I was sitting on the beach where I spent the most time during my childhood's summer vacation. It has been a while since I visited Tingko beach. While it became a bit famous for its white sand in recent years, the place changed from what it was before. Gone is the naked shoreline as cottages and resort villas occupied the rocks. The wild grass weeds out to give room for landscape ornaments. I may not be an outgoing person, but I missed the days when I dipped on the beach all day long without having to worry about life. It was all fun, nothing more, nothing less.
These past months I struggled to find balance in my life. I thought I was winning my silent battles, but I overestimated and failed miserably. When everything seems falling into place, I was enthusiastic to try out new things and set another goal. Unfortunately, I ended up burning out, again and again. As if I never learned a lesson or two. It was frustrating being stuck to the same thing, over and over again, without seeing results. Although it didn't come out in thin air, I felt trapped in a vicious cycle of rush and work. I skipped relaxation and play to fit everything into an already overflowing schedule, which caused me more than what I was willing to trade.
I was at my grandparent's home over the Holy Week to unwind. Breathe the fresh air while appreciating the beaches on the horizon. Think through the things I needed to do to restore balance and let time flows without the rush. While going to the beachfront was not on my itinerary, my nieces annoyed me until I ended up going, and I am glad I did. The last time I was at Tingko beach was about five years ago. I visited my grandparent's home a few times a year, but I never side trip to the beach. It is funny to think that the beach is soo near, yet it took me years to go back and enjoy it. Maybe, it has grown out of me, forgetting how enjoyable the place was in my childhood.
Over the years, the beach metamorphosed into a tourist destination and helped the local business to thrive. While how it looks like today seems quite different from what it used to be, it is still the same place I spent my childhood summer. There are fewer wildflowers on the rocky coastline and cottages on the beach. Local fisherman boats are still on the coast, showing that even though the place has changed, people continue to have the old ways. The beach now has villas to stay in overnight or rent a beach bungalow for a day. Everything seems new, and progress is undeniably evident. Above all, the soothing calmness still echoes over the beachfront.
It has been a while since the last time I hiked on the beach barefoot. Despite how much the place has changed over the years, I feel it is still the same, except only the aesthetic of the landscape changed but not the people and feel of the place. The sense of place remains even how much progress occurred to it. The resorts respected the beach and never put structures on the beach itself. The local ordinance may be part of it preserving the heritage of the Tingko beach. With people respecting the beach, the beach never loses the feel and the ambiance that I used to feel during my childhood summer.
I went to one of the villas at Tingko beach. I didn't book a room since I only went sightseeing and had a cup of coffee and delicious pastry. The villa was full of lush green explicit in its landscape. Architecturally, wearing a minimalistic facade. The place resonates with how good the beach is. When we have a sense of place in spaces we have been through, it draws out memories and the feeling of belonging to it. When we appreciate the places we went to, we can't help but return to them, which brought back the emotion the first time we visited them.
Trying to do too much at once burns me out more than whatever the trade-off is. I was burning both ends of my candle without having achieved anything worthwhile. I tried to slowly skip appointments outside of work, like pausing over a planned dinner, meeting with friends, and catching up on sleep. The plan to went on a Holy week trip seemed out of the blue since my mom wanted to visit my grandparent. As the plan to visit my grandparents, strolling on the beach is the same, I was annoyed by my nieces, and if it weren't for their pushiness, I would not go to the beach. I am glad I did, and I needed it to unwind and think about how to sort out my life's messiness.
While I enjoyed the beach and reflected on life, I observed how the Tingko beach changed from what I remember in my childhood. The rocks now have a cottage sitting on top, but only lush wild grass occupies back then. We pass through a rock cliff to reach the actual beach, which houses a resort with villas and cottages to book in and rent out. Experiencing this place once more was something I needed when everything in life seemed to fall apart. The beach and architecture surrounding it tells a good story about change and moving forward. The beach may not have the natural nakedness it used to have, but it still gives off the same vibe and feel to whoever visits it.
Undeniably, putting empathy in design makes what we create meaningful and more connected to the people. The architecture of the space contributes to a sense of place, a place of belonging, and an ambiance where people can feel comfortable and connected. Although many new villas and cottages along the beach line, I appreciate how they did not erect them too close to the beach. The local zoning ordinance may be one of the reasons, but despite rules and policy, it is good to see how resorts respect the beach, its heritage, and the people around it. As my grandparent would word it, everyone owns the beach.
When we experience the sense of place rooted in how we perceive the place we have been through rather than by itself. Having to visit Tingko beach a handful of my childhood summertime, the beach grows in me that going back after in a while rekindles that experience despite how much the place changed. While the beachfront has more villas and cottages than ever before, the Tingko beach gives the same ambiance and experience, but now with more architecture surrounding it. Space becomes a place when we feel connected to it. Architecture with empathy helps bridge that connection, allowing us to experience places similar way as we did visit the first time.
The nostalgic feeling of the sense of place has allowed me to reflect that despite how things change over the years, we owe ourselves to discover and rediscover what can sort out our lives. When the naked shoreline is gone, cottages and resort villas replace it. The wild grass weeds out to give room for landscape ornaments. The new architecture on the shore doesn't change Tingko beach, but it still feels the same, with a more aesthetic landscape complementing the beach. It is similar to life, I guess. While we reach a point where trading off things doesn't bring good things, it is better to reassess whether what we are doing matters in the future. A little empathy for ourselves can help sort out things.
All featured photo is courtesy of the author. Otherwise, it is explicitly cited.