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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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life lessons

The Witching Hour

It’s 3 am.

I wake up to the monotonous sound of the fan. An unpleasant feeling starts to claw its way out of my chest and I begin to understand why they call this time of the day ‘the witching hour’.

Perhaps because here, in the quiet, we get to sit side by side with the unknown. That feeling of being sad, anxious, drained and lost for no apparent reason. Or maybe we simply just can’t pinpoint.

Many times I have put my heart out only to end up more dejected. You see, when you have all the reasons to be happy, people think you can’t feel otherwise. When you do, they ask you why. As if I am not as equally frustrated finding out the reason myself.

Somebody once told me that perhaps I’m being ungrateful. I have caring friends and family. A stable job. A pile of books. A passion in writing and exploring the outdoors. I have found love and life. So why would I not be okay?

I look to my left hoping that the bare wall knows the answer. It does not. An hour has passed yet there is still a clamor in my head. I want to go out for a long walk. But I fear they might burn me like they did to witches.

Mt. Pinatubo: A 42km Golden Adventure

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Sunrise ❤

“Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”

The classic story of the phoenix is that of resilience and hope. For centuries, this mythical bird became a symbolic reminder of people who has risen from the ashes. Those who bounced back up after their world came crashing down. Those who built themselves after falling apart.

Most of us talk about the phoenix but rarely of the flame. Just as how in life we see more of the outcome and less of the process. That is why this entry is not just about standing above the crater of Mt. Pinatubo. It is about zooming in to the beauty of the disaster we found during our 42-kilometer hike.

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You do note! XD

Mount Pinatubo straddles at the tripoint boundary of the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga. This active stratovolcano is known for its colossal eruption back in 1991. But what once was a site of destruction is now a place of excitement for many.

Organized by Jeffrey of Bandana Stories, I along with James, Chiarra, Carol, Lovely, Belle, Ivan, Intet, Charie, Nicole, Stefan and Maureen packed our bags and headed north of Luzon.

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Into the cracks

The most popular gateway to Mt. Pinatubo is in Capas, Tarlac. Here, it involves an hour 4×4 ride in a lahar field and a 3km trek to the crater lake. However, there is an alternative route passing through the Golden Trail in Porac, Pampanga, which offers a completely different experience. A relatively new trail compared to the Delta V Trail (via Sapang Uwak) which is known to most hikers, Golden Trail flaunts a 42km trek that would take you to sandy flats, shallow streams and rocky terrain.

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It’s a long way from home…

We left the jump off point at 1 am. During the first few hours, we hiked through a seemingly endless volcanic sand. The trail was mostly plain and open which can be arduous to those who climb during the day when the sun is up. To the untrained eyes, we’d probably look like predators with our headlamps illuminating in the dark. It was almost 3 hours on dusty lahar before we reached the first campsite. We we were supposed to have our breakfast but due to unforeseen circumstances, it took our porters (who carried all our food and cooksets) 2 hours to reach the place.

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Two hours in the waiting.

With our itinerary delayed, each of us knew that we’d have to double our next pacing to reach our target.

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These sand mountains look like toblerones from afar.
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Open terrain

After eating, we continued into the barren plains and soon reached the landslide area which caught most of us by surprise. This used to be part of the mountains surrounding the plains where 4×4 trail mods pass through. Now, they’re huge sand boulders that we needed to walk into.

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Landslide area
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Barely fitting

We skidded and slid, scooting and crawling on fours. At some point, our guides had to take our backpacks because we can’t fit into the gap. It ends with a final descent going to the river.

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Careful steps
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Down the river

By the time we reached the riverbed, most of us changed from hiking shoes to sandals. This part of the 42km trek requires multiple river crossings for hours. The water is mostly shallow but the current could be strong at times. It’s a good and refreshing shift from hours of walking on dry sand.

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Multiple river crossings
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Loving the view.

Reaching Inararo Falls, a 50-feet high single-tiered cascade, meant that we were finally close. We took a little time appreciating its beauty then moved forward with the hike.

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Inararo Falls

It was almost 11:30 when we reached Ana-an falls, also known as Mt. Pinatubo Twin Falls. We had to climb atop the waterfalls where the campsite is located. Gathering our remaining strength, we faced the ascending trail and arrived just in time for the light rain.

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Ana-an Falls

After having our lunch and pitching our tents, we continued our with hike to the crater lake which was still 2 hours away. In contrast to the barren plains we passed by earlier, the terrain going to the summit was ringed with lush mountains. It reminded us of Dalaguete’s landscapes. Who would have thought spew of lahar devastated these verdant greens?

