"We've been scammed!" my friend laughingly exclaimed.
This as we trudged up an incline just five minutes into our hike. We had expected an easy trail with gentle slopes; a walk in the park. An officemate who had hiked Lanigid Hill in Brgy. Mulao in Liloan just a week before said it was, in one word, easy. But this...this was not easy. This was a workout.
"This? This is (Difficulty) Level 1? This is not Level 1! Lahi siguro ilang Level 1 sa atong Level 1!"
This coming from a bunch of people who enjoyed hiking...only on flat ground. After taking a wrong turn and ending up on a slippery slope 15 minutes into the hike, we traced our way back to the three–pronged fork in the path and picked another route. After more complaints (all in jest), we finally reached the sun–scorched hilltop (mountaintop!) and forgot all about the giant beads of sweat, inclines, and scratchy plants.
We breathed in the fresh air, the view of the surrounding mountains, the blue sky. We breathed it all in. (Of course we had to, we were all gasping for breath after that 40–minute hike.) And then we settled down under the only tree that could provide shade for all seven of us.
The surrounding mountains
We picnicked. And were thankful for the girl scout who brought along some snacks for the group. (None of us thought to bring food because we had expected it to be a very easy walk.)
We laughed. And were thankful for the entertainer who supplied all the complaints during that hike and continued on complaining as we were taking respite under the tree.
We rested. And were thankful for the leader, well, for leading us to the wrong way then to the right way (we were all first timers to Lanigid Hill, including our leader).
Picnicked, laughed, and rested under the tree. (Photo by A Sanchez)
Picnicked. Laughed. Rested. For an hour and a half and then it was time to go. From where we were sitting under the tree, we could see another path, but we chose to go the same way we came. It took us one backtrack (we got a little lost again) and just 15 minutes to get back down to our starting point. And this was without rolling down the hill.
In hindsight, it wasn't so bad. Maybe there really is an easy trail and we just took a wrong turn somewhere. Or maybe we just really need to exercise. Yes, I think we just need to exercise.
How Mustachio('s pocket) was scammed:
Jeep from Jollibee Mandaue Highway to Liloan and back Php 28
Habalhabal (motorcycle) to Brgy Mulao and back Php 100 (Php 50/person/way)
Registration fee for Lanigid Hill Php 10
Staying home too many weekends in a row is good for my wallet but not good for my sole. The hand holding my wallet couldn't do anything to the body and the feet it was attached to (but it could have dropped the wallet, which my other hand would have picked up anyway). My feet dragged myself and three friends some 135 kilometers away from home to a municipality on the southwest side of Cebu: Ginatilan. My feet weren't crazy enough to walk that far, but it was smart enough to go to South Bus Terminal in Cebu City to step inside a bus bound for Ginatilan (3.5 hours, Php 162).
Why hurry when you can relax
Bahinting Beach House
(032) 478 9035
Php 1500 AC room for 2-4 pax
Why hurry around Ginatilan when you can relax and enjoy the breeze by the sea? It's nice to take things slow and not hurry around like you're in a race. My three companions agreed with me...or maybe they were just trying to humor me. Whatever the case, I am sure we were all glad to have found a place to stay in that was quiet and clean and just a few minutes walk from the town center (where the church, plaza, and market are).
Why wade when you can jump? Because you're a daredevil. The drop of daredevil blood in me has been sucked away by a mosquito, so I say why jump when I can wade. Thankfully half of Inambakan Falls' basin was just neck high and that's where I let myself turn into a prune while my friends and two dogs (the only other creatures stirring that morning) were shivering on the rocks watching the unceasing crash of water.
Why hike for long hours from Inambakan Falls to Mt Hambubuyog with the possibility of getting lost when you can just ride a motorcycle to get there? The long and rollercoaster-ish roundabout ride from Ginatilan through Samboan and back to Ginatilan via a more direct route is an adventure in itself. Because we wanted to reach the Divine Mercy Chapel on Mt Hambubuyog in time to catch the sunset, we took this adventure on wheels. The road was an unending tongue as we drove our way into the maw of nature: rolling greens and blue blue sky, with nature's breath whipping our hair into a big knot. We reached the chapel with crazy hair and a crazy view of the mountains turning from green to gold with Tañon Strait and Negros island on the horizon.
There are songs that remind us of significant moments in life. And then there are songs that draw up vivid pictures of insignificant and uninteresting moments.
Whenever I hear David Guetta's Just One Last Time I am reminded of the time my friends and I docked at a secluded patch of beach in El Nido. As the boatmen were grilling the fish for lunch, this was blaring from a friend's portable speaker, and I was sitting on the sand while my friends were in the water dancing like we were in a club and not the beach.
Adam Levine's Lost Stars brings me back to the time we were speeding along Busan's highway. My two Korean friends had taken the time to show me around their city and sometime during the drive, they had switched their music from Korean songs to English songs. When Lost Stars played they asked if I had seen Begin Again and they were incredulous when I answered in the negative.
The song's message did not relate to me at that time nor to the situation I was in, but it was what was playing at that moment. And whenever I hear those songs playing on the radio, at the mall, in a coffee shop, these vivid pictures of ordinary moments run through my mind and I find myself smiling.