“As life goes on, you will join other bands, some through friendship, some through romance, some through neighbors, school, an army. But in each band you join, you will play a distinct part, and it will affect you as much as you affect it.” – The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
There are moments in my life when I wish I could redo the same thing or event over and over again – like listening to Ed Sheeran or Paramore’s version of “Hallelujah” or reading Pinoy Mountaineer’s “A Letter to a Young Mountaineer: Wise words from an old man”. No matter how many times I listen or read it, I still fall in love the same way when it was first introduced to me.
And though I have been trying to deny and do away from it, same goes true with the places I have been to this year. If you have been following this blog, you will notice that I have infinite entries on Sirao Peak, three entries on Leyte, and two entries on Mt. Naupa. As much as I would like to deviate from the mountains and places that I have been to, there’s always something that captivates and allures me to visit the same places again – just like our recent visit to Naga’s perfect cone peak – Mt. Naupa.
Because of the camping activity we had on our previous late night trek to Mount Naupa which I posted on Facebook, a group of friends asked me to help them with their photo session and camping plans on the aforementioned peak. Since I don’t have anything to do on the agreed date, I decided to lend a helping hand and guide them. At the back of my mind, I was also planning to discover the waterfalls that Sir Jude – who guided the group that I have organized on my first hike – mentioned. According to my not so reliable theory, if there’s a river in the area, there should also be a spring; and from that spring, there should also be a place where the water cascades. Ola! Waterfalls! WAHAHAHA.
The group that I’m going with was headed by a fellow otaku, Adele. We met once in a cosplay event back in college and the rest of the interaction was through Facebook. She and her boyfriend, Kris, are the photo enthusiasts behind Orange Photography and have been active outdoor adventurers, as well. With them were some beginners – Yam, Mara, CM, and Javy – who learned the course of outdoor the hardcore way. WAHAHAHA. (Keep reading to find out what happened. *insert evil laugh*)
We met at Barangay Tungkop, Minglanilla and then proceed to the peak by four in the afternoon. The initial plan was to capture the mesmerizing sunset – the way my group did on my first hike to this peak. However, we were more astonished upon seeing dark clouds hovering over the city upon reaching the summit. As somebody who has experienced the wrath of trails and weather on the Valentine’s Climb we had last February, I deemed the weather as nothing but ordinary – something that would just be swayed by the wind and would just be gone by night. We pitched our tent, socialized with fellow campers who arrived earlier than our group, and then prepared food for the night.
I have been perfected this scene over and over in my mind: camping, pitching of tent, cooking food, socializing, and dozing over some bittersweet love songs. However, fate decided to create a better ending for the story. By six in the evening, the surroundings turned pitch black, the strong winds started to trash the tents that we have manually pitched, and the heavy downpour of the rain ruined the supposedly perfect social activity we had in mind.
We stayed in our tent, looked at each other, and silently prayed for the weather to move on with its broken heart, and provide us with what we have expected – socials, milkyway photoshoots, and lovely sunrise view.
But the weather was playful that day. It even gone mad and caused us more trouble. The winds went stronger and the rain provided no signs of giving up. And instead of owning specific places inside the tent, Javy, Mara, CM, Yam, and I gathered in the middle, exchanged assumptions, created dauntless stories of other campers who looked fine inside their tents, and stayed closer to each other for body heat. We looked funny, really. According to a fellow who saw our position, we looked like were playin “hantak”, a gambling game known to be played by by-standers on sidewalks.
But you see, even if our plans were totally ruined, a lot of memorable things happened that night. Because of the harsh weather, we were forced to leave our tents and stay with other campers on the nipa hut built near the camping site. Though stranger to many, people began to talk, share insights, listen to outbursts, and enjoy the company, which would never happen if the weather was way better. It is in these moments that I began to appreciate kind gestures of strangers. Some shared their food (and drinks). Others offered their blanket, sweatshirt and sleeping blanket to those who were obviously shivering because of the unexpected event. While many clamored, especially the new ones, most of those who experienced major hikes comforted and seriously imparted their wisdom to the beginners. But what really created a massive impact on me is the discovery of Naupa Falls. Yes, in the advent of such misfortune, I found the reason behind the hike that day – Naupa Falls.
But don’t get me wrong. Though there’s a real waterfalls located near the Mt. Naupa, what we found was more interesting, more enticing, more invigorating.
The waterfalls that I’m talking about is the one that my troops and I discovered at the basecamp of Mt. Naupa. While the rain continued to pour and we were trapped in our tent, teasing each other, and giving unsolicited commentaries to fellow campers, the rainwater started to get inside the tent – from the apex down to the insides of the tent. It started slow but when the weather continued to whip us with its anger, the downpour came in rushing – creating a waterfall imagery to us who witnessed it. This is the reason why we transferred to the nipa hut and squeezed in with fellow campers who were as stressed but ironically happy as we are.
Literally, the hypothesis that goes, “The higher the altitude, the lower the IQ” seemed fitting for the activity. Nevertheless, this can all be charged to experience.
By morning, the weather was still gloomy. But obviously, way better than the previous night. And people were on their normal state. I came to socialize with common friends and even ventured on a sidetrip with them (Soon on next blog update).
Truly, no one can undo the past nor repeat the same event over and over again. Every hike offers new experiences, new acquaintances, new lessons.
Photo credits: All photos belong to Adele, Mara, and Javy.