IT WAS when I was lying against the cool white sand, with the sun shining bright overhead and the brilliant horizon of the clear sea, that I realized, nothing could possibly better than this.

But then again, I had to face the facts—that in truth nothing in this is free, and that there is a price for everything. It would take a serious amount of money to be able to just have a glimpse of what life should really be—simple and free.

Because of the summer heat, people all over the metro have been constantly wanting to get out of the hot and busy streets of Manila to enjoy the sands and waves of our native land. Puerto Galera, Boracay, and Palawan are just some of the busiest beaches for the water enthusiasts. For the others who wish to explore other unusual vacation spots, Pagudpud and Panglao Island are the next best option.

Of course, these beaches are considered to be some of the greatest in the world. Their white sands, clear seas, and rich marine wildlife are the attractions to be seen and experienced. But, then again, these vacation spots are not for free. On the contrary, prices are gradually going up, and it can only go higher with every passing weekend. Beach resort accommodations can range from P1,500 to as much as P10,000 a night, and it still depends on when and where you’re planning to stay. If you want to stay over the weekend, the usual prices will double. Otherwise, if there’s an event, it will most likely triple.

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These.prices are, of course, normal during summer time. Not that I’m complaining. This has always been the practice of beach resorts since time immemorial. And they have every right to be, if only for the high profit they will earn. What I do not understand is why they have to take advantage of fellow Filipinos. Why not give special discounts to touring Pinoys who have not yet been able to visit their own country’s pride beaches? Or maybe give more perks and privileges to Filipinos rather than patronize foreign customers? After all, attracting tourists from different parts of the world is not all that hard for our naturally beautiful country. We should be able to enjoy much of what our own natural resources can offer us, and be able to experience its many grandeurs. And we should not be tourists in our own country.

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When you’re not too busy traveling the country and would much rather stay at home for the summer, you might want to try the different cultural festivities happening around the metro.

The Hiyas dance cultural festival has already started last April 21 and will be on every Friday for the next three weeks. It is a celebration of our different ethnic as well as contemporary dances, and is for those who wish to learn more about our rich cultural heritage.

Then there is also the Aliwan festival on April 29 where bazaars, parades, and various kinds of entertainment for all ages await. This celebration is also not to be missed.

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