Thursday, June 21, 2018

Skywatching Again

Skywatching at the 5th Floor Window

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Try on the Road Less Travelled

It felt like i am doing the unusual at my age. I have not been doing these things in my younger years, and now before i really call myself an old lady, which i might am already being called that by younger ones, i joined some expeditions with real hard core mountaineers, sea experts, and extreme adventurers! To places not ventured by many, nor by tourists, there we go. I've done that in November last year to Palawan also with the same persons, and that time we traversed very difficult rugged, rocky and slippery roads backriding daily for several hours on motorbikes. Then last January i joined a lady friend in this group to the island of Sabtang, Batanes in the northernmost islands of the Philippines for a traverse hike from east coast to west coast. This April, we went to Palawan again for another unusual itinerary. We were three ladies here, guided by our ever reliable, responsible, caring two new friends. And this time i hope i have already a  fulfilled soul.

We were supposedly a group chasing and photographing butterflies, but instead we tried enjoying the place, whatever we can cover. We hiked for waterfalls, crossed several rivers, camped in beaches, stayed for a night in a deserted island, climbed a mountain of caves complexes, looked for snakes a night in the forest, and a lot more! I guess in totality that is not a simple feat done in 6 days, the 7th we returned home.

                                                                                                                                                            (photo credit: not mine)
We were looking for the path to a low mountain called the Devil's Peak. Our two guys tried clearing the vegetation to pass through. It turned out nobody seems to have gone there for a couple of years, so the path is already like a forest again. We used up our time clearing the way, so we just climbed half-way because we lacked time. We returned to the beach camp before it got dark.

                                                                                                                             (photo credit: not my photo)
Our age differences are in decades; 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. The men are in the lowest brackets. Who says old women cannot do the jump shot!

                                                                                                                              (photo credit: not mine)

When we are bound to go back, frustrated of not conquering this peak, we just opted to have photo shoots of ourselves inside the forest. 

                                                                                                                           (photo credit: not mine)

In another day, we crossed 4 rivers and 2 streams in between kilometers of hiking uphill, just to see a waterfalls. The water is not very deep, just above the knees of my companions. The sad part for the water level is, that level is already almost near my waist! I am the shortest among us, haha!

                                                                                                                              (photo credit: not mine)
Look at the normal pace of the pack, the one with the shortest legs is always left behind with a wide distance between them. At the above picture, we will still traverse that ridge, and the falls is down at the other side.

                                                                                                                         (photo credit: not mine)
The rivers are not always smooth with just plane water. It is good that there is no strong current, but the rocks beneath are very slippery that i once slipped, wetting my whole body. There are also crossings with big rocks and boulders like that above, but we always have time for anything unusual like a very big praying mantis we saw on that rock!

                                                                                                                            (photo credit: not mine)
This is the small motor boat that carried us to the Tabon Caves Complex, an hour and a half from Quezon Beach. It was originally an island but has now attached to the mainland by mangrove forset. The skull of the Tabon man, supposedly the earliest Homo sapiens  in the Philippines was found in one of the caves in Tabon, Lipuun Point, Quezon. The skull and jawbone were said to be remains of three people who lived in these caves 16,500 years ago. (However, in 2010  another metatarsal was found in Callao Caves, Cagayan and dated to be 67,000 years old).  Some of the caves in Tabon are said to be Stone Factory, while others are burial caves for the Tabon people. Roughly 238 caves are found but only 12 are open to the public. We went to just 6 caves, which are the easier ones to visit.

                                                                                                                         (photo credit: not mine)
Concrete stairways are already built to the more accessible caves, with rails for support. There are very steep stairs and there are undulating ones which cascade to the more level areas. Unfortunately during our visit,  the rails are full of ants that we cannot just hold on them for support. We just relied on our own two feet. 

One of the entrances to the caves, with apparent stalactites from the roof. The Tabon Complex has already been proclaimed in 1972 as a National Protected Area. 

                                                                                                                     (photo credit: not mine)
Each cave has a different characteristics, because those considered burial caves have been cleaned of stalactites and stalagmites, making the roof like a clear dome. 

Another cave with still growing stalactites and stalagmites. Mosses, lichens and fungi sometimes give different colors to portions of the caves, giving almost discernible figures of faces and animals. 

Our first camp near the beach is full of coconut trees. We attached 2 hammock in these trees and we had four separate tents. 

My extremely adventurous lady companion can even climb very tall coconuts. She actually just climbed it for the picture, which i took lying on the sand, there was no coconut fruit gathered there. She seemed not to have any difficulty at all, going up and down! Look her weight seemed to be only on the right foot, she is not even holding on tightly there. Oh My God, i cannot even lift my behind even for just a meter up. 

More posts on this trip will be posted soon! 

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