Category Archives: Mindanao
Yesterday, we went to Initao Midway White Beach Resort just to getaway from the bustling city pollution. It was basically Elai’s (good friend of ours and my fraternity brother) idea the other night and all three of us (me, Leia and Porsche or Porsha as I would like to spell it) empathically said yes. I mean why not? City life is just stressful and Iligan’s traffic and pollution on average despite being a super small city is almost like that of Manila. Porsha also invited Red to come along and brought with him his amazing well seasoned slab of pork meat.
So the day started first in the market to buy some ingredients for the food (for grilling!) then in the kitchen for preparation.
Now, the beach… not exactly the same condition as what I last remembered (I went here twice last 2014) but the beach ambiance is what we all need for the day. Here’s my blogpost about my last year’s visit to Midway.
and here I am in case you’re wondering where I was in all this. From Leia’s camera:
So yes, we had a good afternoon and our bellies we’re filled to the skin. We took a very brief dip in the water but be cautious for the sharp rocks though. Porsh got some cuts on both her feet because she was doing front flips in the shallow part of the beach (waist deep). They also have some banana ride pulled by a jetski for 500-1000 Pesos i think good for 15minutes. The cottage we had cost P600 and despite the green net draped around the cottage, it doesn’t really help with the flies pestering your food. At least it wasn’t a horde of flies though but yes, there were flies none the less. All in all, it was worth the 30-35 minute trip from Iligan City. Going back took us a little over an hour though due to heavy traffic from road repairs. Oh well…
That is all… Peace!
Almost two decades ago, I saw Forest Gump and that movie really moved me despite my teenage Nirvana, Pearl Jam years. There was this one particular part in the movie where when he was narrating his letter to Jennifer, the love of his life, he said how he’d wish Jennifer could see all the wonders that he saw while running across America. I always wondered how it felt like seeing natures wonder not in a car or in some package tour groups riding in an air-conditioned pampered tour bus, but on foot with the sun smiling radiantly till your skin gets red. I always imagined that sense of freedom once your feet touches the ground and your eyes locked beyond the horizon for you to explore and satisfy your wanderlusting curious feet. What more when you explore the city or experience the nature with the love of your life; like indulging local favourite cuisines to detesting bat droppings and sharing mud stained water bottles on a mountain summit. Well, I finally or rather we certainly experienced the latter in our Hindang adventure.
So okay, we went to Hindang (just this last Tuesday Sept 22) to explore its locally renowned cave and witness the grand 3-tiered waterfalls of Hindang. I actually heard a story of people getting lost or found dead (maybe due to bat manure infections) in those labyrinth chambers within the Hindang caves during the Yamashita gold fever decades ago. I’m not exactly sure if the stories about the gold is real but getting lost in those caves can pretty much happen I thought. Let me start a short intro about Barangay Hindang…
Barangay Hindang is a large barangay that is way bigger and more mountainous than Pugaan. Going to Hindang from the city proper is not exactly a breeze and if I may suggest, bring a freaking dune buggy, no seriously a 4×4 pickup truck or an SUV with monster tires. If you’re planning to take your family sedan, you may need to check your suspensions, nuts and bolts once you get back to the city. Thank God, Mico was able to bring their old but truly reliable K2700 Panoramic Van. It was way better than taking the “habal-habal” ride that requires some amazing der·ri·ère balancing. From Tibanga to Hindang took us 1 hour, 18 minutes and 3 seconds. I know because I had my GoPro mounted on the windshield recording all the way to Hindang non-stop. If only the road was wide, smooth and cemented all throughout, It will probably take half an hour max to get there.
Here’s the footage of Tibanga to Barangay Hindang trip.
This time there were 17 of us but the 2 (Eli and Tito Bobby, they’re not in the photos below) went earlier on foot from Granex to Hindang. Most of us have not been to Hindang and we were a smorgasborg of greenhorns, newborn trekkers and curious kittens. We’re told by our veteran master trekker Tito Bobby that Hindang is nothing like Pugaan in terms of difficulty and so with that revelation in mind, I was confident I won’t fall flat on my sides this time. They didn’t bring any ropes with them too unlike the Pugaan adventure so that made it feel more reassuring.
