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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

Hindang: What a sleepy town in Leyte has to offer

We are all familiar with its irregular crevices, multiple galleries, entrances, exits and shafts. Its fossil passages are adorned with various stalactites and stalagmites. It’s dark and it’s cold. It’s eerie with its chambers full of secrets awaiting to be unraveled — or not.

Yes, you got it right. I’m referring to the morphology of caves.

Personally, I have not gone to many caves in the country. My up-close encounter would only include Hito-og Cave in Matalom, Hinangdanan Cave in Bohol, Titip Cave in Cebu, and Bontoc Caves in Hindang. The latter, I would say, is the most interesting by far.

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Tell me what stories rest within you.

Found in the sleepy town of Hindang is the thriving Hindang Caves & Wild Monkeys nature park. Locally known as Bontoc Caves, this is just one of the many destinations people can arrange when visiting Leyte. The park is managed by the LGU and for only 20 pesos, you can enjoy an all-day worthwhile leisure.

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Greens!

Upon entering the grounds, my siblings, James and I were warned of our untamed friends. These wild monkeys are local residents of the forest and guests are cautioned to watch their belongings for the monkeys can get playful.

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There are caretakers tasked in feeding the monkeys. 

To get to the caves, one must climb a concrete stairway canopied by tall trees and shrubs. The monkeys remain as onlookers waiting for treats (feeding them is prohibited) or something to steal (hold on to those phones and glasses).

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Stairway to where?

Hindang Caves & Wild Monkeys has 6 to 8 cave system said to have served as refuge to guerillas and protected them from the Japanese bombings during the World War II. Among these are Pandayan Cave, Cathedral Cave, Lili-on Cave, Dahikon Cave, Pandong-Bato Cave, and Lusaron Cave.

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To the huge cathedral

Though dry and lifeless over geological epochs, these limestone solution caves are home to several life forms that are attracting (or deterring) tourists. The biggest and most interesting of eight is the Cathedral Cave.

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Cathedral Cave

I added deterring because not all tourists would dare to enter this particular cave. It is home to thousands of bats above and millions of cockroaches, crickets and other crawling creatures below.

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This looks like an entrance to a dragon’s lair

At the entrance, one can already hear the squeaks and squawks that bats make in their roosts. Cathedral Cave is a naturally lighted cavern lit by sunlight which filters through a hole in the ceiling. It is a picturesque spot, however, the challenge is making it through the center. Aside from enduring the noise and the rancid smell of bat droppings or guano, one must brave walking to a cave floor filled with roaches. They glisten in faint light and you can feel them crawling on the ground.

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Those faint little lights below are roaches!

James and I went deeper into the cave but had to turn our backs. I felt drops of urine on my skin while James was treated with a nice splatter of guano on his shirt. Perhaps we’ll try our luck next time.

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The closest spot we could get

We headed to Pandong-Bato Cave where locals put cemented tables and chairs for visitors to rest. It also offers a view of Hindang and Hilongos lowlands, as well as a glimpse of Canigao Island.

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My weekend buds

Pandayan Cave is the second of the largest chambers and is more accessible because it’s empty. Despite its barren stalactites and stalagmites, the cave still strikes an interest with its random formations. The rest of the interconnected cave complex are accessible only through spelunking.

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Entrance to Pandayan Cave
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An interesting column
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Limestone formations in Pandayan Cave
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Exit to another world

To cap the nature park experience, guests may also ride the zipline from the mountaintop. Himokilan, one of the islands comprising Cuatro Islas, is also under the administrative jurisdiction of Hindang. I suggest though to take a 30-minute drive to the Diving Board located in Brgy. San Vicente and for only 5 pesos complete your summit to sea escapade. 🙂

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A glimpse of Himokilan Island from Diving Board
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Waving sunset.

Since 2011, Hindang Caves & Wild Monkeys is one of the four caves assessed by DENR-8 as part of its development and protection program. Even before the Paleolithic Era, men have lived and survived with bare hands, sticks and stones. And these caves carry much more story than any book could provide. So let’s take care of them, shall we?


sdr

If you ever go and do it for the Gram, take your trash with you — every piece, every gram.

Negros Oriental Backpacking: Twin Lakes

A month before our Mt. Talinis climb, I went to Negros Oriental to celebrate a special day. I was supposed to feel a year older — a year wiser — but coming into this strange place awakened the childlike excitement in me.

Where to go? What to do?

I do not have a good sense of direction and James did not have a strict itinerary. In the end, we only relied our sense of wonder and wander. But guess what? It was all that we needed.

Giddy feet!

Continue reading “Negros Oriental Backpacking: Twin Lakes”

Snippet: Another ‘what if’

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What if love is not just about falling? We romanticize so much this act of tripping, slipping, losing control and crashing into another person that we forget that love isn’t always a downward act. It is should not be qualified as sacrificial to the point of self-destruct. Because you see, the beauty of love is not only seen in our collapse, but in how it builds the best version of ourselves. It’s not just about what we give up but how we lift our person up.

“I’ll take care of myself for you and you’ll take care of yourself for me.”

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

 


I was skimming through my unpublished posts when I came across this draft. A while ago, I had a conversation with a friend on whether or not we should quantify love by the amount of material, time, attention, effort, and sacrifice we give and receive. We had opposing opinions on the matter but it made me reflect a thing or two about relationships. This is one of those what ifs.

