(26 December 2005, Lapu-lapu)
During Christmas Eve, I was constantly checking the skies for the stars. Seeing the stars would mean good weather for the following day. At 3:00AM, I again went outside. I saw the crescent moon instead of the stars being slowly covered by clouds. The weather is not that promising for an early morning photo shoot.
I have scheduled a road trip to Trancentral Highway with two of my friends in our Christian community. As early as 5:00AM of Christmas day, we were taking pictures of Cebu City as seen in Ayala Heights. As soon as it was bright enough we took off on an early trek. We trudged 2.5km of up and down slopes of the Trancentral Highway to a selected vantage point. As of this time, the winds are getting stronger and not a blue piece of the sky is visible. It was a cloudy day.
We again took pictures of the scenic mountain ranges the vantage point has given us. And after long moments of solitude to feel the soft kiss of cold wind, we tarried on.
Aching leg muscles prevailed. We decided to take the habal-habal (motorcycle back riding for a fee) ride to a place called Patag (plains) in the area of Taptap. Upon disembarking, we were then offered with freshly boiled sweet corns for sale. We indulged. We had laughing bouts enjoying the mist coming from our mouths while eating corn. And despite being fresh from the pot, the corn was “amazingly” eatable at a tolerable temperature. Of course, the physics behind it could be explained but in order not to spoil the moment of wonder and awe, we left the physics in the city.
Construction is ongoing for Patag. This place provides a good vista of the mountains thus making it ideal for a restaurant and a mini-park. The area was covered by fog in about 10-minute intervals. The fog would linger on for about 3 minutes or so. Picture taking was limited. I had to constantly wipe my camera’s lens for the droplets of water being sprayed to us by the passing fog and wind. The tents of Patag proved no use. At that time also, the vendors there were starting to roast a pig.
After an hour, we decided to continue way up. We were enticed by the habal-habal drivers of a more scenic place called JVR. We indulged ourselves once more with the sweet corns. At first, we walked up the road. A kind soul accepted our request for a ride. We squatted in the open back of his multicab. The ride was breathtaking. It is breathtaking in three ways. First, the views were really beautiful. There were rock formations covered in rust-colored moss. I wanted to take photographs but there was no opportunity at all. Second, it was raining when we arrived at the boundary of the city of Cebu and the municipality of Balamban. Aside from the freezing temperature that has ably seeped through my jacket, tee shirt and thick layers of adipose tissues, water droplets are hitting my face with no mercy at all. Third, after we climbed in the open back of multicab, the kind soul seemed to have forgotten our presence and drove at top speed. The ride was far, far worse than bumpy. We had to cling at whatever our hands could hold on to. What was funny was that in the middle of the trip, I realized that I was still holding my unfinished ear of corn with a few rows of kernels left. I put it in my bag and decided to finish it once we arrive at JVR. The rain was getting heavier. The driver dropped us at what he thought to be JVR. We scrambled to look for rain cover. After asking a few questions to a local, the driver called us back informing us that JVR is still way up. We climbed in again and took the three-way breathtaking ride.
Finally, we got deliverance. To my surprise, Island in the Sky is known as JVR in Trancentral. However, what was visible of it were a few cottages, a hanging bridge and a restaurant in its topmost area blasting with the sounds of someone singing. We climbed the stairs to the restaurant while I nibbled on the few rows of kernels left in my corn ear. We had brunch.
By this time, around 11:00AM, the rain stopped and visibility is almost zero. We basked in this moment of zero visibility. We walked the road, shouted and we took pictures. The only signs of vehicles were weak yellow lights in the mass of white clouds and the sounds of their roaring engines. Indeed, this was a walk in the clouds.
Another multicab gave us a ride after giving many thumbs up signs to so many near empty private vehicles passing by. This time, the ride was smooth (discounting the smelly and wailing pig of another passenger). We were dropped a few hundred meters away from the boundary of Cebu and Balamban. The multicab is supposed to pick-up a cow along the way and will deliver it to the city. The owner of the cow however decided to forego.
Despite being cut short of that ride, it was still a blessing in disguise. We will definitely be cramped in the back of the multicab together with the cow. I could only wish for the cow not to have nature’s calling.
We walked on. Luck was on our side once again. We had another free ride from a kinder soul who drove us all the way to SM. He was a much better driver than the first one. When we passed by Patag, the roasted pig was being lifted from the live coals.
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