Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Adventure In Me

Where did the month go? Guess it is time to say Hello, February! Yesterday I went to Tarug, Mogpog to go rock climbing. Jean, who I met in Maniwaya a few weekends ago, invited Catherine and I to come over to meet her mother and to take us on an adventure to the caves and high stone near her house. Sarah and Jean are both students at the School of Tourism in Santa Cruz. I am thankful that our paths of life have crossed because I have been anxious to get out and see what this island has to offer, and what better people to show me than tourism students!

Catherine came Friday after school. The plan was to wake up early Saturday and go to Tarug. I had no idea where Tarug was. We took a jeep the bayan and then asked someone the best way to travel to Tarug. One person told us jeep, the next told us tricycle. We went with the tricycle. It ended up being further away than I anticipated. The driver dropped us off on the main road and showed us the hill we had to walk up to reach Tarug; it was literally on top of a mountain. The hill was so steep that after about only 50 steps I was out of breath. I don’t really know how long it took us to hike up the hill but I do know that sweat was racing down my face and body when we reached the top.

Jean and her mother we were. Her mother offered us Gatorade, which was actually perfect and just what I needed. The bottle was really fancy, can’t say that I have ever enjoyed Gatorade fancy style before. Tarug was a small barangay, hidden within the coconut tree covered mountains and steep terrain of the island. It was breathtaking. I always enjoy when I get to venture off the main road that goes around the island, you just never know the hidden treasures you might find down the dirt path.

After replenishing our body and a short rest, we began our hike. Jean’s friend Girlie also came to join us. She is also a student at the School of Tourism. Her personality was spunky and outgoing which made it easy to hold a conversation with her, getting to know her story. We had to walk a short while down a dirt road to get to the bottom point of the climb. Before we started we had to sign a book, guess it was just in case we never came back. With water and my camera at my back the thrill began… up, and up, and up…

Earlier that day it had rained so the path was a bit slippery. I always made sure that my hands had a good grip on a branch or part of the rock wall just in case my feet slipped and I had to have faith in my arm strength. I can thank however many days of my life when I spent hours swimming laps for my oversized and strong arms. We reached the first cave rather quickly. There was a window in the cave that you could climb up into and look out at the, like I have mentioned before, the beautiful scenes. There were also parts of the cave that had grown to look like animals. At the front of the cave there was a large piece that stuck straight out, my eyes caught sight of it straight away- it looks like a T-rex! The other animal that had been naturally created was a group of elephants. It was a carving in the side of the cave that looked like three elephants stacked on top of each other. After the first cave, things got a little more dangerous, my heart started to beat a bit faster. One wrong move of my foot going up to the high stone could have been bad. Good thing we had a good tour guide with us who had climbed the rock walls many times before and knew every step, every grasp of the way. We made it to the, and after I took a moment to let out a sign of relief, I began thinking about going back down. It was scary going down but we made it safely back to the flat ground. Those first few steps on the flat gravel ground felt strange.

Covered in mud and very sweaty, we were all very hungry so we went back to Jean’s house for lunch. After a little relaxation, talking, and eating Catherine and I were ready to go home. Jean’s mother had given the two of us a coconut and a bag filled with bananas to bring home so they made the trip back to my house with us. When we got back to Mogpog, we stopped at my favorite burger place to get burgers for a snack. We also stopped at a small store to get some ice cream, we definitely ate ice cream three times that night, it was the best ice cream I have had here. I am getting hungry just writing about it. What an adventure!

Right now, I am in Tagaytay City with some of my students, another English teacher, and the principal. Five of my students qualified to compete in the regional journalism competition. My favorite part of being here was watching my students take a video of our room that we are all staying in. They had never seen a ceiling fan, a window heater, the water heater in the bathroom, or a socket in the wall for a telephone. They were so excited I could not stop smiling watching them examine these new things. It is cold in Tagaytay, even for me, I had to wear a scarf today! Last night they were asking my about twitter, facebook and social networking in general. I told them everything I know. Today after one of the competitions, Kim was very excited because the topic she had to write about was related to our conversation the previous night about networking. Things really do happen for a reason!

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