Time is passing us by full speed. The world is leaving us a mark of changes every day and we’re getting nothing but age.
I may come across this young, but the world I am seeing is a place that is almost not worth living. Maybe.
I see prejudice, injustice, greed, anger and the likes every day. And I am getting worse each passing day. Sometimes I realize we all have this “I’m tired” moment, against its how’s and why’; and what’s not.
Not so long ago, I asked myself to be happy in anyways I can. I’m fine actually. People just gets to be busy pretending to be fine too much that they have forgotten- it is okay not to be okay.
And one day, I thought, sometimes we need to be free and at peace too. Sometimes we need rest and;
Sometimes we need a shelter, somewhere far away.
Last weekend (07/31/2018), coming out from an invite, I decided to Join one of the trips of Sir Yuri Domingo, a friend and almost a life coach for me, - from Lyceum of the Philippines University, who also happened to be the chair person for the community extension programs of the College of International Relations- LPU. We are together with some other LPU alumnus, ( Christian and Angelita) to have some time spent with the indigenous people and share some adventure in Sitio Masla, Quezon Province- the LPU’s adopted community.
With a little knowledge onto what is lurking out there, I assume it would just be a regular community service and a half time vacation.
Heading with a course bound to Sitio Masla, General Nakar, Quezon Province- I came with them in hopes of freedom, service and solitude. I knew I needed some fresh air and a place to review my priorities and life’s plan. I needed to clean my heart, mind and everything else.
The soonest we arrived to take the less paved road of General Nakar on a habal (single motorcycle), I felt the provincial vibe, and the adrenalin taking over my soul. There was an ambush of vast grasslands, hills ridges and the view of mountains that covers the green scenic part of the province. The weather is almost perfect.
My heart pumped twice harder as we arrived in the place.
If I have not been there, I will not believe if someone will tell me that a grand two-story lodge was there waiting to shelter anyone who needs it.
This 5 year old Dumagat Eco-lodge provides a very ethnic atmosphere inside, and is well maintained and well-furnished providing quality accommodation utilities such as kitchen with various kitchenware, clean comfort and wash rooms and basic amenities such as light, electricity, and water for a very comfortable stay.
In the compound we can also see a library a school, a stage and wide space where Dumagat children use to play.
Later on, as we were having a tour on the compound, one by one, the women of the community gathered under the mango tree we were sitting. Unexpectedly, they will held a meeting.
Since we are with Sir Yuri, we joined and listed to their meeting.
I was amazed that a community like this already has this kind of organizations and management capabilities.
Maybe I just thought people in urban places are better, and maybe I was wrong. We were never been better than anyone we most of the time consider under us. Because the more we look up to ourselves, the more we forget to realize that we are just all under one skyline, and we are just equal in the eyes of the heavenly father.
I think some bad decisions really makes out good stories to tell.
I guess ditching some other plans for this trip was a very blessing in disguise for me. Though lacking of sleep, since I came from a night shift schedule, I didn’t even know where my extra energy came from.
After having our diy breakfast and the meeting with the women, we head to Pasibu Pool. The Pool or a part of the river that form a huge basin like body of water, was named after Sir Yuri. Pasibu is a Dumagat word that means “Boil water”, or “to Boil”, while Sir Yuri was loved and known by a lot of Dumagats to boil water and share the warm water with them for some coffee and chats.
Pasibu was only used to tag the pool at first but eventually, the term was used for a large part of the river, now called Pasibu River Park which is being guarded by the Dumagat Tribe in the location.
The park provides scenic view of various mountains around, clear and clean river water that streams directly to the Pacific Ocean, which is just few meters away.
Since the River is wide enough to separate two lands which is being habituated by people, the Masla hanging bridge connects them. And on the bridge you can watch the river flow to the Pacific Ocean, or you can walk a few meters away to see just right on your foot.
The pool also made me know more about Angelita and Christian. Who are so nice and good to be with. We also came there with the joyful presence of Dingdong/Didong and Troylan.
The Dumagat Children
Having to chat and mingle with Dumagat children was one of the highlights of this trip. With an intention to implore Identity and Self-determination, our small group made the children (almost 45 in number) answer some questions about their dreams, importance of education, family and other things that may seemed very rudimental to most of us, but according to Sir Yuri, can be very impactful to their life's perspectives, and introduces a good foundation for their future goal setting.
I made myself clear to Sir Yuri that I don’t like children that much before the trip. But he still insisted that we must bond with the Children. It cringed me at first because, I really have a short temper with children and I thought I need to snatch some sleep for other activities.
But I saw Christian and Angelita’s willingness to attach with the kids, which charge me to do my best to cope up.
My connection to them at first was not that good. I almost run out of patience, but the more I stay and mingle the more I realize I am doing well and I am doing that not just for them, but also for myself.
PJ, the cute boy on most of the photos, is one of the katutubo children. He is already 7 years old yet he is significantly tiny and thin. However, he is very happy all the time we are with them. He also got something in his right eye, but it never makes him less special to me. I even like him more.
The quick activity ended with all of us sharing some bread we bought downtown. And more than the children, I think, I was happier.
Another Special “Sun” day – Pacific Ocean Sun Rise
Sundays are always special for me. And the second day of my stay here is definitely another reason.
