Summer Outing 2015 | Baler, Aurora | I Nearly Drowned

Hey guys! Another month has flown-by. I can’t believe April has ended already. It seems like it was just yesterday when March ended. So anyways me, and my cousins are going to the Province for a couple of days to go swimming. I would like to take this chance to try and write my first ‘travel’ article so bear with me here. I’m going to approach this article in a ‘write as I do’ kind of way. Meaning I won’t be writing this all in one go but instead update it every time I have the chance until we get home. It’s a nice way to do it as not to miss out on any details. Plus writing all of this in one go is going to be a tedious process. Anyways so May is dawning now. I mean it’s the last day of April and its 11:30pm right now. We’re heading off to Baler in a bit I’m just waiting for the others. I’m currently seated in the van literally just waiting for the others. Honestly I have a feeling that I might feel out of place in this trip. Seeing as I barely know some of my cousins and they seem so different from me I actually feel intimidated. I mean they’re so big compared to me. Hopefully the mood might ease out a bit later on the trip. My dad and brother couldn’t come due to work and college respectively.


It’s been thirty minutes since we started heading off. All I can tell you guys is that the van is so tight, after thirty minutes of getting squeezed by my two cousins we stopped for a while and redid the sitting arrangements. Seriously I could not feel either my legs or my hands a while ago. It was so tight I was lucky I could still

Pyro and Shiara
Pyro and Shiara

breathe. The van is consisted of 20 people 3 of which are children and 2 dogs, Pyro and Shiara, add that to a hefty amount of bags. Imagine a steamroller going over you. That’s what it seemed to feel like. Anyways it seems like we won’t be reaching our destination for another 8 hours. Hopefully I can use this time to get some sleep.


It’s around 12:30 and we stopped at a nearby gas station. As far as I heard there are going to be more people coming, at least 2 more vans apart from us. The others went out but I decided to stay inside and chill since the van’s equipped with internet. I took this time to take a couple of photos. It’s been half an hour already. We’re still in the gas station though. I took this time to enhance the photos I took. Midnight photography with a phone without flash isn’t the easiest thing. Hopefully I’m able to get nice images for you guys to see. I want you guys to feel like you’re along with me on this trip through this article. I forgot to bring a USB chord though so the Bluetooth is really draining my laptop’s battery. Hopefully we can get going so that I could charge my stuff.


We stopped over at a nearby bakery to go grab some bread. We’re not yet there though. Far from being there, in fact it’s at least 16km away so yeah. Something happened half an hour ago and it wasn’t a pretty sight I’ll tell you that. I didn’t really eat anything in the last twelve hours before the ride beside a little snack at one point. I ate a candy during the ride and I accidentally activated my metabolism and filled my stomach with acid without anything for it to burn down. Add that to the constant shaking of the van through the rough terrain and that made me puke. Luckily I anticipated it and all the puke went into a plastic bag. The only thing I’m going to tell you guys is that if you’re going for really long trips in a vehicle don’t forget to eat before you go. The fact that my stomach was completely empty and with the acid bouncing in there isn’t the best feeling. The pandesal here in the province is definitely better compared to the ones we have in the city. It’s probably due to more fresh and organic ingredients seeing as it’s in the middle of the province. After grabbing a bite our driver backtracked since the road leading to our destination was in a different route. Someone jokingly said “All right everyone, we’re going home now, we got our food so we’re going home” as we were backtracking. The children fell for it though. The only thing I really want to do right now is to get some shut eye. I barely had any sleep yesterday since my grandmother only told me about the trip in short notice. I just can’t sleep though. Every time in the verge of falling asleep something manages to wake me up.


Its quarter to five and we stopped by another gas station to grab some coffee. Since staying awake was the least of my priorities I opt to grab some instant noodles instead. Something’s telling me though that it might not be the best idea. I have a feeling that the heat of the soup might come back and haunt me later. Well, we’ll just see about it.

Sunrise
Sunrise at the gas station

At around 9 in the morning we reached our cousin’s place. We stopped by for some snacks on our way some bananas and suman. I was amazed by the bananas they had here. I was amazed to find big seeds inside the banana ‘The Monkey’s Banana’ as they called it here. It was nice to get out of the van and get some fresh air.2015-05-01 08.52.32 After my nausea cleared we helped ourselves with some fresh coconuts. It was my first time opening coconuts with a machete so I was a bit overwhelmed. I was a bit paranoid I might cut my finger off. I was amazed by my cousins as well as my grandmother who could open in 1 or 2 cuts. The farm animals here like the coconuts too. If you’re planning to eat a coconut keep a close eye on it, otherwise the chickens might eat it.

A farm dog asking for some coconut
A farm dog asking for some coconut
The flesh of an empty coconut
The flesh of an empty coconut
Opening coconuts
Opening coconuts

I decided to look around and I have too 2015-05-02 05.34.35say it’s a really nice place. There’s a wide open field, a lot of coconut trees to the right and a pineapple plantation to the left. There’s a nice hammock as well. Here’s where we’re staying.

