BALER: Phase one of the trip

I’m still thinking of the Mangosteen inside XX’s baggage. I caught a glimpse of their tricycle before we headed our way to our first destination. SZ was comfortably being hit by my backpack and her camera paraphernalia and my tripod. I often screamed at her asking her if she was OK. She would reply after 3 seconds under the pile of baggage being rearranged along with her.

The two tricycle drivers had amazing powers convincing us that going to Mother Falls is the best option, instead of driving an hour to our hotel from a faraway bayan and another one hour back to Baler to do anything fun. Clearly they cared about us. Having noticed we were not wearing “water clothes” they suggested we stop by a house and we change our clothes there.

It was a random bungalow wooden house with one bed and one table inside. SZ and I changed our shorts in the bedroom/main house area. Looking around for possible peepholes, I noticed it was suddenly awkward I didn’t get to see who lived there. I wanted to ask permission if we can violate their privacy by changing our clothes there.

Then I saw some family pictures.

I went outside still wondering who the owner of the house was. We drank some water from their jar outside, washed hands and feet in the faucet, which I accidentally broke when I turned it open. I wonder if the faucet is still open until now.

Wwo and XX were together in one tryk. The Mangosteens were with them. SZ and I took another and the camera bags were with us, except for XX’s gears, which he kept with him.

The trip to the mountain took more than 40 minutes, and I, having chosen to sit behind the driver felt my buns being flattened. It was bumpy. The cement road made up only 15 minutes of our entire trip. And the rest, we had to enjoy the roller coaster feeling of being almost-flown off the tryk every 5 meters.

I liked the sun so I soaked up the rays and ten minutes into the trip, I was being baked red. Or darker brown if you would. The tryk had no roof on the driver’s side so I had to ask for my cap from my bag from SZ.

We took a sharp left turn to what seemed to be another town. The road was made of packed mud and medium pebbles. It was so narrow my legs were being whipped by plant stems.

“We’re almost there,” our driver proudly announced and after three seconds, the tryk came to a complete halt.

“What’s up?”

“You need to get off the tryk and walk to that end. We cannot pass through that dent.” He pointed to a crater as deep as a manhole.

SZ and I got down and soon Wwo and XX’s were walking towards us.

A few more dents on the ground followed and the process of getting down and walking was repeated over and over again. We took some photos and 20 minutes after, we were greeted by what seemed to be a park with a mighty river slicing the ground.

Cars were everywhere. Kind of made me wonder how in the world were they able to get there when our dinky tryk couldn’t even make it to the road without brushing my face against stems and leaves.

Because we were all after security, we left our things (my backpack with my ipod, wallet and two mobile phones) in a hut with a couple of random old guys manning it. It’s their bag area. And only our group thought it was the best thing to do before trekking.


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