After that long bumpy ride of narrow winding roads built for off-road crazies and horror movies, we started another 3 hour trek from Hindang proper to Mt. Pagangon (thanks for the info Tito Bobby!) where the cave is hidden beneath a canopy of floras and tall trees. Supposedly, it was not as torturous as the Pugaan waterfalling trail and as Tito Bobby said, the Hindang trek is more exhausting but not as hard. We started going “no-road” and into the narrow trails that stretches over loose dirt, protruding rocks, water streams, muddy soil and grassy terrain. Later on as we began to ascend a sudden steep slope near the peak, I recollected myself some energy, positive mental projection and inhaling lots of oxygen as much as I can muster just trying to pull a leg up.
After the arduous tongue sticking climb, we finally found a small wooden house with lots of empty dried coconut shells. I think they’re going to convert and sell this as “uling” or Charcoal if I’m not mistaken. We use uling mainly to grill food like barbeques, porkchops, fishes, chicken and so on.
Once we went further on top of Mt. Pagangon, we found a 2nd wooden hut that greeted us with lots of camote or sweet potatoes enough to replenish some spent energy. I think this is the home of our chief guide Manong Nick. The place was cool and not humid which is a good thing or we would be guzzling more water than we’re supposed to.
After our brief snack break, we headed off again for the opposite side of the mountain to finally see the hidden cave.
As we started our short descent at the opposite side where there are more trees and taller ones than on top of the peak, you could actually smell the cave like it has a bad breath. It smells like a mild sulfur compound dumped in a public toilet that reeks with urine odor.
From a distance you won’t notice the mouth of the cave but as you slowly climb down towards the cave opening, you’ll see the stalactites hanging like crooked menacing teeth from a mythical living mountain ready to clamp unsuspecting creatures. There are 3 major zones in a cave: The entrance zone where it receives light, the twilight zone where there is less light and trogloxenes like bats thrive and the dark zone where our imagination may start playing tricks in our head. Bring some handy flashlights and be careful as you enter the mouth of the cave because the moss-covered rocks are slippery. The entrance zone of the cave looks small but once you enter the twilight zone, you will feel the immensity and size of the cavern large enough to swallow a two storey building. Don’t worry too much if ever because the cave won’t bite at all.
Then we went deeper into the inner chambers where you need to crouch or crawl. It’s like an abysmal darkness enveloping your sanity only disrupted by your companions shrill and excitment. It was fun and the noise from your friends is a good sign you’re not lost from the pack. Sometimes I felt like I stepped on something gooey and I’m sure those were probably droppings from Batman’s underlings. There are chambers with large caverns that is amazing to behold, I can imagine a batmobile hidden somewhere.
Word of advice: avoid touching so much of the cave walls if possible unless you’re climbing because it could be glazed with bat manure and urine. In fact, wash your hands with alcohol once your outside the cave to avoid possible infections (especially if you have a wound or a large scratch from climbing) or food contamination. You never know what sort of bacteria thats breeding in these bat wastes. Oh, if you feel like stepping on a mud inside the cave, just keep on walking because that’s not exactly a puddle of mud, chances are that’s bat poop accumulated for decades. If you’re “lucky” you’ll catch bat droppings too on your head, shoulder or your bag. Well, either you like it or not, bat poop will be your best unwanted souvenir from the cave. Bring an umbrella if you like but you’ll look rather silly and it may spell bad luck for the superstitious.
My only comment about the Hindang cave is not about the cave itself but the people who visits and vandalize their name on the cave walls. I guess people are so hungry to be remembered particularly in an era when there was no smartphones for selfies and Facebook to validate their existence for the whole world to see. Even in the advent of social media, grafitti is still a way of etching one’s insignificant “self-recognition” desire for history to take notice, especially in an area where internet has not reached any innocent souls yet.
However, there are other smaller caves that’s probably part of huge network of caves in these mountains. We decided not to explore those other smaller caves because we didn’t have enough time. A friend of mine who visisted those other smaller caves more than a decade ago said the openings are so small they can barely fit one person. My tummy flab might get stuck in those openings so thank God we didn’t push through. Maybe some other time after I shed off 20lbs of fat lard around my waist and another 500kms of trekking experience. From level 1 to level 99.
