Friday, October 3, 2008

My First Trip Through Kalinga‘s Winding Roads

I was finally going to the City of Baguio for my college education.

It was a totally upbeat experience for me and the night before I left, I could barely sleep because of excitement.

I was fifteen at that time, and for the first time in my life, I would be traveling alone.

Morning finally came and all the native folks came to see me off at the Chico River.

There were native cakes and sweets that they brought along supposedly for me to bring along, but my mother gently told them I had enough luggages to carry on my 6 hour trek to town.

I had hiking companions but they had their own loads to carry for they were also studying in town in the Convent's High school.

My mother repeated her advices which I heard a dozen times. “Keep your money safely tucked away.” “Don’t wander away from the others.” “Be friendly but careful.” etc. etc.

I gave my parents, siblings and relatives one last hug and waded through the knee deep water.

It was still summer and the usual raging currents of the Chico River was only a gurgling flow for a change.

The trek to town went well, except for my tired muscles.

But this was soon forgotten as I boarded the bus finally for Baguio City.

It was a long, arduous trip and we had to sleep overnight at Bontoc before we could proceed to Baguio.

I marveled at the beauty of nature as our bus chugged and roared its way along the narrow winding road of Lubuagan to Bontoc.

Photo by Mendhak

The road was so narrow that they had to erect checkpoints where the road was wider, so that when another bus was on the road, it had to wait for the other oncoming bus at the checkpoint, to avoid head on collision.

The towering, verdant mountains were majestic and awesome as we slowly inched our way amidst them.

I watched as beautiful flora and fauna passed before my very eyes through the bus window.

The dizzying precipice made me faint and weak so I tried to look towards the mountains instead.

At nightfall, we arrived at Bontoc. I was surprised to find out that there was only one hotel available for all of us (4 people to a room), and I was not used to sleeping with strangers, so I selected one tiny room apart from the rest.

What happened next was unexpected. While I was sleeping, I heard a tiny scraping sound.

I was startled when I looked up for there was a man climbing through the small aperture that divided my room from the others.

He was grinning and was motioning for me to open the door and we’ll have a night cap.

I knew then he had other intentions in mind.

I couldn’t move or even scream. I stood there just looking at him with so much fear.

When I was able to gather courage, I spoke in a croaky voice: “If you’ll come down there, I’ll scream.”

“I just wanted to talk to you,” he stopped.

“We can talk in the morning,” I said, pretending to be brave, but my knees were trembling and I tried to control the tremor in my voice.

I was only 15!

I breathed a sigh of relief when he finally said: “Okay, I will talk to you tomorrow. I like you.”

I could not sleep for the rest of the night. If only the room that I stayed on was safe then all I would have done was to lock the door.

The man attempted to speak to me that day but I had stayed close to a friendly woman who gladly gave me company for the rest of the journey.

I arrived in Baguio the following evening with so much relief and gratitude that nothing untoward happened that night.

The University’s ladies’ dorm was my first home away from home, where my adventurous stint in college began.

From then on, whenever I travel, the first thing that I made sure of was the room where I would be sleeping.

I heard that presently, there are several hotels there already; and that visitors could have a pick of the best accommodations comparable to the Baguio City Hotels.

After retirement, I plan to travel to Europe to visit my daughter in Spain.

I found this free site - Hotel Combined - which provides access to the different hotels abroad in almost all countries.

I was happy to discover that I could compare the prices of hotels and lodgings just in this site alone.

Holiday Inn Atrium Hotel Singapore

I plan to go via Singapore and then perhaps drop by Paris and

then Rome and finally Spain.

Wouldn’t that be exciting? It has been a while since I traveled last. Anyone who would like to join me?

And I would never forget that long, troublesome evening in my teenage life, for as long as I live.


Shinade said...

oh my goodness...what a terrible experience.

And yes I would love to visit all of those places.

Please forgive me for not being around.

I went for a wee visit with my daughter and it turned into 5 months and little or no internet.

But, I am back now and so glad to be here.

I have missed everyone so very very much!!:-)

Jena Isle said...

Hi J, how are you? It's good to have you back. I pray that everything will be better for you. You will be in our payers always.

Welcome back and happy blogging.

fortuitous faery said...

hello jena! thanks for visiting my "postcards from miss igorota" blog!

you may be surprised to know i'm not from the boondocks...i come from the visayas, but my friend ging and i came up with this idea of photographing the doll in different places.

it would be so wonderful if you, an actual native, can join this "sisterhood"....that is, if you're willing to tote an igorota doll and camera with you always....if you don't have a doll, you have to get yourself one to join the photoblog.

currently there are only three of us doing it, i'm from NJ, ging is in cainta and another one, ody, is in austria. we're always open to expand this group to willing photographer-bloggers.

would you like to join us? :)

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Jenaisle,

Terrific route you're taking. Can I fit in your luggage? Is there a chance you could pass by Burma? Or I can meet you at the border in Thailand. LOL!

But that means you'd have to stay in notorious places with dingy rooms and secretly sliding walls. LOL!

That is a scary experience that can traumatize anyone. You're still very lucky, luckier than most. Take care. :-) --Durano, done!

Jena Isle said...

Hi faery I'll look into it, thanks for the visit. and happy blogging.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Durano,

he he're in a light mood today. Sure, why not as a travelling companion instead?

Ayaw ko ng masikip...( but I don't have any options.)

Life is becoming more difficult.

Thanks for the visit, Your story is next at gewgaw.


Liara Covert said...

You write so clearly with feeling from the heart. I am glad to read about your experiences. We can all learn from each other.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Liara,

Thanks for the visit, yes we could all learn from each other.