14 Jul 2012
Meet Flordeliza Presnillo-Liza to friends—a sign language interpreter who works for TV-5. She is into water sports, organizing events for this field and doing online sales marketing for kayaks and other sports water equipment.
Liza has among her clients and friends physically impaired people, specifically deaf-mutes. These include seven young people: Carol, Weng, Joshua, George, the twins Zhalbee and Jinri, and George.
One fine day Liza agreed to a suggestion that the seven participate in Kayak Explore, an event of the Philippine Kayaking Association held recently in Ternate, Cavite. Except for Weng, all were first-time
During dinner on the eve of the competitions, the deaf-mutes addressed the group, rapidly using their hands to convey their pleasure and excitement at being participants in the event. We, of course, applauded them, but then were told by Liza that we should show our appreciation by clapping the way the handicapped do – by raising, shaking and wringing our hands together.
The seven were—in a way—the stars of Ternate-Maragondon Kayak Explore, the first of its kind this year. (The second leg will be held in Masinloc and Candelaria, Zambales, on Sept. 22-23.)
The starting point of the race was at the budget Ternate Beach Resort, where drinking and smoking are not allowed because one of the co-owners is a Protestant pastor. There is one family room good for seven persons, while a cottage cluster-type of accommodations were being constructed at the time of our visit.
So we slept in the open-air cabanas or in tents, with beddings mercifully supplied. Les toilettes are common.
The resort lies at the mouth of Manila Bay and, weather permitting, you can see Corregidor and its cluster of isles a few nautical miles away. The sand in the resort (and much of Ternate) is brown.
“This is not Boracay, this is not Palawan,” declares Andrea Camara—Didi to friends—
PKA secretary-general. “But we have a natural environment where you can enjoy the simple pleasures—like kayaking, fresh air, the sound of waves. It’s so near Manila yet so different, seemingly so far.”
She adds, “I heard invalids regain their strength when they come to the waters here.”
Viewed from a cruising ship, this part of Cavite is indeed attractive, for it is ringed by sea cliffs and vegetation.
In olden times, Ternate used to be a port of call of the balangays of our forefathers, not to mention the Mardikas, Portuguese seafarers who according to lore brought their dances to the area.
There is also the Ternate-Maragondon Ecopark, one of the largest and cleanest rivers in Cavite.
“We want to help the ecotourism of the town,” Didi concludes. “The provincial authorities want to develop the tourism potential of the town, especially water sports. Our dream is for people to come to Ternate for kayaking, for water sports.”
That dream will hopefully be realized in the future, so that the somnolent fishing town of Ternate will not rely solely on upscale resorts like Puerto Azul (said to be a Korean playground now) and Caylabne Bay Resort (reportedly due for renovation or improvements) for is tourist trade.