.

And her vacation this time was important as she marked her 50th birthday as she asked her childhood friend Jasmine (not her real name) to drop everything so they can be together until their next meeting 10 years from now.

“Bring your family,” she told her friend and so Jasmine did it: her five children, their partners, a grandchild and one of her siblings who was with his son.

Jasmine’s family booked a cottage at one of the resorts nearly a kilometer from where JC had hers booked. JC had been looking forward to meeting her friend’s entire family, who are all good cooks.

“That is all Jasmine’s,” she pointed out to her daughter as they watched Jasmine’s family preparing the food. Jasmine is into catering services and has a bakeshop of her own.

After dinner, the mother and daughter asked to be excused so they could get their rest as they hoped to hit the sand and water early to maximize their time under the “free” warm sun of the Philippines.

“I just love the sun and I need to be darker,” she told her friend, while seated at the back of the five-seater Toyota Innova driven by her friend’s second son.

But getting back to her room was a shocker when she could not get water from the tap. “We needed to shower. We are not expecting that it is hot or cold but at least be able to wash,” Jasmine narrated to her family.

To make matters worse, the air conditioning is not functioning properly. Of the three rooms she booked, only one has proper air conditioning.

“It is really hot in there and management has no electric fan,” quipped Jane, Jasmine’s daughter and mother of her four-year-old granddaughter.

JC decided to leave early the next day after calling her dad who retired in Calasiao, Pangasinan, who she asked to bring them to Thunderbird Resort at Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union early the next day.  She is booked on Sunday there until the 2nd of May when they fly home.

“My daughter can’t take it. She needs to use the bathroom and needs to shower,” JC was quoted by Jasmine as saying.

“Instead of spending two nights in Bolinao and the last two in Thunderbird, she left earlier than she planned,” said Jasmine who decided to stay and follow her friend on Sunday. She wanted to spend more time with her family. In fact, her firstborn had his birthday when they arrived Friday.

“Water is a problem for us here,” said one of the resort’s staff members.

“Nawasa (what they call the local water district) closes it on Fridays and it is on only on Mondays,” she added. The Bolinao Water District supplies water to the nearly 84,000 residents.

During the weekend, resorts depend on their own pump, which releases salt water.

“However, we cannot turn it on full time because it overheats,” she added.

“So you can’t expect to get water from your tap anytime,” she added.

And during that weekend, the ten units the resort have were booked.

And they arrived when JC was already out of the resort.

It is just a pity that a town that could be the province’s tourism capital cannot provide water – at least for bathing – to its thousands of visitors.

Bolinao is about 280 kilometers from Manila and about 80 klicks from the provincial capital of Lingayen.



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