I was never one for daring feats. Adventure for me is loosely defined as doing something I’ve never done before or something that was so much fun and epic brought to me by following an impulse. You can judge how loosely I define it here.
- Fate would have it that my two best friends, T and M, are a tad more adventurous than I am. T has this competitive streak bordering on a Monica Geller compulsion to win. M, on the other hand, is restless and always looking for action and likely to despair if she’d be spending a weekend at home doing nothing. They are both sporty and always ready to take on anything. Enter, myself. In contrast, doing nothing on a weekend, whiling away time sleeping, reading, watching TV or anything involving lying back on cushions, buried in fluffy pillows would be contentment-ville for me. Thank God for truly adventurous friends.
Were I to choose between trekking and sitting by the shore staring into the horizon while the waves lap at my feet, I’d choose the latter. Were I to choose between jumping in the middle of the sea to snorkel and take pictures while on a boat, I’d gladly take pictures. Were I to choose between camping and hotel lodging, I’d choose the one that offers running water, AC and comforter. Last weekend, I seem to have had run out of choices. Peer pressure can do wonders on a lethargic, boring and sedentary person like me.
I went to T’s place in Zambales and boy, was it an amazing place. We went with her college org-mates (the Rhetoricians) and some other friends Saturday morning and Mayie’s blooper in a stop over in Pampanga told us that we’re in for a promising event.
The Stopover: “Painom ah?”
Loiue and the others were busy buying siomai while T and I sat in an empty booth after we went to the rest room to freshen up. The booth wasn’t exactly empty as there were leftover food and a tumbler of soda left. We didn’t mind it at all as the table was relatively clean. Louie, Michael,Yeye, Kate and Portia joined us in that booth a few minutes after so they can enjoy munching on their siomai. I don’t remember where Mayie came from because it was all so fast. “Kanino to? Painom ah“, while she proceeded to drink the soda all in one heartbeat. I don’t remember if it was Louie or Michael who said, ” Hindi samen yan!” and by then, everyone in our booth moved on from shock and in to hysterical laughter. Mayie then returned what was in her mouth back into the cup. We never let her forget that incident until the end of the trip. Maybe we won’t let it forget it for life.
Filipino buses would not be complete without an onboard telly. Our group sat close to each other and we were still not over Mayie’s blooper. The R.E.D DVD was on but the bus attendant decided to play the My Valentine Girls DVD. Tal and I are self-confessed jologs and we don’t cower from fancying chick flicks like that. There were 11 of us in the group and by the time that the first part of the trilogy finished, we were all so affected by the movie that we were so reluctant to leave the bus as we arrived Olongapo. We then rode another bus in Gapo but until the boat ride to Anawangin, someone was still yelling, “Oslek!1″ into the wind, I realized, I’m not the only one who has obsessive tendencies in the wong places.
Dangatag’s: Food, Pinoy Henyo and Sugar
Tal’s family prepared a hearty meal for our group in their pretty house in the NETC Base. Eat Bulaga was on when we arrived and we all realized how the segment, Pinoy Henyo, can raise the blood to boiling and how likely we’ll die of heart attack because the person on TV can’t freaking guess what the word is. Good thing, the contestant was able to hit jack pot. Tal’s family has this white fluffy dog named Sugar and we were all enchanted with it. While Rica, Gio and Rommel were lounging in front of the telly, Mayie, Kate, Michael and I were cooing over Sugar. We recounted college anecdotes here and there (as we all came from the same Uni) and realized that the base looks very much like the UPCO houses in Los Baños.
Anawangin Day 1: Trekking, Night Swimming, Pinoy Henyo, Bonfire and I’ve Never
We took a boat in Pundaquit beach en route to Anawangin. The travel package that we bought includes island hopping to Nagsasa and Capones but the bangkero told us that we can go island hopping the next day as it was too late in to the afternoon to go elsewhere. After the guides set the tents up, Mayie announced that she’d like to go trekking. A prospect that never appealed to me. I don’t know what got into me but when almost everyone wanted to come with her, I said, “Sama ko!” and went with them half thinking, ‘Baka mababa lang naman and sementado’, picturing the mountains in Makiling and the College of Forestry in Los Banos.
