Waka Waka Feels to Kawa Kawa Falls

It’s probably not as grand compared to the other hyped, more-loved, and well-established falls in the country but Marinduque’s less-travelled gem called Kawa-Kawa Falls, has its fair share of those best-of-nature’s-works, which I think makes it as a worthy side trip once your feet lands on the historic home of the Moriones. Situated at the remote and forested area in Bancuangan, Sta. Cruz, it would surely take a few calories to burn to reach it, noting the slightly uphill trudge of that long hard road. But fret not because all the efforts await an end that’s satisfaction-guaranteed. (For further falls details, read: here)

The trek started after a few moments of rest freshly from the Maniuaya Island jaunt. We pushed through with this third nature destination in our itinerary despite the lack of previous night’s good sleep which cues for a very timid and lazy Sunday afternoon (there it goes, the suggestive waka waka feels). But then we had to move forward and stick to the plan, and soon enough we made our way there. Despite the disappointingly drop-wise flow of the water during that time (since it was summer season) and the uninviting feel out of tiredness, my nerves that long for a refreshing plunge still prevailed to have a test on the waters. Surprisingly it’s deep, in simple ways. Summing the pluses and the negatives up, the falls still has a lot to boast about.

For one, the falls is blessed being inhabited by a school of fishes that offers an instant foot spa. Upon dipping on to the ice-cold water, these fish species promptly feasted on our feet’s dead and callused skin like there’s no tomorrow, nature’s own brand of luxurious pedicure so to say. And the tickling sensations they bring are way too relaxing in effect. In turn, they are getting food from what’s supposed to be our body’s garbage. Mutualism, defined.

Yet another majestic feature of this falls is its intimately-private feel. Usually, there were practically not much visitors around the area. Though during our visit there was that one group who were there before we came. The lush green shrubs and tall trees extending around it effortlessly give the shady atmosphere. The indulging rivulet, the natural cleanness, and the refreshing coolness, all count to its being a wondrous get away. Really, seldom do people go to that place, which practically preserves the next point which is..

Peace, serenity, and freedom in the wild. The calmness and quietness of the place is such a music to the ears – from the birds’ joyous chirps that echoes, to the insects’ rhythmic screeches, and the whistles of the swaying trees that graciously dances, everything’s just in perfect harmony, suggesting a pretty good eargasm for me. The detachment from noise and buzz of the busy streets in such a strangely feral scene is one of my nature engrossments, being one totally obsessed with the idea of solitude in such exquisite settings.

It was franticly getting dusky when we decided to get on our feet and leave the darkling woods. And it took us just the right time to walk to where we’ll stay the night before everything turned to a complete gloom.

Note: Waka here simply means do it.

Breaking Leg in Bagumbungan Cave

Before our Maniuaya Island spree, we had this short spelunking course to a lesser popular destination in Marinduque called Bagumbungan Cave located at Brgy. San Isidro, Sta. Cruz. And by less popular, I simply mean it’s not yet fully known to public as a tourist destination. According to the local guides, the cave was discovered five years ago, and since then the local government has been doing efforts to protect it and at the same time promote it as a tourist attraction. Out of stress and tiredness from the long overnight bus-and-boat-combo-ride from Los Banos to Marinduque, we hopelessly hopped to our first destination few ticks after the much-needed brunch. The sun was radiating sultrily matching the excitement we feel while going through that long bumpy, arid, and dusty ride. It took us at least an hour before finally greeted by the cave’s welcome sign.

The cave is under the protection of DENR and the local government’s tourism office, thus environmental and guide fees (totaling 150 PhP per head) were collected prior to the drill, with a considerable discount for students, and inclusive of the much needed protective hard hat with built-in flashlights (headlamps). There was also another option to do a longer cave course which will lead to the other end of the cave (sort of traverse), however, we opted to avail the shorter trail due to time constraint. After all, there will always be another chance for that next time.

Eight of us converged on the orienteer’s seats for instructions and cave rules. After the quick and informative laying of directions, we eagerly geared up and walked a few meters before reaching the cave’s opening. I knew the course is not for faint-hearted, I would admit I have claustrophobic tendencies, plus I ignorantly associate caves with ghouls and goblins, so I needed to set those fears aside for that mean time. And before getting lost on that dark hole, we took some mandatory shots

The sight and feel was a sinister mix of dark and cold and filth the moment we sat our feet down the steep ravine of laddered entrance pitch. The pungent smells of the stinky trogloxenes and troglobites guano, I mean bat poop, were all over the place. Add up their annoying screeches but eventually turn into music to my ears. For the next few moments, we were just some tiny creatures of the earth spending the day on what seems to be holes beneath the ground, dilating pupils to a quarter size. Few more walks and we’re greeted by such famously amazing caving things called stalactites and stalagmites.

