No matter the time of day, the Philippines was stuck in a perpetual state of heat. The sun’s brutal rays of light fell upon everyone, soaking into their skin. Several people had their skin transformed into a toughened quality similar in appearance to worn leather. The severe lack of clouds allowed the harsh rays to reach their targets unimpeded. While a thick layer of warm tropical air caused the temperature to feel even hotter than it truly was. Sweat clung to every available surface of skin in a never drying film, leaving one in a constant state of feeling slimy. However, there were always ways to find reprieves from the blazing heat.
Within the province of Iloco Sur sat a small town named Sinait. The town was accessible only through a single main road that cut through the landmass. Following a series of neglected ashy grey concrete roads, pothole ridden stone pavement, and dust dirt paths that haven’t seen a lick of rain in several months, which run throughout the farmland lead to a surprisingly picturesque beach hidden from all but the locals who knew of its whereabouts.
Instead of a proper road running parallel to the beach, the locals had traversed along the area constantly to the point that the sand had compacted into its own makeshift road. Merely passing by the sandy road would never giveaway the beach’s location due to the thick dark green foliage that masked the hidden coast. Huts of different sizes that were erected out of stray pieces of thick bamboo and straw roofs were scattered along the edges of the beach. Each hut contained at least one pair of benches and a table in between, made out of the same bamboo material. The bamboo old and dried to the marrow, bleached to a soft brown from the sun. Smooth to the touch from its time spent being thrashed by waves of water and sand.
A nearly overwhelming scent of the salty sea permeated the air. The strong rush of waves before crashing onto the heated white granules resounded throughout the area. The white sand was nearly blinding from reflecting the sunlight. It was warm to touch and stepping into the sea of sand would cause one’s feet to sink gingerly into a warm grainy hug. In hand, the sand felt smooth to the touch like grabbing ahold of pebbles smoothed by the rough tumbles of the ocean instead of the harsh chipping of rock that they actually were.
The water looked inviting with a wink and a twinkle, drawing folks in to feel its cool and refreshing nectar against their overheated skin. The water was the lightest shade of sea foam green nearest to the shore with a harsh gradient into a deep jean blue in the distance. The sky seemed to mimic the ocean inversely. A dark shade of blue hung over the immediate area while it transitioned into a pale blue in the distance. It was a constant and natural contrast of colors. The sand displayed an obvious tone change depending on whether it was wet or not. The line of white foamy residue left from the waves stood out against the tan wet sand.
Stepping into the ocean broke the picturesque scene. It became obvious just how imperfect the beach actually was. Small brown particles of decaying plant life and withered seaweed floated along the salty liquid. Patches of dark rock partially exposed through the sand felt sharp against the soft padded feet of the untraveled. The briny ocean stung at the retinas, reddening them. Sharp fragments of fractured shells begun to appear frequently, interwoven into the sand, as the waves strengthened. They pounded at the shore, pulling more of the sand back with it. Suddenly more people become visible. People miles down the shore, strolling along the heated sand: a couple with their naked child, and their young maid. Several locals sat atop long thin boats crudely formed out of bamboo tied together with homemade twine. They grasped a large pole that propelled them forward, as well as a small net for them to catch a nutrient deficient meal for their family.
Standing in front of the hut that was claimed in order to house vibrantly colored towels, a breeze brushes past, a soft puff of air that carries the ocean’s scent. The three calming gradients of sand, sky, and ocean demand attention. It demands, one more glance. A glance of paradise. And a lungful of salt.
I took creative fiction writing last quarter and I never posted my stories but here they are. Our first assignment was to write at least two pages of setting. The beach that this is based off of is in my mom’s hometown in the Philippines. Here’s a picture.