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Dalaguete feels!
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Hi Char!
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Survivors 😀

The trek this time was easier since we were not carrying full packs. Soon enough, we got a glimpse of the crater lake which took our breaths away. It was a sweet reward after a day of long walk, sun burn, and sticky sweat.

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The crater. ❤
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The pair. Aw.
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Mt. Pinatubo and its drama 😀

The beauty of Mt. Pinatubo is not only seen on its summit. Looking back, we saw and experienced the beauty in its disaster. The long stretch of lahar field that glimmered like gem, the sand boulders that awakened our sense of thrill, the river and falls that made us appreciate every drop of water, and the green mountains that proved us that nature always finds a way to thrive.

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Ka gwapa ba
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Happy faces 😀

This 42km adventure was indeed a golden one. It came with imperfections but our treasure trove was filled with memories, laughter and new bonds.


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Memories

One personal note, YOU DO NOTE,

Ours was a two-day event. I would not suggest trekking Mt. Pinatubo via Golden Trail in a day if you have no proper training. It’s a very long hike and unexpected things may happen along the way. There was another group hiking ahead of us who opted to finish the 42km circuit trail in a day hike (die-hike). They had to be rescued because (1) they came unprepared, no proper gears; (2) they underestimated the trail, their pacing are really slow to think it’s a day hike; and (3) they miscoordinated, for some reason they only have 1 guide despite their number.

For booking and reservation, message Golden Trail Traveler’s Resort & Adventure.


sdr

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

Share Your World – Summertime

Melanie at Sparks from a Combustible Mind hosts Share Your World Challenge. Here’s my entry for this week.

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Sunrise ❤

Are you a Summer person? A Winter person? Or one of the other seasons suits you best?
The climate of the Philippines is divided into two main seasons: the rainy season (from June to the early part of October) and the dry season (from the later part of October to May). Despite its melancholy and all its drama, I have never been a fan of the rain. It always makes me sad for some reason. This is why I prefer sunny days. It somewhat calms the chaos inside and makes me hopeful. Though, I hope it don’t get brutally scorching whenever I’m outdoors.

What is your favorite summer time clothing?

Nothing in particular. I’m a regular t-shirt/jeans/cuff shorts kind of human being.

Do you find yourself eating out more during the summer? Or making ‘cold food’ like salads and stuff you can heat in the microwave?

I always think big when it comes to food. I “think” that I can eat a lot but whenever I eat, my stomach can only accommodate a few. Recently, I find myself craving for mango float. Does this count?

Do you like watermelon? What’s your favorite summertime treat?

I like watermelon but I like mangoes better. As for the summertime treat, for me buko salad would be best! It’s a Filipino fruit salad dessert made from strips of fresh young coconut with sweetened milk or cream and various other ingredients. If you want to learn how to make one, check this out!

Are you thankful it’s finally (sorta) dry and warm?

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14 on my side of the Earth. However, I am still thankful because the country has experienced a severe drought and it took a great toll on our farmers. Farmers, in general, celebrate rain showers, but not typhoons, as a sign of good harvest in the future. Now is the time for them to get back on track.

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday – I have a question

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Or, rather, Lelouch does:

“What do you do when there is an evil you cannot defeat by just means? Do you stain your hands with evil to destroy evil? Or do you remain steadfastly just and righteous even if it means surrendering to evil?”

Lelouch Vi Britannia

In the vein of last week’s WQW entry, Are there any questions?, here I am throwing yet another inquiry.

Just recently, I was thrown into an alternate world where a philosophical and moral battle strongly exist. The quote above is taken from the Japanese anime, Code Geass. I’ve heard of the series years ago but I never had the drive to watch it. James successfully lured me into the anime this time. No regrets. 😀

The story revolves around the Empire of Britannia who conquered Japan and now call it Area 11. Its residents lost their rights to self-govern and are now called Elevens. The Empire uses destructive robotic weapons called Knightmares to ensure control, but someone is about to stand up against it. Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian student, seeks to use the power of the Geass to build a world based on his ideals. Unfortunately he finds himself caught in a crossfire between the Britannian and the Area 11 rebel armed forces.

Back to the question, I have this weird feeling inside that has been weighing me down. As an INFP whose choices and decisions are tethered on emotion and idealism, I find it hard to agree with Lelouch’s ways. For him, the ends justify the means. This just doesn’t go right with me. However, by the end of the series, I felt like loosening up to his approach. It’s a dilemma still. Can’t one just remain righteous and destroy evil instead?

Writers Quote Wednesday: Are there any questions?

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Are there any questions?

To some, this might just be an ordinary statement of inquiry. But to those who have read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, these four words carry too much weight.

