ROTA — Delightfully situated on a prime spot along the coastal road just before you enter Songsong is one paradise that you should not miss when you’re here — Pinatang Park.It is a huge boulevard with an entrance made of cement but designed to look like natural logs and intricate woodwork.
The gate leads straight to a long arch bridge connecting to a smaller island, a small park complete with a pool and spiraling water slides, picnic tables and benches and other amenities that makes up what perfect picnics areas should be.
I stopped by Pinatang Park one cloudy afternoon a couple of months back, drawn to the sense of peacefully quiet but scenic park overlooking the ocean and bordered by islets that serve as natural fences against the giant waves.I had the whole place to myself and I couldn’t help but conclude that if there is one spot on the beautiful island of Rota that can make you sigh with deep regret, it is this place. Something is missing in this beautiful park —people and sounds of laughter and everything that parks are supposed to be.
The long boulevard stretched endlessly, each slab of cement, posts with missing lights, crumbling or missing balustrades, rusty benches with pieces of steel sticking out, and everything else telling its own sad story.
At the far end of the park, a beautiful cottage/bar or what’s left of it, with round cement stools around it tells its own sad story of glory days gone by, a testimony that this beautiful park has been exposed to fend off for itself against the harsh elements of nature.
A Rota resident said the park requires too much money to maintain and the municipality has no funds for it, hence its present state.
Only the profusion of colorful flowers and the chirping birds refuse to acknowledge the fact that the park is left with no one to maintain it, and that visitors can come and go as they please, at their own risk.
I got scared to cross the bridge and explore the other side of Pinatang Park. I regretted that decision and wouldn’t miss going there if I get another chance to come back to Rota.
Soon, a school bus dropped off some students on the roadside and the silence was broken. One little boy ventured down the stairs to hide from his companions and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of him.
It’s funny but despite the dilapidation and sense of abandonment surrounding the park, I find it appealing and would have stayed longer if not for the huge, fat raindrops that started to pelt on the deserted park. I ran for the car hugging my gear, and with heart still heavy with regret, drove away to Songsong for a late lunch.