And the journey continues with those body-wrecking stunts and long dry crawls needed to fit ourselves on those unbelievably narrow and scrotty passages made of stockpiled large stones. There were parts of the trail where every step should be as careful as the other not to miss the right one or else something untoward will happen. There were pointy rocks as well as slippery ones, thus, it’s best to be in the best shoes. In my case I only had a pair of slippers with me so things went a little bit harder than what I expected. Mea culpa, on that account.

Crossing the cold, waist-deep frosty water was the next obstacle. Within seconds, my toes and knees were but a numb zombified flesh. To add more, there was that tingly sensation of what seems to be dump mud underfeet as we walked our way across it due to coconut husks allegedly from the residential areas. Though, that was not terrifying as it sounds. We barely made through it anyway. There were also moments when the trails were sandy and grainy. Talk about diversity.

A few cracks towards our protracted endpoint, the rocks started to become very slippery with ceilings that are relatively low characterized by pointy vertical ridges, quite looking weird for me. After further cascades, with moments of flat-out crawlings, and awkward letterbox climbs – we finally reached our turning point they markedly call as falls. Sadly I forgot the exact name.

And then we were there. Just before we finally decided to return, we rested for a while, admired the eerily-shaped rocks in front of us, and fondly did a surprise activity (courtesy of our dear tour guides), which I refuse to share details here. You have to experience it yourself. Their goal was to let us appreciate little things around us – which is the real cherry on top of this cake. It's one of the many perks of travelling, being educated beyond the four corners of our classrooms, beyond the limits of what our textbooks has to offer. 

We then started walking back to where we have entered; eventually giving us a view of that much coveted light once more, as we finally reached the mouth of the cave, and generously gave a final sight of such sarcophagus we just came out from. 


Maniwaya Island: Your Beach is my Command

Truth be told, paradise do exist. 

Situated at the far north-eastern part of Marinduque is Maniuaya Island, the paradise at large that is ironically small in the map. Saying it’s underrated is prolly an understatement; I’m afraid I could not give justice picking the proper adjectives there is upon writing this, thus, it’s still best if you’ll see it yourself and give it the praise it deserves, as doing such is way too out of my expertise. However, to put things in their simplest forms, let's get to a common notion on it's main asset: the beach.

Fresh from a tiring cave stretch we previously had, we jumped our way to this haven with a boat chartered exclusively for the group, at late past noontime. Since I never had any overnight island experience prior to this, I have nothing to compare the experience with. But my hopes were sky-high that this would be an excellent one merely by considering the distance we had to travel just to reach this one. We were practically miles away from the busy city streets and I could help but imagine the raw beauty waiting for us at the end of the stride. Perhaps. I wasn't mistaken.

As soon as the boat pulled off, the vibe was great with clear skies decorated with the searing sun and the breeze leaving a cooling skin touch. The waves were awesomely cool and occasionally challenging at the same time gracing us a bumpy but perfect ride. I was too restless and sleepy at that moment out of tiredness but the ride was too good to lose a glance at. So I was practically all-eyes all throughout the voyage merrily feasting my eyes with the amazingly clear turquoise waters, keeping in mind we were venturing a beaten path, in which, where my heart is. We were merrily feeling the breeze and unbelievably praising the crystal clear waters as we stride and in about an hour, our feet were finally chasing the island’s mix of fine and sugary but white sands.

We arrived at the unspoiled, obscured, rugged destination just in the nick of time. The sun was still up but was fast approaching the horizon in nearly less than an hour. We took a few minutes appreciating the entire scene before capturing some moments as the sun was also ghastly leaving. The plan was to leave this island the next day before the clock’s hands strike the top of the hour, thus we made it to the point not to miss the grand sunset before our very eyes. Well enough, we did get one hell of a good shoot, and it’s a proud feeling to present these ones. Credits go to the respective photographers who took these shots.

Comes night-time and we’ve had enough of the beach course, but the adventure was totally not over yet. For the night was dark and full of adventures, we celebrated ourselves with a bottle of light, a handful of laughs, and music under the cloudless sky, before finally treating ourselves a very satisfying night’s sleep. The next day came, and we never had enough of the island’s offers yet thus we had another round of beach exploration before packing up.

