after the awesome views of laguna from mt. cristobal, we set off to descend, thinking it was “maliit na bagay”. originally a five-hour scenic tour, we soon found ourselves lost, having to go back and forth and back again. we were running out of water fast and seemed to be stuck in the notorious banana plantation; a maze of fruitless trees and rotting banana carnage.
racing against the setting sun, we made do with our sheer determination to find our water source, believing in the age-old saying that “if there is a will, there is water”. it wasn’t funny then haha.
there were several decision points, one of which to continue downhill towards a certain direction, only to find ourselves in an eerie, dead-end part of the woods with what seems to be several abandoned houses. at this point, the sun had magnificently set and trekking back uphill without water was not an option. realizing that this was our apocalypse, we instantly turned our survival mode settings on.
one group scouted and retrieved coconuts in the dark while my party scavenged for water in one of the nearby houses. alas, we found several covered containers of (clean ?) water. these were desperate times and called for desperate measures. we brought a sample of the water to the group as a viable option and after a few minutes of coconut water-induced conversation, we set off to, oplan tubig.
so imagine you had just trespassed someone’s house in the forest and huddled around these containers of water, in the dark, and contemplating if you will ultimately take the risk of possibly ingesting creatures. imagine you had your cleanest face towel, freshly washed with downy, stuffed in a water bottle to act as a filter when transferring the water from the large containers. now imagine yourself quenched by the cool taste of downy-infused water! yey. it was delicious. (later, i managed to find a packet of iced tea and i think i invented the very first iced downy tea)
it was with our much needed water refill that pushed us to forge on uphill to head to another route. we eventually found our way to a newly-constructed set of large crosses (this freaked me out equally) intended to be as stations, culminating to a large cross on top of a mountain which served as our marker when we were lost earlier on. armed now with mobile pictures of the view from the peak, we gambled as to which direction we would take next, and won. we found the first signs of civilization, as voices from dimly lit dwellings gave us direction to the nearest transportation. this was also kinda freaky but we just wanted to get home. we were advised that it was only 6 kilometers to town which i think was a lie because it was so much more. the last stretch consisted of several kilometers of paved roads, ghostly conversations and pit stops in the middle of an empty road. i remember sitting back and reminiscing about what came to pass. it was a weird sense of contented relief and gratitude; mt cristobal, conquered.
small things. small things.