Hammock

We had breakfast after. I wasn’t that much in the mood to eat. We had chicken and some shell type thing. I don’t really know what it’s called. You know the shell’s with something living inside of it? That’s it, it’s not a snail. It’s more of an aquatic type you see near the shores of a beach. It was weird eating it. You had to suck inside the shell to get the meat out of it. It was slimy and exotic but it did taste good. We ate with our hands as part of our culture. I was a bit hesitant washing my hands seeing as the water comes directly from the falls. My cousins assured me that the water there is so clean you can actually drink directly from it, which my cousin did. The water was fresh It didn’t undergo any chemical treatment and just flowed through a bit of filters. Like the coconuts here their water is free. No water bills and free coconuts, I’m liking this place already.

At around 10 my cousins gathered around as my uncles started to slaughter a pig. This is the first time I saw someone actually kill an animal. It was a bit gruesome at first. They wrestled the pig into a small area where the pig couldn’t escape. They used a large branch and hit the pig in the neck. I tried to retaliate and jump over the fence but it couldn’t. With another hit the pig was down on its back and they slit it’s neck draining the blood on a small pan. After all the blood was drained they placed the pig on a platform made of bamboo. I wasn’t able to take any pictures of it since I was charging the phone at the moment. It took a while, skinning the pig. I don’t want to go to much into detail as I feel like writing how a pig is slaughtered on a casual blog isn’t the best thing to do.


It’s 11am and we’re starting to get our stuff organized. We’re heading off to the ‘Ditumabo Mother Falls’ which is not to far from here. We are going to swim in three different places, the beach, the falls and the river. The water here is so clean compared to the ones back in Pasig, it’s so clear that you can actually see the bottom of it. I’m going to be leaving my laptop in our room so I’ll you guys In a bit.


I’m back and it’s 12am here. I’m writing in the lounge with my cousin Tinn right next to me. Man was it a long day. I nearly drowned back at the falls and we also nearly got lost. Let me tell you guys about it.

So we got to the base of the mountain at around 12:30pm. The top of the mountain is our destination. It’s a 3-4km walk from here. It’s not that bad though I’ve been to farther places on foot before. Getting to the top was fairly easy for me. 2015-05-01 12.42.07The road did get more and more treacherous the higher we went. I was leading the group, well not really “leading” it. I was way ahead of the others I actually I got worried a bit. Crossing rivers was fun, the water felt good on the feet. There’s a bridge but I’d rather step into the waters. Keeping the phone away from the water was my utmost priority, well besides getting to the top that is. The stones were slippery but I managed. I have a good grip and balance so there’s not that much to worry about. The bridge feels unstable but it’s actually really sturdy. I watched as others crossed over. The way to the mountaintop was beautiful. Vegetation and flowers are abundant. There are some checkpoints on the way up. I decided to keep going forward only stopping once to wait for the others.

After what felt like a thirty minute walk I came 2015-05-01 13.11.44up to this sign. I knew then that it wouldn’t be more that 15 minutes left until I reached the top. I looked at my back and there were no sign of the others. I continued my journey up the mountain. It wasn’t long until I reached the top. I looked back and there still weren’t any sign of the others. So I went back. After a little backtracking I saw the others and went back up with them. When we finally reached the waterfalls together we fixed our things and got ready to swim.

Group Photo

I was at the farthest edge of the lake and the water didn’t seem to deep seeing the people in the middle. I took my time just in case, step after step. To my surprise it suddenly went deep. I was plunged into the water. My mind completely blanked out. Everything I knew about swimming vanished without a trace. I panicked, Instead of thinking to swim I called for help. It was 7 feet I fell to the bottom unable to get myself up since I was panicking once or twice I propelled myself up but it was useless. I tried calling for help. The only thing on my mind was it’s going to be okay. There were a lot of people there so it’s going to be okay. Somebody is bound to notice right? I believed in science and knew I wasn’t going to drown even if I drowned there right? The next thing I new was that someone grabbed hold of my shirt and pulled me up and led me back ashore. I wasn’t able to see who saved me. I wasn’t able to thank him, he just went back swimming. I didn’t really catch his face. After that ordeal I don’t know what happened. I felt traumatized and didn’t want to go swim. I knew I had to face my fears or I wouldn’t have fun. I went to where I plunged and jumped in again. This time I wasn’t afraid, I didn’t panic. I just swam. I was happy knowing I’m not afraid anymore.

At around 4pm we decided to head back. The way back was easier and faster in my perspective compared to the journey up. The journey down though was more eventful than heading up the mountain. I was ahead again, but this time I was with my cousin Christine. Tinn and I was in a deep conversation, we were having so much fun we didn’t realize we took the wrong route. I looked around and asked her “We didn’t go this way before right? I mean there wasn’t a paved road a while ago.” We realized then that this wasn’t the right way to go. Still for some reason we just laughed at the fact we got lost. I mean who does that? Well us I guess. We decided to backtrack and remembered that before we went up the mountain a guy told us to be careful on our way down. He told us that there were two paths down and the other one was a paved road which will lead you astray. Luckily we got back, still laughing about it. Now our journey back to our cousins place was all about me nearly drowning and us nearly getting lost.

