Working for over six years in the same institution made me realize one thing: people come and go. As much as you wanted to keep the dear ones, you have to accept the fact that their roles in your life must change so as to open doors for new ones. Of course, the process is difficult, but more than anything else it’s necessary. This is the reason why you have to plant good memories on the people you encounter along the way; just in case you’ll have to part ways, you’ll always a space on each other’s hearts.
After our successful rivertrek to Minglanilla’s majestic waterfalls and camping at Mt. Naupa, my colleagues requested for another hiking activity before the dreadful days come. The initial plan was to camp at Osmena Peak then traverse to Kawasan Falls the day after. However, considering the rainy season, the group then opted for a dayhike to Mt. Manunggal and Mt. Mauyog in Balamban.
If you happen to have joined or read the traumatic hike I’ve organized years back to these two beautiful mountains, you’ll understand why I’m not so fond of Valentine’s Day. I was on my early hiking days back then when the weather didn’t cooperate resulting to a ‘not so good’ outcome. Though I’m still thankful of that experience for it brought the best of friends of mine in the hiking circle, I stopped organizing climbs because of that. I’ve gone contented with joining events or going around solo. But well, there’ll always be exemptions.
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Contrary to my previous hike, the sun was up and happily grilling us that day. As we were tracking down the concrete roads going to the crash site of Pinatubo engine, I couldn’t help but recall how cold and scary the experience was. I couldn’t even recall the trails we have taken because all we saw that day was a view as white as bondpaper. HAHA.
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The only survivor of the 1961 Pinatubo crash was found by Serging, Marcelino Nuya's dog. It was the dog's bark that lifted Nestor Mata from despair, giving him the strength to push himself up from the ground, lean against a tree and cry out, “Tao! Tao!” Today, the area where the bodies were found has become Mt. Manunggal's campsite. Nearby is the house of Nuya's grandchildren who fondly shared this story to us. ☺☺☺ . . #dakilanglaagan #history #dog #travel #mountains #hiking #adventure #doggo #hero #FotografiaUnited #ForumSession
A lot of things have changed since then. The once empty plain area has been developed into an eco-tourism site where visitors can enjoy camping, commercial trekking (via Sunog Trail), and zipbiking. As of this writing, no entrance fee is asked from those who won’t avail their activities; however, upon knowing that we were planning to visit the peak near the campsite, we were forced to get a guide with a P100 per person payment. This eventually led to a disagreement. WTF, two thousand for all of us? Even major hike guides charge Php300 – 750 per day for the whole group and these people… okay… I’ll shut up. So to avoid this overly corrupted case, we decided to just visit Ramon Magsaysay’s monument. No payment for that. But much to our surprise, when we reached the area and interviewed the only family living there, we found out that the guides were not mandatory and the peak was only thirty minutes away from the monument. It was later that we found out that the woman we’re talking to was the daughter of Marcelino Nuya who’s currently fighting for the stewardship of the crash site against the LGU. Obviously, a conflict has been raging among the locals of the area thanks to its growing popularity; however, before worst things come, hopefully the rightful government agency can solve this problem. When we shared our interest of visiting the peak, she immediately called her son to help us find our way. No charges asked. For her, the beverages and snacks we bought from her store was enough.
To clear things, the Mt. Manunggal Peak, isn’t the summit of the mountain. It’s just one of the pointed part of the mountain which is very much visible from the camp site. Reaching the peak though is not that easy for it entails technical assaults and rummaging through sharp stone blades. But more or less, it’s doable.
After lunch we proceeded to Manunggal’s nearby mountain, Mt. Mauyog. Differing to Mt. Manunggal’s pointed rock formation, Mauyog’s peak looks like a brain structure. True to its name, Mauyog which is a local term for “shake”, you’d really feel the pile of rocks shaking and moving upon reaching the summit; thus, extreme precautions should be practiced. However, just as how conflicting our visit to Manunggal was, so as Mauyog. Upon reaching the jump-off site, we were asked to register and pay Php50 per head. When Sir Tony, PENRO officer and Basura Run Founder, inquired who initiated and approved such, the locals began to argue and point fingers to each other. Moreover, they can’t give an official receipt for our payment. Imagine paying a thousand to someone you don’t know plus a guide requirement of Php500 per group of five? Man, that’s holdup in broad daylight. So we stood for our rights and ended up not paying anything. HAHA. While interviewing some locals we found out that unlike Manunggal, very few hikers visit this beautiful mountain, thanks to the imposed entrance and guide fees. There were even instances were hikers went home defeated because they didn’t bring enough money to pay for such.
Indeed, much has changed over the years. Places once deemed too far from civilization have become the tourist spots of today. People whom you’d thought would stay have moved across physical and social geographies. Even the value you once placed on the historical events change. However, no matter what kind of changes happen to us and the things around us, the memories are sure to keep. I don’t know how long will I be staying in my workplace. Maybe, soon enough it’d be my turn to leave or maybe I’ll never have the chance to. Whatever lies ahead, I’m sure I’ll have enough memories to keep me going. Hope same goes to you. *wink*