I was fearful to come home without a few souvenirs for my family. I had planned to go Wednesday night, but Pastor Juval wanted us to surprise his dad by attending the church he pastors. I asked the pastor if we could shop after our medical mission on Thursday. He said we could because we should be back in CarCar from Cuaming by 2 PM and then they could drive us to Talisay for shopping. Well, it didn't quite work out that way. We left late for Cuaming Island and stayed on Cuaming longer than originally planned. Therefore Pastor Galera decided he would sail for Talisay. He would drop us off and continue south down the coast to CarCar. The van would pick us up on the beach in Talisay.
The sea was very rough and I was afraid that a few of the swells might capsize. The old version of Rescue 911 capsized with the tsunami resulting from the Japanese earthquake entered the Philippine Sea. Juval assured me that although the sea was much rougher than normal, it was not nearly as bad as the day he capsized. I sat at the bow and enjoyed the ocean spray. It was more than a spray. I was more or less baptized by the Philippine Sea. It took a couple of hours to travel west from Cuaming to Talisay. As we approached the coast, John Rayburn said, "Eric, do you see those breakers crashing on the shore?" I turned to Juval and said, "Bro. Juval, please turn around. We don't have to do this!" I could now see we were going to land on a beach that was about 150 yards wide and sandwiched between a rock breakwall and a concrete breakwall. We were going in.
Bro. Juval had them drop anchor at the last possible moment so we could hop off. It was very dangerous because there was a bad undertoe and the bow was bobbing violently. One by one we disembarked, some more gracefully than others. Steve Beevers pulled Mrs. Zenny Galera head first into the sea. She did not look amused : )
They handed us a bowline about 7 of us played tug of war with the raging sea to keep Rescue 911 from veering toward the breakwall. None of the Filipinos on the beach was laughing at us until John started laughing. At that point they all joined the laughter! After we were all safely on shore, Bro. Juval did a masterful job of commanding the ship and navigating safely back out to sea.
As soon as the pumpboat left, I turned to the north and so a sculpture. You guessed it! It was a memorial to the Americans who liberated the Philippines from the Japanese on March 26, 1945. That's correct, they landed on the very beach we landed on. If you will look at the picture, the sea was tranquil on the day the GI's landed. I believe our landing was much more heroic, although I suppose we didn't have to contend with landmines and bullets.
We were quite a sight. Were were all wearing swim trunks, t-shirts, water shoes, and we each carried our backpacks which we had to protect at all cost because our passports were with us at all times. We were sunburned, wet, had the worst of bad hair days, and our legs were covered in black pumice. And now it was time to ride to the fancy mall in Talisay. When we arrived we looked as if we had just been shipwrecked. I wonder why!
As we came to the entrance of the mall, we noticed an attendant working a stack of cubbies for people to check there bags. Apparently backs are not permitted in the mall due to shoplifting. None of us communicated with one another, but we must have all had the same idea. We each entered the mall, single file, with our packs as if we owned the place. Once in we all started in different directions until I was stopped and questioned by a female security guard.
"Sir", she said. "Where are you coming from?"
Still dazed from our long day and heroic landing, I replied "We came from the water."
Puzzled she said, "I don't understand. With such large, full bags, where have you been?"
Still dazed, I responded, "We come from the sea."
Fortunately, Mrs. Zenny intervened before the guard had to resort to calling Immigration!
John later told me, "Eric, when the guard questioned you, I thought of different things to say like, 'We come from the sea.', then I shook my head and thought, 'No that's no good'. But, then you said them. I think the only response worse would have been to look from team member to team member then shout, 'RUN!".
|Rescue 911 (in calmer waters)|
|Talisay Beach Landing|
|Talisay Beach Landing|
|Memorial to U.S. Beach Landing of March 26, 1945|
|U.S. Beach Landing of March 26, 1945|