My itinerary was a cave and a nearby town.
The weather was bad and occurrence of thunderstorms were reported - not an advisable weather to go spelunking. But hey, the weather could lighten up, right? So I went on.
On my way to the cave, the tricycle I was riding got flat, so we had to stop by at a vulcanizing shop. Usually, I would hail a new tricycle rather than wait for almost an hour to have the tires fixed and replaced- but I waited anyway, and so I went on.
When the tires were fixed, I asked the driver if I could sit on the roof of the tricycle since the one occupying that "seat" got off moments ago. The driver just laughed and dismissed my request, saying that the road ahead is rough and mountainous.
I was sitting inside the tricycle, the front was transparent plastic so I could see the outside. On the corner of my eye, I saw the driver looking down; I was texting, and when I looked up... we hit the owner jeep in front of us. The impact was so great that the back of my seat toppled over me and out. The driver's hands and head were bruised and swollen with blood, but I think he was fine by then... he went out and argued with the owner of the jeep. All that time, I was just staring outside and thinking what if I was sitting on top of the tricycle, would I be in coma right now? I hit my head and my left knee, but I didn't want to burden the driver so I just laughed it off, and fixed my seat. And so I went on.
A few minutes later, the driver apologized. He said he can't drive anymore - he was hazy. I was nowhere near the cave. He said I could hail a new tricycle or calesa, but there was nothing to hail... And so I went on, walking.
|I was walking alone on what seemed like an excavation area, without locals. It was heart pounding, if I may say.|
I walked on slowly for less than an hour until I reached Callao cave. I was pretty damn proud of myself. Once there, I found out that there were only 4 guides, because it was Pacquiao's match. I couldn't wait for the 4 tours to be over since the locals strictly reminded me that I should not take long there for I will have a hard time getting back in the city. And so I toured the cave, alone.
It was dumb, very dumb thing to do - especially when you see warning all around saying "No Guide, No Entry"
The trail was so muddy, slippery, and unknown to me that I decided to go back. I almost got lost. By this time, my left knee was aching terribly. I thought I was done with my adventure, but lo and behold, I still didn't stop, I went on.
I hitchhiked with a couple of guys to Baggao cave, without knowing (1) how far Baggao cave is from where we were and (2) who I was with - probably not the best idea to do if you're a girl. It was ughm... very thrilling and awkward at times, and I'll be more careful in case I repeat such acts.
In Baggao cave, it was already too dark, and an old lady warned us of the mermaids that play tricks on people. It was like a scene in Pedro Penduko. Well, it made me smile. I am a sucker for these kinds of narratives. Because of the darkness, we ended up in the corner of a sari sari store, they drank gin and smoked weed. I was eating biscuits and drinking from my water bottle - I could very well be drinking milk to their eyes, HAHA. The discussion suddenly shifted to Duterte, and I stupidly mentioned the word NPA.
Everyone tensed up, and hushed me. One of the guys whispered that I should not mention "that word" in the barrio because someone might be listening. Suddenly, a flashlight went on and someone walked toward us and scanned our faces. My face was blank but my mind was scared. One of the locals who were drinking with us assured me that I'm fine, just don't mention the term in rural areas again...
I could still mention a lot of things that went wrong, but what I am most disappointed of is getting german measles after the trip, and ultimately, missing my trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia today.
So why didn't I stop?
Because I didn't want to. I didn't want to worry about what bad people can do to me, what bad the world can do to me. I didn't want to worry about the bad weather, or getting lost, or not following my itinerary, because if I did worry about every thing that went wrong, then I'd have a hard time enjoying the world.
That solo Tuguegarao trip was my scariest and most exciting so far, but I don't think I would want to experience such again - maybe with little subtleties I'll think about it.
See you soon!