How has my summer been?
Unlike most of you who have probably been to a beach or two, I was busy studying. Yes, I had summer classes. I live in a world where summer doesn't equate to mindless fun nor does it equate being overly bored because of nothing to do. Mine was filled with speeches, poems, and lots of black paint. Now that it's over, I have a lot free time. *cheers* It was not an ideal summer. A summer spent beach-hopping or somewhere in Siberia, it definitely wasn't like that. I had fun, though. No, I'm not being sarcastic. To show you I'm really not being the sarcastic monster that I usually am, let me tell you how awesome my summer has been.
For our PI 100 which is a subject about Rizal, we went to Mt. Banahaw to learn more about those people who worship Dr. Jose Rizal. I was hesitant at first. I didn't really want to join because I'm not really into mountains and stuff. I also didn't want to pay 960 pesos for a hiking trip. I wanted to just go home and rest instead of joining the trip. But since I'm used to doing things I don't really want to, and because my friends told me it would be a great 'experience', I joined.
We left Manila early in the morning aboard a bus with chandeliers inside. Weird, but true. There were chandeliers inside the bus! It felt really luxurious added to the fact that there were very few of us inside it. A lot of people from my class didn't join so there was this sea of empty seats between the back and the front of the bus. Moving on, the trip was quite long but we weren't bored. There were lots of food and the movie was good. Our professor brought a copy of A Walk to Remember to keep us entertained. When it was over, one of the two professors aboard the bus started to give a lecture about our destination and that was when slumber time commenced. I felt sorry for the professor talking in front. MY CLASSMATES WERE SLEEPING! There were only two or three of us who fought the urge to sleep. I really felt sorry for him so I really tried to 'pretend' being interested. It didn't last long. The professor noticed that the people in the back were all in dreamland already so he stopped and just sat down. He continued his lecture when we were 15 minutes away from the destination. People were awake then, and they had the enthusiasm of cadavers.
Shortly, the bus stopped and there we were at Mt. Banahaw. I'm not going to narrate everything from this point on. Let's just say that when we got off the bus, we first went to this religious group's headquarters. We stayed there for a while to hear about their religion then we left. We ate lunch somewhere. It was part of the 960 we paid for the trip. We were asked to behave, but I couldn't help demanding for a bigger piece of chicken.
After eating, we had a few minutes to prepare for the highlight of the day---the hiking trip.
So there, we formed a straight line and went into the forest. The silence was deafening. It was like I had earplugs on. I couldn't even hear the rustling of the leaves. All I could hear were my breaths which became faster and faster as we went higher. For the first part of the hike we were on level ground and as it progressed, we found ourselves stepping on mossy rocks. We went higher and higher into the mountain. It was my first time to do that, and I was scared. One wrong step and I'd have fallen off the mountain. Luckily, I lived! I was very pale by the time we reached the resting station. I guess I really have to exercise some more to get used to physical activity. Moving on, we reached what looked like a shed. We sat down for a while as our group collected under it. The mountain guide oriented us about what would happen next.
He told us about what people call the Husgado Cave. They said that it's a way to have yourself judged. If you're a sinner, you'll get out of the cave wounded or you won't get out of it at all. The guide didn't force us to enter the cave, but for the sake of experiencing it and to prove ourselves, all but one of us entered.
Before entering the cave, we were asked to stop by the nearby altar to pray for guidance. I was trembling either because I was scared or because I was tired already. After praying, we went to the mouth of the cave.
We were all asked to remove our shoes. It was hard. My feet were both in pain. I was stepping on all sorts of things like rocks, bugs, and other people's feet. I was fourth in line. And after the first two had gotten inside, I went in.
The entrance to the cave was like a hole on the ground. There was a guide waiting for me there. It was pretty steep so whoever entered the cave had to step on the poor guide's shoulders and sit on him so we don't plunge to the unknown. I sat on the edge of the opening and eased myself downwards into the shoulders of the guide. While I was doing that, I accidentally toppled on the candles on the altar. (Oops) I could have angered the cave gods! HAHA. Moving on, I successfully sat on the guide's shoulders and then he put me down on the floor of the cave. The next obstacle was this small path. Well everything there was like that. It was either you'd get down on all fours and crawl or lie down and crawl like that. (Sorry for the vagueness) But believe me, the cave was very narrow in all aspects. It was dark inside, too. Through it, I just copied what the person in front of me did to get through the obstacles. That was the general rule. People should help each other. The person in front of me gave me instructions which I would pass on to the person behind me. Inside that cave, I found out that I can be a contortionist if I badly needed to be one.
After going through a series of obstacles, I finally found the exit! Unfortunately, the person in front of me was gone already and she didn't tell me how to go through that final obstacle. So there, I worked it out by myself. I leaned my back on the cave and stepped on the adjacent rock to raise myself.
Rejoice! I made it through! I had a small gash on my left knee, though. (I'M A SINNER!) The three people ahead of me were there and they applauded. They were like a welcoming committee. Haha. I sat down, drank water, and rested. We took pictures while waiting for the others. We posed at the exit of the cave to look like we just got out of it.
Soon, people started appearing one by one. The crowd was getting larger and larger until we were all complete. Then we proceeded to the next part of the hike.
After a long walk, we reached the river! Feeling oh-so sticky with sweat, we all jumped in the cool waters. We were having so much fun there. We were like kids in a kiddie pool. I can't count how many times I slipped on the rocks. Good thing only a few people saw me. Mortifying, still.
After some fun in the water, we went up 270 something huge steps to get to the path that would take us out of the mountain. It was even more tiring than the hike that took us to that place! When we reached the top, we rested for the nth time.
We made our way back to the bus and changed our clothes. It was hard changing all of your clothing while inside the bus. I know we were all girls then (we forced the boys to change clothes somewhere else) but I was still not comfortable about it. I had this towel to cover me as I changed out of my wet clothes and into dry ones.
Later on, we were all done and we reunited with the male population who, I later found out, got dressed outdoors (in the grassy areas). HAHA. We visited another religious group. We were asked to sit down as the leader told us stories. I wasn't listening. I was viewing the pictures in my digital camera. Oh yeah, I'm so awesome. HAHA.
After that, we went back to the bus and rode home. The bus ride was crazy. Don't get me started.
That was the closest thing I had to 'summer fun'. I may not have gone to the beach or to Baguio, but I joined that trip. It was really fun. I had a lot of 'firsts' and it was definitely a bonding experience with some of my batch mates. It also taught me to always have faith. You see, I really wasn't being sarcastic or anything. Summer was fun especially when you add those Comm III moments that I'd probably be sharing with you in another blog post. It wasn't the ideal summer that we all have in mind. Screw that 'ideal' summer. What I had is so much better. I'm not bitter or anything. I'm just saying that even the worst things can become the best if you look at it at a different perspective--or when you have awesome friends to make everything much, much better.
p.s. Look for the pictures in my Facebook account. I'm having a hard time uploading them here. My internet connection is failing me. :|