I gained a lot of insights during our Man’s Trip, but I can hear a lot of you asking, “But what happened?”
Ok, so literally NOBODY asked that question.
I rode up to Banaue and saw one of the most stunning views imaginable. As we gained altitude, the scenery began to change. We saw rushing lakes, beautiful waterfalls, green fields, beautiful houses, and even Pine Trees. Yes! Pine Trees in The Philippines! Ok, so granted, they were brought in by missionaries and have taken over, but they were still amazing!
I got to drink brewed coffee from that region! Not too bad.*
I also got to experience sweet sweet Betel Nut. Ok, so Betel Nut is horrible. I am not a fan of it, but for some odd reason, in the context of Man’s Trip, it was fun. Though Bryan and I had a really bad Betel Nut Trip one night.**
Another unique experience for me was hiking along (and on top of, and into, and under, etc.) The 8th Wonder of the World!*** Just getting there was crazy enough. The road was so bumpy and rocky, we were sure death was just around the corner. Just one wrong bump and our vehicle would be flying off the side of a mountain.
The other interesting part of that particular experience, was seeing the sight where Julia Campbell, a former Peace Corps Volunteer, died. That was sobering. An orange marker was the only indication that something happened there. On our way back, we took a break at that spot, in her honor.
After hiking the rice terraces, we spent one more night in Banaue. The next trip was to Sagada. Yet another marvelous view on the way up. We turned our respective music devices on and had an amazing ride. We even had to put long-sleeves on! We were so excited to actually feel cold in The Philippines!
On our first day there we took a short hike to a waterfall! It was beautiful and I got to have yet another new experience. I jumped off and into a waterfall!
According to a friend the perspective makes it seem like it’s not very high. Well, in case you were wondering, it’s about 7 meters (almost 23ft.). What makes that jump particulary scary, is that you cannot see where you’re jumping, until after you jump. Some humans would call it a leap of faith, I presume.
The last experience of Man’s Trip was trekking through guano. I mean, we went through a cave. Near the entrance you can see The Hanging Coffins. And yes, they are just hanging in the cave. As you might imagine, coffins just hanging around in a cave do indeed fall to the ground. And yes, they do open and you can see …
Hanging out with some girls (yuck), lots of booze, Katie, meeting plenty of Germans, giving The French yet ANOTHER reason to scoff at US Americans, making horrible drunken song recordings, and meeting Father Time – Master of Nature-gasm.
To the men of Man’s Trip 2010 –
“They say we’re wasting our lives. Oh, at least we know, that if we die – we lived with passion…” – Burn This City by Cartel
Try to never miss an opportunity to live life. Especially since you probably only have one of them.**** This excludes cats.
– Brandon Holly –
*Brewed coffee is a treat. Generally speaking, if you are a volunteer in The Phillies, you only get instant coffee. It does the trick, but it’s not the same.
**We got super light-headed and nauseous.
***It’s self-proclaimed, but it is a very valid claim. Specifically considering that they were built using man power alone, with no modern equipment, and over 2,000 years ago!
****I say probably because I recently listened to a very interesting podcast about reincarnation.
P.S. – I also wanted to relay one other experience I had outside of Man’s Trip. It’s not big enough for it’s own post and not small enough to just make it a facebook status update. (Ha ha ha)
This past weekend I went island hopping with a couple of PCVs and a friend of one of them at my home site. The bangka we took had a hole in it, so I and two Filipinos got off of the boat so that the hole would stay above the water.
The sun was setting by the time the boat came back to get us. Rain clouds rolled in as well. The effect was beautiful. The sky became a beautiful grey-blue accented with slivers of orange light. As soon as we took off the cool breeze flowed past our skin. It was light and soothing. Next, a light rain began to fall upon us.
I closed my eyes and raised my head to the sky to take it all in. A tap on my shoulder revealed to me what was ahead of us. It was an extremely vivid rainbow. The boat was going to pass underneath it. My mind was blown by how beautiful this moment was becoming. Another tap on my shoulder was followed by the question, “Why is their rainbow?” The innocence of the question touched me. I answered scientifically (and in broken Tagalog) first, “Well, ilaw galing sa araw pumapasok sa tubig – um, pagkatapos pwede kang makita maraming kulay sa langit” (Literal Translation: Light from the sun enters water – um, after you can see a lot of colors in the sky) She said, “Oh” genuinely interested, but ultimately confused. I then said, “Maybe it’s just a sign of good luck, eh?” She smiled and laughed, “Yeah”
Definitely one of the few real “Holy Moments” of my life. I think I felt like this guy, but internally and without the 3 and a half minute youtube video. Actually, I’m probably worse because I wrote a blog about it. Hahahaha!