So there you have it and to be honest, we had so much fun despite being dumped with bat s*** in every few minutes. Those bats do have some “never care” attitude but at least they’re not vampires. I wonder if bat droppings can be converted to fertilizers… wait, yes it can be used as fertilizers! I guess that’s why there where lots of fruit trees with fruits falling everwhere in Hindang. We did eat a lot of sweet fruits later on. I’ll show some photos about it in the next blog.
Next Blog: The treachorous descent of Mt. Pagangon and of course, Hindang Falls! The descent is where the fun begins!
Check out my other fellow trekker posts about our Hindang experience but spoiler ahead.
Tito Bobby’s Mindanews
Okay, I’ve been gone like for almost 9 months now from my blog. So many backlogs I’m not sure how I can post them but I’ll start with Leia’s 25th birthday. Yep, It was Leia’s birthday last month and she wanted to have rainbow-themed milk tea birthday party. Not the grand massive birthday party but just a small and simple party good for close friends of hers. Most of her friends are no longer in town so the venue Cozy Cup Milk Tea Shop with its small yet pretty and well lighted place is just perfect for a milk tea party.
I recently got myself a 2nd hand Canon 60D with a Canon 24-70 mm L-series lens which I used to make a montage video of the event. I’m an aspiring film maker I guess.. haha
Here’s the video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMSuQbU2fxY
You could also check out Leia’s blog post about her birthday here: http://reiyakhu.tumblr.com/post/88816428925/my-rainbow-unicorn-sugar-fantasy-party
Okay, I know the title sounds grammatically incorrect, but yeah, what I meant was it’s good to be back again (i know it should have been “it’s good to blog again!” but whatever).
So I’ve been gone like over 10 weeks since my last blog post and it felt like 10 years had already passed. Seeing my last post (The Pacquiao Bradley fight) felt like looking at ancient history.
The reason for my absence was because I got sick last month (been sick since summer actually, but last month was the worst). I had to do some drastic lifestyle change.
I used to be a night person and I choose to work at hours when everybody’s hugging their beds to never land. Now, I work at daytime (I finally understand why it sucks to be a twilight vampire) and sleep at night like normal human beings do.
I completely stopped drinking energy drinks, reduced my coffee intake, avoided junk food and other salty dishes. Now I’m having oatmeal for breakfast, no late night snacks and grab on anything healthy such as fish, fruits and vegetables.
I actually became a pseudo pescetarian for a couple of weeks. No, its not a religion, but a diet of fruits, vegetables and seafood. I say pseudo because I still eat chicken meat minus the skin.
Well, actually, I got better just before July ended, but I couldn’t find time to blog because I was catching up with work and classes like crazy.
Once in a while, me and my girlfriend still went out to places and restaurants to enjoy and relax, but when I got home, I was too tired or too busy to blog.
Until now, I’m having a hard time juggling between work and school (took up a two year diploma course in digital media arts just this semester).
If you’re wondering what curse struck me, well it’s no curse, but an equally evil whatchacallthis condition….
Yep, my blood pressure was reaching almost 160/100. After 5 months of feeling really heavy like an anvil was tied around my neck, I decided to visit the doctor.
Thank God my blood pressure is now back to normal ( an average of below 120/80) even before taking up my bp med. A month ago, my day would start with a 130+/90 blood pressure reading before taking my med.
For your information, I used to be a health buff for the past four years, but by the first semester of 2011 I stopped cold turkey. No exercises whatsoever at all for 10 months until I decided to hit the gym again last April, but it was too late the hero.
My bp was already hitting 140+/90 and the only way to reverse it was to have a combination of eating right, some medication, exercising regularly, shed off some lbs and get a good doze of sleep but that didn’t happen until the first week of July after a visit to the doctor.
If you’re a health buff, don’t stop being one. If you’re not, you should start being like one because once the sickness bug hit you, life isn’t gonna be easy. It’s not too late to reverse things before it gets critical.
Now I’m living healthy and will do this for the rest of my life.
Oh, and I got a lot of backlogs to take care with, but so what! It’s good to be “blog” again!
Time to hit the bed!