There is nothing like waking up to the gushing sound of Hikong Bente at the 7 Falls in Lake Sebu, Southern Philippines. Although we camped out far from the cascade, we could still feel the gentle rumble of the ground beneath our tents.
While your heart starts to pound faster, try to imagine Joker whispering the following in your ear: “Madness is like gravity, all it takes is a little push.” You are suddenly plunged into a wickedly awesome scene that only this part of the Philippines can possibly offer.
We assumed that the remainder of our river trek would be a piece of cake. But just when we thought we could breeze back to our starting point, we faced one more challenging pit stop.
The undeveloped trail leading to Hikong Mahi or Tinago Falls is considered difficult even by more experienced mountaineers. We carefully trod on loose forest topsoil which was sometimes littered with animal traps. There were times when we used a rope to rappel steep inclines.
Little is known about Mt. Three Kings in Lake Sebu. A quick Google search would reveal that it is part of an IBA (Important Bird Area) in the Philippines, that is surprisingly unexplored.
Sitio Kangko is the farthest inhabited area in Barangay Lamlahak in the municipality of Lake Sebu, Southern Philippines. It is located at the foot of the yet unexplored Mt. Three Kings, aptly named for the three imposing peaks that seem to closely watch the small community.
Perhaps most of the residents of Balamban do not know yet that the name 'Balamban' has sparked a craze in Cebu City, approximately 64 kilometers away from their beloved municipality.
The Spoliarium depicts a typical scene in a chamber of a Roman arena: men dragging defeated gladiators, onlookers watching the bloody spectacle, and a woman grieving on one side.
I cannot say the same pattern of heroism, tragedy, victory and defeat would show up in the coming year. It could get worse. And it could also get very boring. I can only hope that we would now look at every monumental loss with maturity and resilience. I also hope that we would also look at every triumphant breakthrough with sobriety and gratitude.
One afternoon, thirteen years ago, my sister bought me my first bottled water. I requested her to buy me one for two reasons. First, I would like to find out how water that is bottled would actually taste compared to our version of it at home.