From the take off in Caloocan with the infamous Victory Liner to reach Zambales at ten o’clock in the evening, we knew there was no turning back when we reached at the foot of the mountain range by four the following day.
My last climb happened years and years ago, and the thought of it alone was not comforting. Yes, one can say the trail to Nagsasa Cove is for beginners, but still it is a trail that requires climbing, grappling, sometimes hopping, walking long walks, and enduring a variety of changing landscapes—especially one that, with one wrong footing, will give you a one-way ticket to the bottom of Neverland.
There’s Mount Balingkilat, there’s Mount Cinco Pincos, there’s grass, there are herons, there are trees (not found in Ortigas!). Every element is overwhelming.
And just like any fateful gatherings that set off in a good start, there was the not-so-good end encroaching on our backs like goose bumps or hair standing on their ends. It was time to leave. After all had packed up and jumped for the mandatory jump shot(s), we hopped onto our respective boats by eleven and drifted to Pundaquit.
This is where we bid goodbye to Zambales to return to Manila in classic jeepney-bus-taxi routine. I arrived at home by nine in the evening. It was a long ride—and a very interesting one.