This is a guest post from one of your fellow travelers, Monica Narisma. She joined us in our recently concluded Random Road Trip #5 to Quirino Province. This entry first appeared on her personal blog Run Monica Run. Read on to see her side of the story.
Carpe diem (Pero Bawal Mamatay!): Quirino Edition
I swore off travelling for a bit after getting stranded on an island during the Sinulog week and to study for an upcoming exam. But what’s left of my convictions got thrown out of the window as soon as I saw the “Random Road Trip” event floating on my Facebook news feed. I just had to click the “Going” button at that instant.
“Big body of water”- this was one of the clues they gave with regards to the destination, so the first thing that came into my mind was, “Beach!” I readied myself for a chill long weekend armed with my flimsy beach wear and snorkeling gear only to find out, after eight hours of road travel, that we will be spending the weekend in the land-locked province of Quirino in the Cagayan Valley region. I am all for being open-minded since this was a “random” road trip after all, but what the heck can we actually do in this place? With a measly two-hour sleep, together with a group of adventurers (sleep-deprived as well), I was bound for an unexpected escapade.
If the sea is my lover, the mountain is my mistress, and I was glad to be back in its arms through this trip. The overcast weather enveloped the mountain scenery in Aglipay, Quirino with fog adding more mystery in this adventure. The feeling of the earth on my feet, my hands gripping on tree roots and branches, and taking in all of that fresh air was exhilarating. After almost an hour of trudging the ups and downs of the mountain, we started hearing sounds of water ravaging, and the gorgeous beauty of Pensal falls greeted us. A part of the multi-layered falls looked like a giant slide, so what do you expect a bunch of kids at heart would do? Led by Gian, the TLG organizer of this trip and main pasimuno, we giddily slid our way and splashed through the falls’ cold waters. Another layer of the falls was suitable for cliff jumping so a bunch of adrenaline-junkies wall-climbed and jumped off like they were monkeys in their past lives!
Trekking back to the jump-off site proved to be more challenging as the rain made the clay ground more slippery. I’m sure most of the members of the group, if not everyone, had their bottoms kiss the ground.
The day wasn’t over for this wearied bunch as we were still bound for the caves of Aglipay. Channelling all the remaining energy we could muster, we spelunked our way through the ins and outs of the caves and marveled at the natural splendor of the cave’s limestone formations. The pristine limestone rocks shone like unique and perfectly-cut diamonds. The challenge of getting through the smallest of holes unscathed and in one piece also gave the thrill of spelunking experience (Am I right, Fiel?).
The night came and instead of capping off the day, we scoured the whole town for some alcohol (oh kids nowadays). Music, laughter and banter were exchanged over cheap alcohol under the starlit skies. Weirdness, headed by Cielo and Sheena, ensued and we knew that we were so not going to make that 7AM appointment on time.
The next morning greeted us with Mr. Sunshine rolling over the vibrant green rice fields of Quirino, perfect for the day’s cruise along the Governor’s Rapids in Nagtipunan River. Our banca cruise, care of the local government, took us to the most scenic views to the point that we had to make several stops just to have a photo op in true Filipino kodakan fashion! Afternoon came and the heat started to prick our skins. At one point, Miguel, a French adrenaline-junkie kiti-kiti, just jumped off to the waters while the banca was in motion. Walang pasabi si kuya! (“English please!”, I can already hear him saying.)
At the end of the cruise, Gian was claiming that the trip was over but that spark in his eyes was telling otherwise. A quick power nap later, we were right as we arrived at another river. But that wasn’t the highlight of this last stop, rather it was the small unassuming cave along it. The low ceiling path inside forced us to crawl on our tummies ala-military training which made the build up to the pièce de résistance more exciting. A couple of body twisting and bruises later, this unassuming cave revealed its masterpiece, a raging waterfall. Everybody really went wild and the group looked like a party crowd in some foam party sans the alcohol. And as if the cave spelunking wasn’t enough for the day, most of the group capped off the trip by swimming along the river despite the strong currents. “Carpe diem (Pero Bawal Mamatay!)” – this should be TLG’s motto instead.
Going on a random trip with strangers may not be the popular choice when it comes to travelling but those who dared will find themselves surrounded by like-minded crazy people experiencing an out-of-the-box and authentic adventure. Kudos to Tara Let’s Go Asia, your genuine spontaneity and thirst for adventure took us to a crazy, whirlwind adventure!
The Random Road Trip was random in every sense of the word but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Interested to join our Random Road Trips?
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Random Road #6 is brewing soon! Watch for it! Our clue… we are leaving our rides behind.
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