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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

TALISAY-SILAY TREK: The Search for the Hidden Ocean

I Searched for the Hidden Ocean

IT FEELS GREAT TO BE INVOLVED IN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE ONCE IN A WHILE. It tests your capacity to survive in almost all aspects of life – spiritually, physically, and intellectually. Nature trekking reminds you to remember God and His pristine creation, to commune with nature, to be one with nature as you take in the chilly air of the fog, embrace the coolness of the breeze and feel the tiny drops of rain as they slowly and steadily touch your skin.

I have had the honour to be part of the recent nature trekking of BAMC personnel. It was my first time to join a pack of trekkers and I even have no idea of what to expect. Since I was already there, I decided to conquer my fear of the unknown. I have always been a planner but this time, I just went on without any idea. But that did not make me any braver, in fact, that made me doubt myself especially looking at how the other trekkers look so prepared – see the outfit and the backpacks of SHEILA and company. (Thoughts of “I have no gloves, no leggings, no first aid kit, no rain coat and a lot more of nothing” kept hovering).

As we paced, I took pictures and sure, the first thirty minutes of the walk was a struggle but the next thirty minutes was a little less difficult. But as my body adjusted, the track is getting harder. The trek was more of an obstacle race than a nature tripping. I expected a nature walk, a site seeing, a walk in the clouds but I got brisk walks to speed walks to rock and root climbing and almost unending descending. Along the way, even the plants are unfriendly; they scratch me and linger on my pores. Ouch here and ouch there! The alimatok or the leech on the woods abounds and they are the most souvenirs we got; they suck and made many of us bleed no end. The rocks were big and jagged and the track was steep and long while the heights were making us nervous; we even had to balance our steps on bricks of the man-made water way at one point of our journey. (ALAN’S veteran long tie-dyed pants finally retired when it broke open when he slid in one clayish area of the track;; DIANE did too). Though I heard Timmy sang “what a journey it has been and the end is not in sight,” we all chose to rather be turtles than hares; our motto all the way was “slowly but surely.”

Sorry to Robert Frost. In times like these, we rather not heed his advice to take the road less travelled; we have to follow the guide or else, we will be lost. I recalled the Pathfinder’s skill I have had in my elementary year; the signs along the road left by the first trekkers were helpful. It was time to be smart, but was it JACK-JACK who said that the higher the altitude, the lower the IQ? Whew! There are times the track seemed not to be tracks at all because we had to crawl under vines and over big tree trunks and step on muddy and marshy areas. Yucky, I know, but I got no choice. But despite all these distractions, I did not forget to pause, look up to the sky, close my eyes, take a deep breath and feel the fresh air inside my system. Oh, an instant escapade away from smoke belchers and smoke belters!

All dressed for hiking.


My brother with her future wife.

As we were marching onward, we all felt as if there was no end to the climbing and descending and climbing and descending. It was as if the end is nowhere to be found. When we a sked BUTCH who had been there November last year, he would tell us that we are almost there and always, he would always reply that “This is the last difficult part,” or “ This is the last ascending’” “We are nearer, we are almost there,” “we would be there soon!” So figured out that we were indeed near and decided that what we believed in was what matters. Isn’t that belief likewise true in almost all aspects of our lives and not only during hiking? I even believed all along and anticipated much that Tinagong Dagat (Hidden Ocean) is an ocean with reefs, but it turned out that there is no salty ocean, no colourful reefs but a soccer field with green field of grasses. The ocean was indeed hidden. Olala! But in that foggy and rain sprinkling place, I got embrace the space, inhale the oxygen and murmur to myself “Free, body and soul free” with gritting teeth and in improvised raincoat, of course.

We passed by the waters of Dumalabdab waterfalls before reaching Patag, Silay. It was indeed like a landing to the moon and made us all declare that this trek was as “one small step of man, a giant leap for mankind.”

Okay, I should admit it before I end my journal that I loved the hiking and trekking part so that I omitted in my narration the chilly tent under the rain, the uncomfortable sleep, the instant noodles and the “bombing” familiar to all hikers. As they say, they are all part of the experience. And indeed, they were part of mine, including my aching neck, arms, thighs and legs.

Till next time, guys!