A moment comes to every man’s life to retreat to his self. At times without really knowing the reason just responding to a pure drive to be alone; maybe to re-nourish himself with life-giving energy flowing from the very source of it; or maybe to free himself from the bondage of the death-giving power of the negative energies he has drawn from the world.
This may sound poetic but these are not the reasons I climb alone; none of these craps. No one said YES to the invitation that is why. (LOL). Stubborn at times I have to do it as planned; alone or with a group.
So, I left home at exactly 4:30 in the morning last Sunday packed for Mt. Romelo with high hopes of visiting its well known waterfalls and basins. I planned of trekking Mt. Romelo early since it will be my first time to climb the mountain and has no plan of hiring a guide, I am suppose to expect delays. Unfortunately, I missed the bus going to Enfanta so I decide to take a jeep to Siniloan.(I was informed by one of the passengers going to Siniloan that Raymond Bus Line has a terminal in Legarda. Taking the bus surely will save you from hiring a tricycle to Kilometer 3 that will cost you 80 pesos.)
I arrived at jump off point at exactly 9:30 and has to pay 50 pesos for the registration, so far the highest among the mountains I have been. (I overheard from one of the groups who camped at Buruwisan taking on this issue. Personally, I believe 5 0pesos is too much. And if this kind of negative stories spread among mountaineers it may give Mt. Romelo a negative impression.) And since it was already late, I decided to hire a guide, Homer, to accompany me to the site.
It took us 1 hour and a half going to Buruwisan. I rewarded myself with a cold bottle of Mountain Dew and exchange of stories from the sisters Alexandra, 5 years old and her older sister Gale. I presented myself to them as a researcher for Wish Ko Lang and asked them about that something they would want to wish for to which they answered with multitude of wishes. After 20 minutes of rest, I have to climb down to Buruwisan Falls. The trail was steep and you don’t have the luxury of misplacing your footage. The protruding roots of the trees would serve as your steps and something to hold on to. I reached the basin safe and was awed by the towering falls. Added to the attraction were the members of UMC (sorry I didn’t catch the meaning) who were rappelling down. There were few screams from the ladies and lot of tease from the men. I shared few laughs with them.
|Towering at the foot of Buruwisan Falls is my Goji|
At 12:30, I ascended to Batya-Batya Falls. Alone, I followed the river upstream. There were no trails so I religiously avoided my shoes to get wet. I was proud of the success until i found myself standing in front of a gorge with water, i realize later, whose deep is up to my neck. The stories of leech and the bits of rocks falling made me apprehensive to cross it. But I had to push myself. I held my bag high to avoid getting wet and crossed the river as fast as I could. Batya-Batya Falls is more secluded than its twin falls Buruwisan but I would say, in the strict sense, not at all a falls. I took some pictures and swam for a minute or two and packed back to campsite.
I was congratulated by the guides when they learned I went to Batya-Batya alone. I took the compliment and started asking questions about an accident that happened years ago when seven mountaineers died when a flash flood happened. They answered with much gusto. They made it really clear that mountains are not playground where you can play without following rules or not listening to the guide or caretakers. These were really cool people to be with. Their views were simple but loaded with sense. They offered me buko which I reciprocated with Saba sardines.
We ascended at exactly 2:15 together with the sisters and the horses which carried the baggage of the mountaineers. Alexandra was fast and strong at 5. I dared not to take rest because she seemed not to know how to take it. She walked faster than I did. And we completed the descent in 55 minutes.
I took the shower at the campsite which cost me 20 pesos and made my way home at 3:30 hoping to catch the 4:00 bus trip to Manila. And at 8:36 I was back home.
3 THINGS I LEARNED IN TRAVELLING ALONE
Though hiking with a group proved to be fun, i would recommend that one should take the TRAIL some times in solitary. In my three trips alone, I picked some of life’s important lesson both from the highway and the trail. And they are worth sharing.
- Travelling alone helped me to trust people more.
Being in an unfamiliar place makes me look at the good side of humanity. Pushed to a situation when you really need the other, it erases all prejudices you have about people. And in my experiences in Real,Quezon; Majayjay, Laguna; and Siniloan, Quezon, proved that people in spite of the bad news we hear everyday, stay to be worthy of everyone’s trust. Wearing this attitude, It changes the way we deal with people. I become more bias towards believing that they really are telling the truth than thinking I am played or fooled, and that their geniune cordiality and willingness to extend help or food are really meant than just mere traditions of helping a stranger.
- It helps me trust in what I can do.
Confronting problems and situation alone helps you trust your ability and instinct. Standing on an edge with no one but yourself, no one to motivate nor cheer, will help you draw courage you never experience before. The instinct to survive or surpass an obstacle will kick in but in the end you still have to make the decision to continue or back-off; there are lots of these situations in our lives. Putting myself in this kind of position toughens me, reminds me that I am a being with capacities that needed to be strengthened and internal power that needed to be unleahed and tamed.
- It helps me teach values.
When I joined Freelife last January, It was made clear that direct selling like our business is more of storytelling (TSISMISAN.) People buy the product because the story you tell them will serve as proof that it really works. Storytelling in teaching, though quite unpopular, is also one very affective stategy, especially in Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao, to convince your student that the values you want them to have really help. It will be easier for me to teach my students self-reliance, trust, perseverance, delaying gratification, or appreciation of talent and skills if they will hear my stories. It will help them grasp easily that these kind of values are rarely taught but experienced. If my students will see these account of adventure, I hope that they will also find occassions to concretized those that we discussed, for values should not stay in the mind, they are practiced. I would also encourage teachers to master the art of story telling. You will see how effective this strategy is. And ask ourselves the question "Ano ang kuwento mo?"