Oh la lango: A Pedaled Story in Olango Island

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”

No man could better say this than Ernest Hemingway, one of 20th century’s literary giants. At a young age, we were taught to ride a bike, to pedal away without a care in the world, to bask under the heat of the sun, and to come home with skins glistening with sweat. But as the years pass, our priorities change. We no longer have the luxury of time to relive simple childhood joys. Life, in its most pragmatic way, has pushed us to channel our energy in surviving. But are we living?

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Island Vibe ❤

Continue reading “Oh la lango: A Pedaled Story in Olango Island”

Out of Rich

lying beneath the stars
lulled to sleep by cicadas
waking up to summer mornings
with the song of the birds
this is what happy looks like
this is how we should feel
yes, i may not be rich
yet happiness is on my reach
MS


In response to dVerse’s Quadrille hosted by Kim who challenges to play around the rich inspiration brought by the word RICH.

Like it or not, we have come to live in a world that is obsessed with possession. One must have this or that — nothing is ever enough. Everything feels like race. We always have to have the next big thing, to be the first in line. We are tricked to think that we need to achieve something momentous, earn and spend bags of cash, quantify happiness with materialism. This is why I treasure life’s simple joys in the midst of all its toxicity. Last weekend, my friends and I decided to go on a night trek and camp at Bocaue Peak (also known as Muffin Peak). Even if it was just for a short span of time, we were away from the thoughts of worldly possessions and one with the natural world.

Head over here to join the prompt!

dverse

My Universe in Verse

According to current thinking, the observable universe is about 93 billion light years in diameter. I am no astronomy expert and the likes of Edwin Hubble would probably disagree when I say that there was a time when the universe molded itself into the right shape to fit just two people.

That day we hiked the trail to the peak expecting to find the place crowded with campers. But it was uncommonly empty. Right then my selfish side wished that no one would ever come. Coelho must have known that when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. Because no one did arrive. We had the billion-star accommodation all for ourselves.

I’ve always wondered what they meant when they said that the universe is infinite. Were they referring to the cosmic wonders from without or to those from within? That night we measured trajectories — not of falling comets but of falling hearts. At daybreak, I caught a momentary silhouette backlit by the rising sun. My sunset man. And what astronomers have not observed is this: sometimes all the mysteries of the universe is found in someone’s hand.

the wide universe
seized to be scientific—
poetic, it was

MS

 

 


In response to dVerse’s Haibun Monday: The Picnic hosted by Gina who challenges to share some picnic themed poems.

Here’s one of my favorite memories with one of my favorite people. The title is inspired by The Universe in Versean annual celebration of science through poetry hosted by Maria Popova at Pioneer Works and The Academy of American Poets

Head over here to join the prompt!

dverse

Worry Not

ours was forged by something greater than hands intertwined. remember how time has showed us how small this world is? from poetry, paperbacks, and people, we found each other on the same path. it took years but what is meant to be will always find its way, so they say. so i need you not to worry.

when i find myself
alone beneath the cerulean sky
i will walk without a sigh, carrying thoughts
of mountains, coffee, and your smile

when you find yourself
waking on a midnight as i drift away
in sleep, a deep slumber that you can’t reach
those are dreams of you i’m chasing

when both time and zones
seem to divide and pull us apart
i promise you we’ll get through it
we will navigate the world of adults

ours isn’t perfect and we haven’t figured everything out yet. but we will— piece by piece, day by day, night by night. we will learn and grow together… and separately. because what is meant to be will always find its way. and the universe is on our side.MS

Mt. Talinis: Where expectation meets reality

btr

Do you prefer hiking with a specific group of people or do you like seeing new faces? At its core, mountain climbing is not just about reaching the top. Most often, what matters most are the experiences and memories we shared along the trail. And admit it, when you look at those instagrammable photos, your mind travels back to the conversations, big or small. Those candid laughter, comfortable jokes and banters, little slips, unguarded expressions, and many more.

This is why WHO you go in the mountains with counts. Friends or strangers, each has its pros and cons that can make or break the success of any climb.

If this was two years ago, I would avoid any chance of meeting new faces. But the mountains had taught me the beauty of building connections… in nature and in people. So now I don’t mind — at least not much. Continue reading “Mt. Talinis: Where expectation meets reality”

Laro tayo ng lokohan

Laro tayo ng lokohan
Bilang inaraw-araw mo na rin lang
Ang magpaloko sa ex mong makupal
Siguro naman ngayon,
Alam mo nang laruin ‘to

Pag sinabi kong kasalanan nila—
Ng mga NPA at komunista
At mga adik na kasing-liit ng daga
Maniwala ka

Wag kang magtiwala sa mga balita
Sa ingay ng mga aktibista
Na pilit ginigising
Ang iyong kamalayan
Manalig ka

Manatili kang nanampalataya
Sa sarili mong diyos na mapang-mura
Syang nakapanig na sa masa
At panig pa sa Tsina—
Siya lang ang tama

Silang mga butil ang ipinunla
Na ngayo’y umaani ng bala
Ay hindi marunong sumunod sa batas
At nagtatago lamang sa anino ng dahas

Silang mga isang kahig at isang tuka
Na ngayo’y sa kalsada nakabulagta
Ay hindi na dapat paramihin
Nang matigil na ang mga krimen

Laro tayo ng lokohan
Bilang inaraw-araw mo na rin lang
Ang magpaloko sa ex mong makupal
Siguro naman ngayon,
Alam mo nang laruin ‘to

Babalik-balikan ko
Ang mga linya
At mga pangako
Uulit-ulitin ko
Ang mga bula
Nang magtunog totoo

At kagaya ng laro niyo ng ex mo,
Kung sino man ang maloko dito ay talo.


Happy #NationalPoetryWritingMonth. Don’t be fooled, Pilipinas!

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