I had a nice sleep, so I woke up early all in hope to see the sun rise from the Orient Sea, the Pacific Ocean!
I woke up 5:17am earlier than Sir Yuri’s alarm. I woke him up immediately and rushed outside. I thought I am going to be late for the scene.
But I was just right on time as well as the other. I and Sir Yuri watched on the bridge, while the Christian and Angel was on the View deck.
Since I rushed immediately I forgot to ask where’s the view deck, but since I am the first one to wake up and I was so furious to watch it I didn’t mind running for the bridge, I thought I had a great place. And it was. I had a really great spot.
I can’t explain what I felt on the moment. That was one of the most colorful sunrise I have witnessed. It seemed like sunset in reverse. Plus the sound of the water crashing in the river stone bed complemented the panorama.
It was a really cool way to start everyone’s day.
Few moments after, I went to the kitchen to prepare some ingredients for breakfast. And soon as Angel and Tian arrived, we started to prepare the food.
Before lunch, the Jeepney carrying sands for the floor construction on the community library arrived. Together with the men of the community, Sir Yuri, Tian and I helped carrying the bags of sand to the Library. But Since I was Lazy, I was just able to carry 3 bags, while Tian had 7. I just went to the Kitchen with Angel to prepare lunch and the food we will bring to the falls.
Some few moments after, while waiting for Sir Yuri and Tian, my wanderlust starts to itch my foot. Without anyone noticing me, I walk down the river and head to the ocean. I was so curious on how it feels to be there, watching how the River meet the Ocean. I am also curious of the taste of the water, the density; I want to know if there are fishes, or just what’s on the other side.
Since it was not so far from our place, I arrive immediately. The point where the ocean and the river meets is called “The Sanctuary” by the people.
The ocean was always calming for me and the waves are tapping the rocky shore with the cold breeze coming from the horizon.
If it’s not the warm of the sun I would have stayed longer. I also assumed that we are already heading to the Falls. I rushed back to the lodge.
For the first time in my life, I had a chance to trek a river. It was harder than I thought but more enticing for me than to any regular treks.
We went across some beautiful River pools, where we took some dips and refreshed. The River was really magical. The water was clear as the water coming out from your faucet.
The rocky river part is very slippery so you have to be careful walking. You might have to use our hands as support so that you won’t slip and hurt yourself.
There are some part with spiky and sharp boulders, and there are some fallen trees along the way. You really need a guide to be with, plus because there are some river crossings. You might also not want to get loss, since according to Randy, one of the Dumagat children, there are some wild boars, and sometimes snakes in some part of the wilderness.
We came with 5 Dumagat people. Ma’am Lenie, Sir Jay-r, Troylan, Randy (who use to have his Bolo, for way clearing), and Awlin who was very bouncy and very swift in crossing.
Including the pool dipping, and some breaks, the travel only took us two hours to reach the falls.
The Sapot Falls
If you are a Filipino, you might have pronounced it as ‘Sah-pot’ the way you pronounce spider web in Filipino (Tagalog). But it is not the proper way. It is just ‘Sa-pot’ which is faster and no prolongation between syllables.
Having a height of 320 feet, the Sapot Falls stands to be the Tallest Falls I have ever experienced so far.
The place seemed to be very untouched by human intervention. No trashes, no marks or rude touch of not so good tourists. The place is not even known to the internet which is why I am doing this. Also to help the community for their Eco-Tourism Project.
The water coming from above is gentle enough that you can stand under the falling water. The pool is not deep also. But I heard that since there is an Eco –tourism project happening in the place, they are planning to widen the pool and improve the place to make it more enticing to tourists..
But so far, for me, the place is all good and enough for a restless heart that needs solitude and peace.
We took our lunch beside the falls, and made sure no trash/garbage are left or thrown somewhere.
The falls was very refreshing to look at. Lying down on the water and looking up to see where the top of the falls was just so heartwarming. Standing under the falls was also relaxing, not like other falls, thinking that the water is coming from a hundreds of foot. Maybe because the falls is leaning in a wall, which makes a lot of resistance against the falling, making the soft and gentle to our backs.
We didn’t stay for so long since, Sir Yuri has a flight to catch.
We head back by 1:00pm and arrived to the lodge by 2:40pm. Since I felt bad that I didn’t invite Angel and Tian, when I went to the Sanctuary alone, I invited them to continue the trek going there, while Sir Yuri was preparing his stuffs.
We stayed there for a few moments and dip on the Ocean. We play with the waves, chat and watch Kuya Bennie catch some fish.
There I realized how lucky I am to be in a very majestic place, where Ocean, a river, a wonderful falls, and proud mountain ranges meet each other to heal someone’s broken heart. I knew, I am better than ever.
It was not over.
It was sad to know that we are leaving already. I wish I could stay for more days, or weeks.
The place is just so peaceful and far. I am sure that I’ll comeback.
There are even a lot of activities we can still do, that we missed. I am really looking forward to climb Mt. Lunggoy. Another mystery that internet has yet to know.
For Budget plans and Sample Itinerary please see:
This is a repost from my other account.
Thank you for Reading! I would like to hear from you! Please leave a comment and tell me wwhat you think. :)
I am still working on a short video log from the trip. I'm gonna paste the link below as soon as I finished it. Hoping for your patience.
10:49pmPST - 08/09/2018