Category Archives: Tale

Pulag Episode

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Hiker moment above the clouds

Hiking up the long but easy trail from the ranger station to one of the peaks of Mount Pulag three hours before sunrise was pleasant, notwithstanding it was still dark. Upon reaching Peak 2, we waited for few minutes just in time for the sun to come out behind the clouds. It was amazing looking down at the clouds while still on land, albeit on top of the mountain.

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Pre-sunrise view

When the sun was already way too high, as indicated by the transition of golden light to white light, it was time to ascent to the summit, still fairly easy. Up there, shadow casts on the summit marker and it was tempting to pee in the middle of the thick dwarf bamboo bushes (but of course I didn’t).

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Sunrise

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Blinding light

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The marker on the summit

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The bushes on the summit

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River Waltz

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Approaching the jetty of our host as we end our river cruise

It was around 10:00 in the evening when we cruised the Pengkalan Datu River. There were no artificial lights seen along the way except from distant houses, from the torch of lone fisherman seen occasionally by the riverbank working on his net or trap, and from the headlights of the boat navigator. The water was so eerily still and quiet except for the sound of some huge fish jumping now and then.

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We cruised that night on a boat just like this one

We were actually cruising deep in the night to see the fireflies. Those insects must be huge for I can see them flicker from distant trees and bushes as we ride along the river. Too bad the moon was very bright that the simultaneous flickering was not that spectacular. On the other hand, the full moon was perfect. It made the night so beautiful while we waltz along the river.

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Pengkalan Datu River at sunset

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Pengkalan Datu River at sunrise

Humblest WWII Monument

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The Writings: This project is dedicated to the patriotic and brave men of Barangay Granada who offered their lives in defense of freedom and democracy during World War II

With respect to the immortalization of our World War II history, the country, being a major participant of the war has quite a number of World War II monuments, memorials, and shrines. As I write this, I’m recalling those I’ve visited.

Corregidor has plenty of reminders of the war including a commanding statue of MacArthur. Seems the entire island is a World War II monument, which makes it the biggest one in the country. Then I saw MacArthur once more in his Leyte landing memorial at Palo beach. And yet again, MacArthur again in a similar landing memorial (Luzon landing this time), plus some other World War II displays at Lingayen Capitol grounds in Pangasinan. Up north in Ifugao, there’s a peaceful looking World War II shrine in Kiangan amidst the surrounding mountains. Kiangan is where Yamashita surrendered. In this shrine, I had one of the most pleasant memorial stroll.

Some memorials evoke solemnity more than the others that I tend to unconsciously reflect from the powerful words and images carved in the stones or walls. The magnificent World War II memorial in Washington DC for one, where the arch that says “Pacific” has the power to produce goose bumps in me.  Likewise in the country, the Libingan ng mga Bayani was originally established as a tribute to Filipinos who fought and died in World War II, while the somber American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig is for the Americans who perished in the war. Similarly, the tranquil Japanese Garden Memorial Park in Caliraya is the burial ground of Yamashita, and a shrine for the Japanese soldiers who also perished. I saw strings of thousand origami cranes being offered in here. One day, I will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan.

Those listed above are quite well known World War II monuments. Yet, around two months ago in Bacolod, while I was running on the highway with sugarcane field in both sides, I came upon a World War II statue by the roadside in Barangay Granada. This barangay monument is dedicated to its constituents who lost their lives in defense of freedom during World War II. By far, this is the most humble World War II memorial I’ve been to.

Not Buying Convenience

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Now you reach the top any direction from here will be down

One reaches this marker on a hill when hiking from Sabang Ferry Terminal towards Coco Beach Island Resort.  I saw no other resort guest using this backdoor arrival. The usual way is via the resort’s private transfer from Manila or short boat ride from either Sabang Ferry Terminal or Puerto Galera Ferry Terminal (after reaching Oriental Mindoro from Batangas Pier).

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Sabang beach is where the Sabang Ferry Terminal is situated

At the Sabang Ferry Terminal, there was this big guy standing beside the table where one pays for fifty pesos environmental fee. He asked my destination, I said Coco Beach, he said you need to ride a boat, I said I’ll walk, he countered it’s impossible, I smiled and replied it’s possible,  then I went my way.  The 2.4 km hike is nothing when one is fit. Other than that, there is always satisfaction in the seeing rather than the notion of just passing through. Convenience takes away discovery, physical activity, spontaneity and fun.

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If you’ll hike, then you’ll see Dalaruan Cove on your left along the way

Tale of the Stranded Vessels

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Woke up to this view of aground boat and barge

On the first night, sleep wasn’t deep for I was still getting used to the thunderous sound of sea a few feet away from my hut in this habagat season. Then at dawn, I heard continuous engine sound but ignored it as I went back to sleep under the kulambo.

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Blame it on the habagat

Around 6 AM, I finally stood up and saw two vessels that ran aground very near the beach. Apparently, due to rough sea they moved off course and the propeller got stuck. Luckily, not on the reef which is just few meters at the leftside when facing the sea.

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Watching the stranded vessels

Some of the crew swam to the shore bringing with them empty five gallon containers to be refilled. Some of them went inside the Tambobo Bay via a small boat. This I’ve observed while lounging in hammock or while hanging out in the restaurant of the resort.

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Sailors have to refill their drinking water

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Shore leave not for recreation but to get provisions

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I wonder where they got the small boat but some men from the aground vessel went in and the small boat navigated towards the Tambobo Bay on the right side of this peninsula

On the second night, I woke around 3 AM and saw the lighted boat swinging sideways due to big waves. I wonder if the men felt sick. By daylight, the vessel was now on the beach. The barge isn’t there anymore. Found out later during the hike to the next cove that the barge drifted towards it.

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At last another boat came to free the vessel. The barge is nowhere to be seen at this side for it drifted to the next cove at the right overnight

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There she is. The barge.

At last within the second day another boat came to rescue the vessel but took them more than 12 hours to tie and successfully tow her on the third day. Looks like a common occurrence for vessels to run aground in the country but those that made it to the news were mostly passenger vessels.

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Towing on the third day and finally free

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