The Banahaw Experience ;)

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Hey there SPF’s!

How are you all, guys? πŸ™‚

As you might know, yesterday I went to Mt. Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon together with my schoolmates for our Histo165 lakbay-aral. I was sooo tired when we got home so I wasn’t able to blog about anything. Actually, parts of my body are still sore until now because of the trek, but I will now be sharing with you my Banahaw experience. πŸ˜€

The journey to Banahaw

I woke up at quarter to 4am yesterday and started prepping up. We were going to meet up with the rest of the class at around 5-5:30am and our ETD was at 6am. I have already packed everything that I will need for the trip and all I had to do was take a shower and make sure that I didn’t leave anything behind. At around 5, Dan, Dale and I started walking towards Leong Hall, which was our meeting place.

At around 6am, Sir Isorena arrived at Leong together with the bus and the coaster that will take us to Quezon Province. Ella, Dan, Mau and I chose to ride in the coaster with just our schoolmates because Sir was in the bus. At 6:15am, we left Ateneo and started the 3-hour trip. Woohoo! We had a 15-minute stopover at a gasoline station along SLEX.

We got to Dolores, Quezon a few minutes past 9am. We went down at this gasoline station, just a small one, which you usually see in rural areas. From there, we walked to this place where people were given time to answer the call of nature. HAHAHA. From then on, we started the walk to our destination which is Mt. Banahaw.

We had quite a long walk among houses before we reached a clearing which had, at the side, numerous steps leading down. Before going to those steps, we were given candles by our tour guides. We started descending the steep and sometimes narrow steps. Somewhere along the way, there was a mini shrine of some sort where we lit the candles that were given to us. After lighting the candles, we continued our descent and soon, we heard the sound coming from the falls.

We were somewhere in the middle of the big group (60+ or so) so when we reached Sta. Lucia Falls, there were already schoolmates of ours who had gone through the “cleansing”. Cleansing meant going under the falls and washing yourself of your sins in preparation for the climb. For this, we had to remove our shoes. After everyone cleansed, we headed off to Kweba ng Santong Jacob.

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Mau πŸ˜€
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Eugene

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Me. HAHA. Ew.

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Ella, Mika, and Eugene πŸ˜€

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Something at the foot of the mountain. A stop before going to Santong Jacob. πŸ™‚

We went inside Santong Jacob by batches and while some people were going to the cave, those who were left were eating their lunch. My friends and I joined the second batch. When we reached the mouth of the cave, we were surprised because it was actually nothing but a small crack in the wall. Some of us were in doubt of fitting in that narrow hole but we were able to. πŸ™‚

Before going in, we were asked to remove our shoes and leave them outside. To get inside the cave, we had to go down the hole and inch our way in by grabbing onto rocks and sliding ourselves against the cave walls. We sat down inside the small space of the cave as, one by one, people started doing the ritual of “going back to the womb”. In the cave, there was a ladder found at the side which had water in it and the ritual included going down the ladder and submerging yourself in the water there. That spot was so small that only one person could fit at a time.

A lot of people said that the water was really cold and it felt like there was something pulling them down but when I did the ritual, I found the water refreshing and I actually liked the experience. I didn’t feel anything pulling me and I found the water temperature to my liking and I would’ve actually stayed longer if I could. HAHAHA. But since there were people who were gonna go after me, I didn’t stay long. After that, we climbed back up to the hole where we went in.

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Me, Ella, Mika and Mau after the Santong Jacob ritual. πŸ˜€

Our group stayed in Santong Jacob for quite a long time because the other batches were taking long in the cave and we heard that there were some people who got stuck. Puhaha. Since waiting for the others to finish took a lot of time, Sir Isorena told our guide to just take those who were done to Kweba ng Husgado while he waited for the last batch to finish. Sir warned us that Husgado will be 5x harder than Santong Jacob and he told us that we are not required to go inside it, just those who want to.


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After leaving our other schoolmates with Sir I, we started climbing up a trail filled with mossy rocks and big trees. On our way, it started to drizzle but we didn’t stop and just went on. It didn’t last long though and it stopped even before we got to our destination. After some time, we reached a small open hut and we were told to take off our shoes because we will be walking barefoot from then on. Some people stayed behind while we went to the cave.

We walked to the mouth of the cave and man, our feet hurt because of the rough and sometimes sharp rocks that we had to step on. Wow. HAHA. Not long after we started walking, we had to stop somewhere near a shed because apparently, the cave was so narrow that those who were ahead of us were taking some time to get through.Β Those who went ahead of us were taking so long so we decided to sit on the big rocks in the trail while the others stayed inside the shed.

We just chatted with each other while waiting for the people ahead of us to finish and some time later, it started to rain. Those who were in the shed told us to join them and take cover but we said it was okay because the big tree above us was giving us enough shade. But alas, the rain got stronger so we finally decided to move from the rocks and into the shade. Opposite the shed, there was a small, open, normal-looking cave and when we saw that the shed was already quite full, we decided to just stay inside the cave. Soon, the wind started blowing the rain sideways and those who were in the shed started getting wet so they joined us inside the cave and we had a cave party. HAHAHAHA. Woohoo! πŸ˜€

We stayed inside the small cave for maybe half an hour before the rain stopped and after a while, we started going up to reach the mouth of Husgado. There, we lined up to get inside and Mau, Ella and I were at the end of the line. To be precise, it was Mau, me, and Ella in that order. While we waited for those in front to finish, we just talked to each other and to Sir I, asking him for a free cut. HAHAHA. We had laughs as we talked about some stuff that happened to us during the day.

Soon, it was our turn to go inside Husgado. To get inside, we had to descend from the mouth of the cave to the middle of it, which could fit five to six people. The last six people who were there were Cheska, Aya, Andrea, Mau, me and Ella in that order of entry. Moving to the center of cave was quite difficult and it got to the point where I was in a “quite seductive” position. HAHAHA. It was very awkward and uncomfortable because of the sharp rocks. :))

Husgado was very challenging. The way out, which was different from the way in, was so much harder because we had to go up twisting paths and some of these paths were reaaally narrow with obstructions from protruding rocks. On my initial ascent going out, my left leg got stuck in one of the rocks and I couldn’t stop laughing because of it. My laugh was so contagious that those who were left in the cave, meaning me, Ella, and two guides (one in front of me and one behind Ella), were all laughing. The guide in front of me said that in his entire experience as a guide, I was the only one who laughed while inside the cave trying to overcome the difficulty of getting through it.

After I was finally able to control my self and stop laughing, I continued the climb up, trying to figure out how to twist myself to get through the sharp rocks. At times, I had to crawl up and sometimes, I had to drag myself. HAHA. After some struggle, I then found myself easing through the cave and before long, I was already outside! Yay! The outer opening actually led to the small open hut we left our things in. According to Sir I, the ritual in Husgado symbolizes dying (going in) and being born again (going out).

How is it overall?

The experience was really fun, challenging and one of a kind. I got a few scratches and bruises here and there, but they were all worth it. Also, my muscles are sore and aching, but it’s just a small price to pay for the experience. You can get as much muscle pains when you exercise, and sometimes even more so it’s not really something that can bother you. I had so much fulfillment from the trip that I would go so far as to recommend it to all of you. You won’t really regret going to Mt. Banahaw! πŸ˜€

I have an after-Banahaw story, but I will share it to you next time. Hihi. πŸ™‚ For now, this is all.

Ta-ra,

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