Despite such short stay, I could say that the island itself was great, much to relaxation and serenity it has purportedly showed me. We could have stayed there a little longer but our itinerary points us to leave before the lunchtime. True enough, we really had no idea what good things are coming our way after that.. to be continued

I will find the right words and they will be simple

The last time I dropped by here, I was very inspired and positive about my writing to resume again, update this site since I have pile of stories to tell. Unfortunately, I still find it hard to kick things for a good start that all I could do are broken and lame opening lines, eventually left hanging, gravely ending in trash.

I will find the right words and they will be simple.

Of Travels, Troubles, and True Balls

I have been going on around a few destinations for the past year. And while thinking of what has been, what could have been, and what will be, a few things are crossing my mind as I’m hopelessly stuck right now (and for the next few months), dead broke. Again. For some reason, I won’t be having my salary at hand right on time, which means me and the apartment will be a solid team. That being said, I think I’ll be having more time to finally write about all those things that happened during the summer. But before telling those tales on trails, I found it timely to look back and review some quick notes, kind of preview in itself – of what I’m expecting myself to write about on my recent previous travels.

Life isn’t about making more money than we know how to spend. It’s not always about the money. I remember a certain instance in Sagada when we were haggling for a deal, asking for a discount, arguing we were just some poor travellers who happen to find ourselves thirsty for Sagada ― with a tour guide who blatantly spanked me that such thing as poor traveller does not exist (to which I hugely disagree). I strongly believe that it should never cost us the world to see the world. I am poor but I manage to travel every now and then because I simply choose not to deny myself the simple pleasure of travelling while I still have the time, just enough money, and much energy to travel. Of course, it goes without saying that travelling could really be costly; and budgets, figures, and numbers are usually an issue. But it shouldn’t always be. Take my case: what I have is a job with no promise of security, continuity, and conformity, thus all I earn is just a bit more than enough for basic needs. Thus, I usually  plan for trips to afford it, and thankfully I always find a way with it. There is internet out there and most of the time I go for diy trips, follow the backpacker path, for huge cut on costs. With careful research and a mouthful of adventurous frame of mind, everything was insofar turning out just fine.

Nothing is as far away as a minute ago. Time and time again. Aside from resources, time is yet another essential element when travelling. Working for five days a week, time is a huge consideration, aside from the usual problem on tight budget. Indeed, holidays and long weekends never fail to give chills, as these are rare and must-not-miss opportunities to travel. Though I’m a huge fan of crash trips, I always deem time as a travel issue. It may not be obvious but travelling is cheaper with more time. Let alone the case of booking for plane rides. Having more time means more opportunities to compare ticket prices and study those surcharges, taxes, and terminal fees offered by different airlines. Further looking at time from another perspective, life is a race but there are certain humps and loops that require us to slow down for a smoother ride. Life doesn’t have to always be fast-paced, revolving entirely on our careers. Travelling every now and then while the time permits isn’t that bad, we can always make money, but time and memories not.

You always have to make the plan that things never go as planned when travelling. There’s almost always a little tendency that something would not go as planned for every trip. That frustrating feeling when interventions happen such as getting lost, missing the last trip, badass weather, etc. Extensive research usually helps but there are just some things which are way beyond our control. I myself experienced getting lost in the middle of trails while climbing mountains, getting caught in storm while hiking, among other unexpected troubles. But at the end of them all it just left me wiser. And definitely stronger.

A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles. Unfortunately, there is this long list of travel buddies we just don’t want to travel with. Fortunately, I am blessed with good mix of bad and ones that I rather end up thinking if I’m the travel buddy they, at any time of the day, would want to trade with, if they have the chance. lol. Seriously, there are those inevitable instances when people turn out to be some people other than what we expect them to be. But the bigger picture presents that a deeper understanding and acceptance of each other’s imperfections is the key to a harmonious travel. After all, travelling isn’t all just for relaxation but also an opportunity to understand people both old and new, and eventually learn about and from them and learn from and about you through them. Been to good solo trips before, but still, the best ones were those I did with friends.

You’ll never find your limits until you’ve gone too far. The moment we step out of our own comfort zones where risks and dangers present themselves, that crystalline moment shatters, the unknown and the scary thing becomes a normal part of ourselves, and endless possibilities unfold after the other. This is by far one of the best magics travelling has done to me. A year ago I was a dead meat when it comes to heights and yet I climbed mountains, I was generally shy but I eventually learned to reach out asking for directions from locals, and greet and even trust strangers. It turned out travelling wasn’t only a physical challenge, but a mental one. It was a test of character which paved the way to a handful of self-discoveries by giving me countless chances to experience things, to reflect with an open mind, find out what I really like, deal with various mood swings, and eventually grow some balls and properly play them.


