following my bliss

Mountains are high and hard to climb, but they offer ME a better view

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Hearing the high beat,
my arms outstretched in the tingling
Process of transformation,
and soon tough legs,
With folded feet,
trail in the sounding vacuum
of passage.

:: All about me ::
Name:Mec Sexy
Date of Birth:October 03, 1977
Status:Prodigal Mountaineer
... but I practice LNT ha!

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Winners take time
to relish their work,
knowing that scaling the mountain
is what makes the view from the top
so exhilarating. (D. Waitley)

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Saturday, April 19, 2003
Back from the Mountains

Visited because.... the time was not enough to really conquer both places.... but we were blessed indeed for the glimpse that we had of what beauty lies at the Northern Part of this country.....

Leaving Manila
Thanx to our TL who endured the hours-long wait just to get us tickets, we left for Ilocos Sur at 11:00 PM.... at a bus stop, we were entertained by Jon's obvious stomachache and glad to meet some fellow Mountaineers bound for PULAG

Candon, Ilocos Sur
Jollibee and market time was spent here.

Del Pilar
Taking some 3 hours and a lot of river crossing (and picture taking), we reached the barangay that welcomed us gladly and suggested that we visit the Hotspring of the place before trekking to the summit. We were all shocked to see cemented streets and houses with satellite dishes and equipment for solar energy.... after travelling through rivers and mountains...

The Hot Spring
I got to nap!!!! The others tried to watch local women taking a summer dip in the cold river.. the others took a swim/bath themselves... we ate late lunch here too. It's increasingly becoming less and less of a major climb. Some of us couldn't help but be amazed by the quaint and rustic (and well, for us... unbelievably hard) life the locals were living (case in point, kids walking barefoot for several miles just to go to school)

Jump Off Point
Before doing stretches and travelling for like... another 2 hours, i think, to the jump off point from the hotspring, we met this woman with really beautiful children. Anyway, the trek (which was started at past 4:30 PM) seemed easy enough, a lot like Makiling and Daguldul in that, it's winding.... we passed through several landmarks (like late hero Del Pilar's marker) and a water source before deciding to camp 15 minutes from the summit. Darkness quickly engulfed us during the trek... and the cows who refused to leave us alone well... refused to leave us alone.

The Dinner and Socials
.. was fun!!!! And since I was travelling with a much smaller group, the bonding was more intimate... the jokes more private, the experiences... more deeply shared....

The boo-boos
Dang men left their shorts and shirts outside for the cows to eat. And dang Em left our tinola outside so his rice cooker and my cup had to be licked clean by the cows. And because we couldn't disinfect the casserole dish some other way.... we sprayed it with alcohol. And so, breakfast entailed alcohol-flavored rice for us trainees.

The descent
This, I believe, is what made Tirad Pass a major climb (aside from the fact that more serious, die-hard or strong people actually explore the Pass from Del Pilar to Cervantes... a good many days trek under intense heat). Fellow trainees forgot Banahaw. The intense heat (triple Daguldul at summer) and winding, descending trail was really exhausting... and the dirt road... was such a... sin. Thank God for the water source that relieved us.... and thank goodness for the small tip I learned to keep cool... (literally, wetting my tubaw and head with water). A nice piece of info was finding some local kids collecting hantik eggs on this big basin... i took a picture of them and of course, got some hantik showers on myself....

The lunch at Quirino
Took a bath there. Had lunch. Ate 2 halo-halos (even if I don't really eat the stuff... it was just that HOT) and haggled for a ride to Sagada for hours.

Going to Sagada
If I will look back on this trip for years to come... and be asked what the highlight was for me, i'd have to say it was this experience. As a girl, I would never be allowed to make sabit from a jeep... but going topload was.... very exhilarating... very thrilling... The five girls in our group (me, Zet, Cheann, Anch and Marie) really had fun doing this... and we thank the guys for not treating us as weak, wily females and allowed us to enjoy the ride for some three and a half hours... It was a roller coaster ride indeed... and singing songs of different eras and genres to keep warm (happiness makes one warm... i was reminded of that again) and taking pictures of the wonderful scenery and the breathtaking sunset.... was... worth the risk.

My personal boo-boo
I fell off the jeep while going down. Lolz...

Was... cold... and was fun.. and was mystic... and was promising... and required several days to be properly 'known' to a visitor. Post climb was done after a dinner of macaroni and cheese. The consensus was.... it was so fun to all be first timers on a trip... and assume and know nothing of what lies ahead... and the smaller group afforded us a really deeper chance at friendship... and that, however tiring it was, it was still the best climb and activity that we had as MMS trainees.

Sumaging Cave
Being pasaway, the remaining girls (Marie left for Manila early) did not wear gloves and did not bring headlamps. So, going down the icky, bats-pee-and-poo-stained rocks was well... icky. But the sight which greeted us after every drop at the river, or bend of a rock was really to behold. It was awesome, it was beautiful... it was... humbling. And the mountaineering background sure came in handy as we had to traverse inclines and rocks. Thanks to our guides who did their jobs well... Peter and Ariel.... and who refused to let us continue w/o appreciating the fossils embedded in the rocks of the cave. It was kinda sad, however, how some slobs vandalled the rocks near the opening.... and how some would throw trash (and am ashamed to say this... but some woman left her sanitary napkin there... i mean, duh, everybody knew that they're gonna get wet there, goodness!) inside the cave.

Super late lunch
Well.... it was super late at 4:00 PM right? But the sinigang na bangus and fried galungong was.... a feast!

Echo Valley
We were told that there would be coffins there... and we had to pass by a cemetery to get to the valley.. so when we started at past 5:00 PM, I knew daylight was running short. And so, i was literally running and uncaring of poise while I speedily traversed the trail down to where coffins are hanging. True enough, we got pretty close for some good shots. And we made it back before darkness fell on us again. And it was really creepy but... awe-inspiring to know that fellow Filipinos of a different culture treat death and the other mysteries associated with it... well, differently.

Last Night at Sagada
After much-needed showers and shared vegetable rice.... we all joined other MMS people for drinks and more songs.

Going back to Manila
We were beset with reservations that didn't push through the whole day... and were pretty much travelling from 8:00 Am to 11:00 PM. We were sure exhausted. And well, bruised and poor.

The following day
We missed waking up next to each other.

by ~me~ at 8:21 PM ©

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