Still reeling like a junkie who just smoked a bundle of weed from the previous night's "Bikini Open", I woke up from a dream where I found myself trapped in an island along with the eleven other bikini clad contestants. Only to find later on that "number 3" was really an alien from outer space intent of killing me while I elope with "number 2" and "number 4". To understand what I'm talking about, you can read the background story here. The sun was up early and birds were chirping by the window of the guest room of Barangay Kapitan Bibo Porras' home. I stood up from my bed half wishing my dream was real, I went outside and saw our two guides Inggo and his cousin Wladimir already waiting for us at the porch.
Minutes later, Dazzling Dazzle (her superhero name), Voluptuous Pam (her moulin rouge alias) and Josiah Strong (his GI Joe name) also started to wake up one by one. We were all excited for the hike, even though we won't be pushing on with our original plan of hiking to a waterfalls found in Sibuyan Island, which is said to measure 350 feet high. The hike to that alone, will take 1 and a half day and since we're running on a strict schedule because Pam and I will return to Manila the next day, we settled for a quick day hike to Gomot Falls.
Since the hillside we're passing through is inhabited by indigenous people of Sibuyan Island, we asked permission first at the National Commission on Indigenous People office, located near the town hall of Cajidiocan the day we arrived. Kapitan Bibbo told us that years ago the members of the ethnic group would just live on their own and are more wary of outsiders, today they are now an active part of the whole community participating in livelihood projects and even has their chieftain acting as their representation in the local government. Our guide Inggo also proudly hails from the ethnic group living in the mountainside of Sibuyan Island. After our hike, Dazzle dropped by at the house of the chieftain to have a short chat about our trip while I waited outside. The next day though, while we're having breakfast at the house of the town Mayor, I met the chieftain who went there to have the scholarship papers of a young IP student to be signed by the Mayor.
We started our hike at around 8:30 am, stopping by an eatery to take out some burgers as our packed lunch. The trail was gradually steep with a lengthy level path and the occasional bends and turns offering a clear view of the sea, and if you're lucky as legend has it, If you happen to see the peak of Mount Guiting-Guiting without being covered by thick clouds, then chances are - you will find your true love in Romblon.
I saw the peak of G2 clear as an azure sky. That is if, Inggo wasn't messing up with me when he pointed the peak of Guiting-Guiting. Dazzle also confirmed that it was indeed the peak of G2. So she ended up teasing me about "Number 3" from the previous night's Bikini Open. I still like to keep my choices wide open and not limit my future "the one" only in Romblon, but who knows if the legend about the peak of G2 is true or not. It remains to be seen brothers and sisters.
|Inggo's lola who loves to tell random stories|
An hour into our trek we stopped by the houses of Inggo's mom and aunt. We chatted for half an hour and they were pleasantly happy to have us in their homes. They even insisted for us to have our lunch there but we politely told them we needed to get to the waterfalls the soonest time, as we plan to reach at least two other waterfalls that day. I almost fell asleep at the porch when the cool wind almost patted myself to sleep, humming like a lullaby and all that is missing were the moving shadows of the moon and the stars on the walls. Before we could all have an early siesta, we decided to get going and pick up our pace, (Pam - meanwhile might have missed the "pick up the speed" memo) passing miniature wooden bridges, toppled trees and small streams along the forested trail.
|Lauren of epicpotato.com would say "cutey spider patootey"|
Along the way we encountered an old man. He was crying unabashedly, wiping tears using his torn down shirt. He was asking us if we could help take his wife to the hospital by carrying her down the mountain. Dazzle immediately got worried and offered to help. Inggo, however sensed something is amiss, so he summoned his cousin Wlad to check the old man's house if indeed he was telling the truth. Turns out the chieftain's father, whose facial feature covered with lines of hardened years seems to be older than his age of around 70 plus years, was just having a delirious moment and he was actually remembering his late former wife's sickness which happened years ago.
After realizing back that it is already the year 2012, he settled down and stopped crying and wished us luck on our hike. Another hour or so we passed by another small house, we were cheerfully greeted by Inggo's grandmother who quickly made us feel welcome by telling random stories. Since she was speaking in a Romblomanon Visayan dialect, Pam translated what she's telling to us. She was saying that all her belongings are packed and she's just awaiting her sister to fetch her so they could meet their other sister living in Manila. I felt sadness with her story, as it conveys her longing for her other siblings and the promise of going away and traveling, she feels a necessary anticipation for something that is not going to happen, since its obvious she's just imagining that scenario.
|Tunnel where the Japanese hid during the last days of the war|
Since we're not eager beavers our hike turned to a couple more hours off our intended itinerary. We finally reached Gomot Falls at around 3:00PM just in time for the almost perfect position of the sunlight in photographing the waterfalls. Dazzle took some amazing shots when she flanked the waterfalls to its left in an elevated position and had Inggo jumped into the water and asked him to stare at the falls. Without a tripod I took some less awesome shots and after a while I jumped into the cold waters to cool down my tired and aching body. (currently 86% muscle, 14% body fat).
|the handcuffed captives: Blur Face, Dazzling Dazzle & Josiah Strong|
We spent an hour by the waterfalls before we proceeded to another tiny waterfall. Dazzle and I continued on, while Josiah and Pam headed straight to base camp (Kapitan Bibo's house). Later on during the night we would find out that both of them got lost on the way back. It was an eerie moment since Pam and Josiah met two elderly women along the trail, which in a place where everybody knows each other, its strange because either Inggo and Kapitan Bibo haven't heard of anyone matching their descriptions before. Dazzle and I went ahead on a separate trail and crossed a monkey bridge into a man made tunnel used both by the Americans and Filipino soldiers during the war and by the Japanese on the last days of the war.
It was pitch black and armed with only a flashlight we passed through a long stretch of the foot of the hills passing by river streams and with the wind blistering through my ears, my inner coward self starts to imagine it as whispers from the ghosts. I looked back and saw pure blackness while the sky was covered with a few stars and a moon which is a few days from becoming full, illuminating at us as if, saying "I got your back".
I heave a sigh of relief when we start to see houses that are already reached by electricity, it was like the lights became this symbol of civilization for me. We're finally out of the dark forest and only a drunk old man became the only tiny obstacle that lay our path the reminder of the night.