May 14 - A Trip to Pulang Bato Falls and Other Trips
Without second thoughts, after an almost hour-long of packing our lunch in Kabayoan, we found ourselves uphill, momentarily engulfed in wispy white smoke that seeped out of a mountain wall’s crevices. “Sulfur,” Mo said, and then we covered our noses. As the easy-ride trudged forth on the bumpy road, Pulang Bato revealed itself, all true to its very name, down to the last pebble. The riverbed was red. A massacre happened here, I thought and came up with a sapling-of-a-line for a possible poem. Such sight and moment deserved to be immortalized. We immediately plunged into waters, perhaps to wash away the dread of what was to come in the next few days.
For a small city like Dumaguete, visitors from different provinces or countries would be surprised to discover it as a bustling focal point of activities every Saturday night. But the fellows had to read their last week’s manuscripts, so they opted to go up the mountains. I let them be, chaperoning some of them with their errands in the city before nightfall, until Tobey lured me to go up too with the promise of her own pasta dish for the following day’s dinner. I agreed and packed up my things. Yes, sometimes, I am too easy to get.
By the time we arrived in the Writers Village, I became one of the Champaca Boys for the night (and some future nights), with Lean, Miggy, and Glenn sinisterly dropping hints of a coming interrogation that would involve flashlights hovering above my head. Their idea of theatrics was cute.
*Just as I had expected, prejudice aside, the delegates from Mindanao (and interestingly two ladies from Luzon) would spearhead the workshop’s “Feed the World Program.” This is a series of rounds approaching one fellow after the other, asking for generous means to purchase rum, beer, and vodka in the nearest convenience store, with their bottles gleaming like eager orphans waiting to be nursed in the hands of the eager.
(second of eight parts)
Part 1 |