Linkin Park | Final Masquerade

Arguably the best Hunting Party track, ‘Final Masquerade’ is ironically not of a tinge of Meteora and Hybrid Theory, two of the most dangerously glorious albums of Linkin Park, in which I must say, should not be an issue at all as people keep on arguing and comparing these Linkin Park’s present and past shits, all and more. I mean there’s no real point in finding those ‘In The End’ feels out of today’s hunt OR not, who cares. Both ends are good dibs anyways. Linkin Park might have evolved into something of some sort OR back to their original sound, which is an inevitable part of musical growth that which I bet some people must’ve forgot to live up to. The bottom line is, eat ‘Final Masquerade’ and the Hunting party as they are. Linkin Park has the most complicated fans out there, so this riot is crystal clearly seen as its coming. Going back, while the track is elegantly aggressive in a lot of beautiful ways as its flowery appeal, the lyrics are quite shady. No need to further explain.

John Martin | Love Louder

John Martin, one of the best vocalists I know today and the voice behind smash hits such as Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ and Tinie Tempah’s ‘Children in the Sun’ is finally set to re-release the progressive, ‘Love Louder’, previously recorded with David Guetta as ‘[ID] Love a Little Louder’ a little over a year ago. The first few notes (of the David Guetta version) are reminiscent of ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ with a subtle twist of the signature David Guetta groove, and as soon as John Martin starts with “chasing summer..” you instantly feel something good’s coming up. Overall, it’s a truly sophisticated track – upbeat, tasteful, catchy, totally a no-nonsense shit, shrewdly refreshing. A lot of music that crosses our ears are so dressed up that once you strip them down, gives a pile of gravy-less mashed potatoes, or a fried chicken that’s 90 per cent dressing, in some cases; a skewed example of the whole being less than the sum of its parts. Such track, is not one of them.

Moving on to the anticipated John Martin solo version, all the hype is currently freaking me out. It’s one of the hardest tracks out there to describe. It’s not every fucking day that we’re showered with such intricate tracks compelled to give mixed vibes, that could possibly send someone spiralling out into a vast universe inside his own head. It's a love song to begin with, but with traces of unrequitedness in it. Thus, it’s not purely uplifting with its twisted, pretentiously, hopeful, and hopeless lyrics ― and likewise ― the effect is surprisingly contrasting too. At one side it’s inspirational, while on the other, it’s imaginarily delusional, creating a controlled madness or something like that in empty spaces. Its beauty is solely in the ears of the listener.

Klangkarussell | Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain)

While the Starks will have to be bothered yet again for another year before 'Winter is Coming’ comes back on screen, the sun here in Ph shows no winter is coming (as if), as the summer season keeps on extending. Thus, comes a good summer anthem; recall massive ‘Sonnentanz’ a few years ago. Klangkarussell’s newest track called ‘Netzwerk’, deliciously synthpop in its core, is different from any song around at the moment. This re-proves the duo's capability of making tasty music, that even at a point in time when I don’t really demand myself the need to listen to it, I crave.

But perhaps, the more amazing thing about it is its vid featuring Mustang Wanted,  totally injuring my psyche after watching the whole clip, that I found it indispensable to write about it. I mean what’s wrong with this man dangling himself on those skyscrapers, cranes, and whatever those tall structures are, for a wrecking roof party.. It’s totally eye-gluing, heart-fainting, mind-blowing, and not to mention, it's terribly earth shattering perfect. That which reminds me back to a lesson from the distant Game of Thrones’ pilot episode pointing on Brandon Stark – be careful boy, winter is still coming.

O-Town | Skydive

I just finished watching this certain Kara David docu about skydiving a while ago which reminded me of this track I happen to come across a few days ago but failed to write something about. It's an O-town track, actually their first one in 11 years, a dramatic piano ballad called ‘Skydive’. In all fairness, it’s catchy, except that it’s quite overdone with all four of them  belting, lungs out. And though it follows the typical boyband track formula as 10 years ago, the lyrics' maturity is very evident this time, woven into straightforward and simplistic approach, which I think is enoughly fine. I think that’s all.

There’s a girl with a yellow umbrella for everyone

I’m quite unsure how will long will I ever stop watching that certain HIMYM clip of The Mother drowning over the sentimental La Vie En Rose in ukulele while Ted Mosby on the other side of the wall lethargically nosing round. That every single fucking time I don’t know what to do, I always end up having my eyes, ears and all of me, hopelessly glued over it, hoping it would sort of serve as deus ex machina but instead finding myself ending up complicating my thoughts even more, like.. right now. 

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