Saturday, March 29, 2008


My high school days were in St. Teresita's College in Lubuagan, the capital then of Kalinga. Lubuagan was two mountains away from Taloctoc. For a seasoned hiker, the trek took only 4 hours; but for me, it was a 6-7 hour-hike to home. I was always asked to take the lead during these hikes as they knew I would be left behind and "lost", if I did not. I was considered the "weakling", not so much used to the rigors of Taloctoc life. This is because I stayed in the city of Baguio since birth up to 5 years old.

The trail was narrow and treacherous, winding its way through the mountains. We passed by waterfalls, streams and a variety of biota, plants I have seen only there and the view had always been breathtaking whenever we reached the summit. At the peak, we can view the little barrio nestled at the foot of the opposite mountain like a miniature toy, with the coconut trees jutting among the less than a hundred nipa huts.

It was a welcomed rest as soon as we reach that point, as we know the trek downhill was easier. I remembered getting so hungry, (I forgot to bring something to eat) but it was no problem as guavas and blueberries grew everywhere.

At the end of the hike, before we could reach the barrio itself, we have first to cross the raging currents of the Chico river. There was no other way in, unless we take a detour 10 hours away. The river held many memorable events for me. It was in the river that I almost lost my life during one of the fiercest storms, when I refused to stay in town as I was "dying" of homesickness for my family. (but that is another story)

The Chico river served as a refuge for me and many others. With its sparkling, clear waters and fine, white sand; it was a peaceful and calming place to be. It is where we stay when we were not in school and one of the places where we go picnicking. We cooked rice on bamboo containers and caught fish with our bare hands. Have you ever tasted food cooked on these bamboo containers? They taste like no other.

The barrio folk would wait patiently by the riverbank every Friday evening to ensure that their kids were back home safely. During inclement weather, all of them would be there shouting assurances to us and to those who were assisting us across the river by the use of rafts and pulleys.

Those were the days.


tashabud said...

I found you, finally. No wonder you lost your blog site before.
Anyway this trek was very long and treacherous that I can remember.

Jean Walker said...

he he he, yeah, slowly building it up again. Laborious indeed

Anonymous said...

jean walker,

you did a dijavu there for a while. it took me a long trek around goole world to track you down,what happened? nice to know you are back.

Jean Walker said...

Some form of depression, he he he...thanks for looking for me guys...and giving me inspiration again.