We were supposed to go swimming in the beach next until early morning, but a guy from the falls warned us not to as it was too dangerous for us who weren’t from those areas. We decided to head his warning and changed our plans.

After we got back at around 5 I opened myself a coconut and went up to the house. I was so tired I managed to sleep on a rock hard bench. I didn’t sleep on the bed cause my clothes were wet. I woke up at 6:30. I took a bath, It wasn’t the best bath I took cause the water was so cold. After getting myself fixed up my cousins me to go down and eat. There were so much pork everywhere. The rice was hard, they probably cooked it while we were away. The viand was fresh though. I didn’t really finish my rice due to that. All I ate was the pork. After eating I went back up to our room and got ready for bed. I left my laptop with the children as they watched cartoons.

I woke up at around 11:30 as Den-den one of the children decided that it was a good idea to stand up and fall down on me. I stood up and decided to get some fresh air, my uncles were outside singing karaoke, drunk. It was colder outside than it is outside. The room was 22 degrees and the air outside was 20. As I was staring at the scenery I heard the door behind me open. It was Tinn, I realized I didn’t see her a while ago dinner. Turns out she was so tired she fell asleep all the way. She asked me to accompany her to eat. We went down to the kitchen where we grabbed something too eat. There were still a lot of food left over. We brought the food back up since the cottage had this really long table. The night made me appreciate the area a lot more. It was beautiful, It was a had a different feeling from the city. It was better. If my life wasn’t in the city I would stay here where it’s peaceful.

After eating here I am as I said a few paragraphs ago, sitting in the lounge typing with her beside me.

It’s 1:30 I’m watch a  movie and Tinn decided to hit the hay and sleep. I think I’m going to go in as well. We’ve got a long day tomorrow and I would like to be in peak condition.


Good morning guys! It’s 5am and I’m here drinking some coffee. Everyone was in a rush since we overslept. We were supposed to be there by 5. It’s still cold. The view’s nice though.

It’s 6 and we’re heading off. I won’t be bringing the laptop so again I’ll see you guys later.


Hey guys! I’m back. It’s around 4pm and we’ve decided not to go swim in the river anymore. The beach was a lot of fun though. I’ve got dark though to my annoyance.

We got to Aliya at around 7:30 The journey was to the beach was filled conversations mainly the one where I nearly drowned. We stopped by the market on our way to have something to eat later on.Baler Municipal Food Terminal Here I ate the most organic corn I’ve ever ate. Most Organic CornAt the beach me and some of my cousins decided to stay inside the van for a while. The kids and adults went ahead. The view was amazing, the beach and water was clean.

2015-05-02 07.27.34After a long while we decided it was time for us to go swimming. The water was great. Unlike other beaches I’ve been too it’s only sand. Not a sign of any corals or stones under. Just sand. It was nice for the feet. It wasn’t deep in anyway. We already went so far from shore and it was still 5ft. Me and Tinn just continued our conversation from there. It took a while before our parents got in the water. The kids were a bit of a hassle but we managed. Tinn started talking about how she was so hungry seeing as our breakfast was only a cupcake and coffee. Finally at around 11 we got out of the water and had lunch.

Lunch

After a bit we went back into the water. This time we rented a surfboard, it was a nice experience, surfing. It was my first time and I can tell you it wasn’t easy. You had to wait for the right wave.

This time we went deeper. Farther into the ocean until. It got harder and harder to swim due to the water getting deeper and deeper add that to a wave hitting you like every 20 seconds.

We got out of the water at around 2:30 I think, I’m not that sure. We were going to go find a river to go swim in. 11188412_1009358635748773_1310570810169211243_nWe decided not to in the end. It was getting late plus the water in the river was a bit to shallow for our taste. So we decided to head back instead. Even though we didn’t get to swim in the river I was content. It’s been a couple years since I’ve swam in the ocean.


I just finished bathing and most of us are currently in the lounge gussying up. Alas every fun thing has an end. We’re getting ready to go home, but before we head home we’re going to head over to central Baler to visit the church and museum there.


Final Remarks

Hey guys! it’s Sunday night right now. I was supposed to finish this a while ago but I slept all the way. I’m still tired so this is probably going up Monday morning Philippine time. I’m finally back home here at Pasig. I slept through most of the ride. We dropped by for food on the way home.

I didn’t really get to take any pictures of central Baler as it was too dark. Baler was one of the best experiences I’ve had ever. The trip started with me barely knowing any of my cousins and ended with me making new friends. Tinn was the cousin I really got to know though. The others were just not the type of people I would hangout with.

I’ve seen my cousins a lot of times before already. It’s only now though I’ve gotten the chance to get closer with them. It really gave me a wider perspective on family.

I can’t wait for the next summer outing. I’m still a bit tired and dizzy plus this is the first time I’ve written anything like this.


Thanks for taking the time to read this! You guys are great. Follow me for more awesome content. Don’t forget to leave a like if you like the post. As always thanks for reading.

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