Paths paved in white dust, fallen trees that marred the landscape only to expose the secrets of Camotes island.
Forgive me for waxing poetry… but it can’t be helped. 🙂
AS a planned team outing, everything was supposed to run smooth. But it didn’t. The trip started real early: I left the house at around 1:40 AM; the team was on the road by 3:00 AM; yet, we were only able to board the ferry at around 7:00 in the morning.
Buying our tickets involved ruffled feathers, a fuzz over “fixers”… The journey began during dawn and the sun plodded about to peek, then to shine atop us. At around 9:00 am, we arrived at our rented house — a huge luxury of a beach house, predominantly gold and white, with high ceilings and real spacious for 26 of us!
Some of us – including me — went to test the softness of the mattress, yet, the tiredness washing over our joints, and the relaxing vibe inside the bedroom managed to lure us to sleep. The air conditioner blew away the hazy business of summer. It wasn’t surprising to find me spending more time indoors to sleep, or enjoy an exclusive chat with my roommates.
But the sun was still out and no one wanted to waste time. We ventured outside and visited a cave. I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I felt throughout our jeepney trip is excitement: it was my first time to visit a cave. Unfortunately, this excitement was flooded by a sad sight. The majority of stalagmites and stalactites were dead. I’ve learned through science programs that these formations wore flashy immaculate white when “alive”. The ones inside the cave were black, which added to the dim and suffocating atmosphere. The local folks who facilitated the collection of fee (20 PHP) didn’t seem to count the restriction of cave-entrants as part of their duty. We, along other tourists, were left to plod in the slippery semi-darkness that engulfed the dead cave. The destination: a cave pool.
After a quick dunk, we went for the famed cliffs of Camotes. Another jeepney ride, a stair-trail, and we we’re atop a huge rock. There were three diving spaces, each of which already garnered a crowd of cliff-divers and tourists. My work-buddies mustered sufficient courage and leaped from the quite-high cliff. After a couple of more diving, and picture-snapping, they were off to try the crazy-omg-cliff! My friends shrieked and leaped. The splash was as audible as the last-minute “oh shit!” someone spewed before hitting the ever-blue waters of Camotes.
Satisfied from the adrenaline-rushing experience of leaping off some cliffs, we all went back to the road to our last destination: Lake Danao.
I didn’t really get to enjoy the cave because of the dead formations, the crowd, and the fact that I can’t swim (but, oddly, can dive and breathe longer). The cliff-diving was another no-no due to the can’t-swim condition. But the lake offered a possible adventure — kayaking! 😀 This time, I don’t have to be a mere spectator. I’m gonna row my boat! Hurray!
I resolved to join my ever-sarcastic friend in a for-double boat. But the boat that we were supposed to use was still under the monopoly of two other tourists. -_- The attendant suggested that we use the duck boat (there were fish- and alligator-shaped boats, too) instead. Unlike the for-kayak boat, the duck-boat was bigger. It was fitted for four rowers, but the attendant said that it’s not going to be a problem.
So, off we row with our duck-boat. I’m not sure what happened. But the gently-row-the-stream vision slowly melted away. In place was the unfolding of a series of mishaps, the first one started with this fact: it was my first-time to row a boat and do this kayaking thing. Now, why should this fact have to be so important?
Because it was ALSO my friend’s first-time experience to do kayaking! My goodness! If I had known, I might have stayed in the dock. But that would be boring, right? And I would miss the chance to share a very comical experience with this friend. Despite the discovery, my boat-buddy wanted to plod on rowing to reach the other end of the lake, and procure a leaf from a mangrove tree. The mission might have been easier if the boat didn’t move sideways. Yes! The duck-effing-boat moved sideways, and not straight-ahead (or supposedly aligned to its front duck-head)!
Against all odds, we reached the end of the lake. He was able to procure his leaf — but not without some crazy events… The boat was dangerously (in my opinion) bumping into the mangrove trees. It freaked me out because it felt like the tree-branches were to eat me, or grab me! In my unstable state, I scrambled to the opposite side of where I was sitting, which threatened our precious balance. My friend, who wasn’t as panicky as me, calmly coaxed me to go back to my spot. Without raising a voice, he warned me that the boat could capsize if I don’t go back. It was a really, really good thing that he was calm all throughout. Another bonus thing he did was not raising his voice, because if he did, I might hadn’t moved an inch, and only the duck-boat will witness my wet demise! (Plus: I think I’m phonophobic, which means I’m irrational-level scared of loud voices and noises.)
It was a tough duck-boat experience. Gladly, we got back on the dock in one piece. We caused a delay, too. The only reward was this funny tale that we just had to share to our friends. It was refreshing to hear their laughter inside the confines of our rented jeepney. The boat-rowing had isolated us from the others for a short while (though, seriously, with my poor rowing skills, it felt like forever!); and I thought that I’d enjoy that kind of isolation (quirks of an introvert 😀 ). Perhaps, I could if I (1) learn how to swim, (2) learn how to row, and (3) learn how to stay calm as possible, like my rowing buddy.