Originally published in 1985, Atwood’s dystopian novel takes readers to the fictional Republic of Gilead. It follows Offred, a Handmaid assigned to a high-ranking commander and his wife. In an age of declining births, Handmaids are valued only for their capability to procreate. They are held prisoners — stripped off their past and future. They are forbidden to read, write, or interact with the outside world. They are meant only to bear children for their assigned commander and failure to do so warrants death.

The book ends with Professor Pieixoto’s final line, Are there any questions? To me this seems a rhetorical question asked not to get an answer but instead to emphasize a point. It forces us to question our role as witnesses, both of Offred’s tale and of our own history of oppression.

Do we forget and stay silent? Do we remain neutral and indifferent? Do we stand up and fight?

There is more than one kind of freedom,” said Aunt Lydia. “Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.

― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

You! Yes, you. As The Handmaid’s Tale becomes grimly relevant these days, would you ask a question?

Trolled trolls

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how many mouths must be starved
or epitaphs must be carved
for these blinded trolls to see
past this fractured democracy
this populist and his isms
his ideology of acquiescence
make cage ‘round free birds
and voices unheard—

trolls you’re trolled,
can’t you see?
MS

 

 


In response to dVerse’s Quadrille hosted by Frank who challenges to put some TROLL with our poems today.

Here’s a short lament for the current state of the Philippines. Sigh.

Head over here to join the prompt!

dverse

In a quandary

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She sails away in dreams and books
Finds refuge in every empty nooks
But when she saw the babbling brook
It showed her what she overlooked

Though she finds refuge in empty nooks
There is more to life than a storybook
And she finally saw what she overlooked
A laughter, a smile, come take a look

There is more to life than a storybook
More to boring likes and posts on Facebook
A laughter, a smile, come take a look
The mountains wait, lay down your books

More to boring likes and posts on Facebook
More to sailing away in dreams and books
The mountains wait, lay down your books
And heed the call of the babbling brook
MS

 

 


In response to dVerse’s Poetics: your poetic hum hosted by Gina who introduced us to the Tanpura Principle in writing (the idea that much of writing occurs while doing something else). What is the poetic hum in your life? What hums in the background of your life that inspires you as you unconsciously listen while you work and live? Is the drone always there or do you have to cultivate the inspiration?

As I have found my passion and profession in writing, work does not take much of a toll. But if there is one thing that made me live a dual life, it is the happiness I found in nature. On most days I am torn between slouching on the bed with a book and putting on my bag to explore the outdoors. Sometimes, the book wins. Sometimes, the mountains. It’s like being torn between two lovers. 

Also, linking this up to Poetry Forms – The Pantoum. Other than Quadrille and Haibun, I haven’t written a piece with a poetry form. This is my first with Pantoum. 🙂

Head over here to join the prompt!

dverse

A Homo’s Inquiry

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earth—
ripe of evolutionary changes

a come and go
of fire and ice
death and life

species emerging
taking places of those lost:
arthropods
dinosaurs

humans—

killing the land
killing its own

are we heading towards another extinction?
or is this some faulty evolution?
MS


In response to dVerse’s Quadrille #63: Feel the Earth move hosted by Kim and Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Photo Challenge hosted by Nekneeraj.

Head over here to join the prompt:

dverse

When the Night Warrants Death

I have just spent a night among the trees, out in the cradle of the mountains. I thought I’d carry the memories of that fun night a little longer. I thought I could look at the moon with a smile. But not tonight.

Tonight, anger simmers in me at a constant roil. I want to wail and rail against the world. This heart feels as if it might break through my ribcage from an intense revolt. For the first time, I hated the night. Not because of an American post-apocalyptic horror film but because of something vile and real. They come in uniform with their hands of steel. Filling the night with a staccato of gunfire, leaving men half blown off, fatal wounds in the head or face. I hated the night for they come in it. And they warrant death.

This quiet is piercing. The night is orphaned from the sound of crickets. I wonder if they knew. I wonder if they are mourning too. I wonder if the crickets offer this brief silence to the stolen lives of the dead just as I do.

The night cries justice
A long pause from the crickets—
Can somebody hear?
MS


In response to dVerse’s Haibun Monday: The Sounds of Koorogi hosted by Victoria C. Slotto. This piece might be a bit digressing from the topic but I hope it counts.

Currently, my mind is in rigor from reading about the death of seven men from Antique. They were rebels, members of our local red fighters. The AFP came in the middle of the night to serve “arrest” warrant to two men but it ended with death instead. What really happened, only the crickets know. This shouldn’t be a shock, they say, for the body bags have been pilling up. But it still makes me sad and mad. Especially when I found that one of them goes by the pen name of Maya Daniel. I came across this poet last 2017. He writes poignant and painful poems, each is a cry for freedom, liberation and resistance from oppression. His death marks another voice silenced, another pen deprived of ink.

Head over here to join the fun!

dverse

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