I was so wrong.
It was all rocks, wild grass, bamboo and steeper rocks that are clay like. Halfway into it, I was panting so hard, my hands scraped from climbing and full of orange-y grime. But T and Mayie were leading the way and I never heard anything from them except for, the occasional laughs and the word GO. The whiner that I am, my pants were rife with curses and the words “Ayoko na!” were uttered a thousand times all the way up. I kept going though. I had no other choice. I’d be too lonely if I sit in one place and wait for them to descend and I would also be a nuisance for the other trekkers.
I climbed until I reached the top and as we sat on top of the mountain, we were breathless. Breathless because of the effort it took to climb and because of the majestic view of the ocean, the trees and the orange sky surrendering to the sunset.
The trek downwards weren’t any easier as my legs were shaky and the road never seemed to end.
We reached the foot of the friggin’ mountain and it was such an achievement for me to survive it in one piece as I never do those kind of things. We walked back to our camp and it was a long walk too. The sand of Anawangin were fine but for some reason it’s hard to walk on it. Must be because of the lahar.
We changed into swim wear before supper; and night swimming meant that we never stopped laughing over Rica’s Shit Talk and everybody else’s witty side comments.
Have I mentioned that there is no electricity in Anawangin? We were laughing our asses off in the water, under the stars and a moonless sky. There were tiny luminescent creatures in the sea that were so many it was kind of scary. We’re still debating if it were jelly fishes or insects up to now. We even saw a floating lantern! Don’t know where it came from.
When the lure of night swimming waned, Rica, Portia, Mayie and Michael cleaned up while Tal, Yeye, Louie, Kate and I remained in the make shift cottage as we have plans on swimming again if we get tipsy. We have tequila and salt but no lime. We had ice-cold Coke instead to go with it and some salt and vinegar chips. The attendants built a bonfire for us and we sat in front of it ready for a drinking game.
We played I’ve Never and Pinoy Henyo but we didn’t really get drunk as there wasn’t too much alcohol for that. We all wanted to enjoy island hopping the following day sans the hangover. Instead of drinking when we say I’ve never, we threw sand into the air towards the bonfire.
When the last of the fire died, the group said their good nights but Kate, Yeye, Tal and I, remained outside to drink some more and take pictures and just hang out.
Anawangin Day 2: Nagsasa, Capones and The Middle of The Sea
The aches of the previous day’s trek were unfelt as I woke up at 6 in the morning, Sunday. Tal, Louie, Rommel, Michael, were up too. We roused Kate and Yeye for a morning swim and we had some jump shots done on the far side of the camp.
Breakfast was a devour-fest as we don’t know what kind of hunger overtook us.
The boat that will take us to Nagsasa arrived and it was an hour ride away to the next island.
The beach was pristine but that paled in comparison to threading the turgid waters of the swamp. We were alternating role plays of crocodile attacks and murder scenes in thriller flicks. Sun, sand, water, and wide imaginations, we were in paradise.
On the way back to Anawangin, the bangkero said that we could snorkel. Dare-devil that Tal is, she was first to jump into the water. Yeye followed, Micheal, Kate and finally everyone except for Portia (?).
I somehow managed to survive it even if I don’t know whit about swimming. I didn’t bother to wear goggles as I didn’t want to see the gazillion jelly fishes trying to bite me. It was another achievement when the bangkero let me, Kate, Yeye and Tal ride along the sides of the boat when we rode back to Anawangin for lunch.
We had a bit more time to relax after lunch and the last stop was Capones.
The shore was white and full of pretty shells. There were too many shells that it’s a pain to walk on it without slippers. We swam, took pictures, buried Yeye in the sand, made up stories about every other unique shell or rocks that we can find, joked about the possibility if being stranded in the island, went home with our hearts happy and wanting more of this kind of life.
I should probably mention that I didn’t go back to Manila right away and bummed until Wednesday at the Dangatag’s but that’s for another entry.
This Anawangin trip had refreshed me and made me realize that there is so much more ahead of me. If the world doesn’t end in December.
We were so young and free and infinite.
Photos courtesy of Rommel and Louie
1 Oslek is the name of Richard Gutierrez’s character in My Valentine Girls