To this day, I can still vividly remember that my mom once brought home a book of Filipino myths and legends. I suppose that it opened my 8-year-old mind to a fascinating yet quirky culture that is Filipino. My mind is a wee bit hazy with the details of the stories, but I can recall that one of the stories says that the scattered islands of the Philippines were born from the brawl that two giants had. Intriguingly ludicrous, isn’t it?
All this, according to my granny’s granny, is the reason why there are plenty of beautiful mountains in the Philippines. So, yeah, thanks to the two giants who threw enormous masses of soil at each other—they unintentionally formed a face on earth that we are now enjoying because of its inviting beauty.
We can also guess that this is the reason why the teachers and students at F2F are willing to go through all the pain of hiking and climbing mountains just to reach a panoramic view of Philippine nature. It’s not every day that you will marvel at nature, but it will definitely fill every succeeding day with energy and positivity. It’s ironic—it will physically exhaust you, yet it will sustain you with enough battery to carry on through your days.
The easiest ascent I did with F2F teachers is Mt. Talamitam. It is a more or less one-hour drive from the school. We started through the woods, where we slipped a thousand times because of the mud. It had rained the night before, the guide said. After the woods, there is a field where cows are grazing. An hour later, we reach the top of the mountain, and even the first-time hikers claimed that it is worth all the slips, small cuts and bucketful of sweat.
Mt. Marami, on the other hand is the most difficult. And when I say difficult, I mean you are going to wonder why you are punishing yourself. I almost lost the will to live. Haha! It is not a good idea to climb the mountain in a day. Our friends and I thought that it would have been better to spend a night there. Besides the sky turns magical at night—you would feel suspended in the air with the infinite stars. Like really. I hate that I don’t have a picture to share it with you. Just try to picture it for now.
The most impressive hike though is in Daraitan, in Rizal. The people, the place, the mountains, the river, the view—everything is perfect. The most stunning here is the river. You will see the dancing of the colors white and black stones that surround the pristine river. Despite its cold, it is too inviting for a plunge!
You see, even if I hammered all the beautiful words in English, I still wouldn’t be able to give justice to the beauty of Philippine nature. Guess this is also the reason my granny’s granny just made up legends to explain my country’s origin—surreal stories for a surreally wonderful country. Not even Neil deGrasse Tyson would win an argument with my granny’s granny. Haha!