I am back! Woke up at 9, tried my best to get back to sleep, and failed. Four hours later, I am still in bed doing nothing. So I am here, wide awake! That 3 hours of sleep I had earlier is not enough to get me through the day, so I guess I’ll just be hitting the sack early tonight. Which is why I have decided to open my blog and write instead of lying down with my eyes shut forcing myself to sleep.
So.. Leyte. 3 weeks ago Eat Bulaga assigned 3 dabarkads (Me, Alden, and Kuya Ryan) to go to 3 different places to shoot for Ms. Millennial x Eat Bulaga OBB/Opening Billboard. I was selected to go to Leyte; Alden to Batanes; and Kuya Ryan to Jolo. We had 2 days to shoot, to show the beauty of those places.
It was my first time to visit (Tacloban) Leyte. And when I stepped out of the plane, first thing that came to my mind was the tragic disaster of typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan years ago. For those who do not know, Leyte was one of the most affected and devastated areas in the Philippines by Yolanda. I couldn’t help but still feel sad about what happened. In fact, I had been filled with extreme apprehension every time we’re on the road, for I could literally see that the town has not fully recovered yet from the ravages of Yolanda. We spent most of our time on the road, travelling from places to places; and while most of my companions were sleeping, I was there researching about the typhoon and watching actual videos of Yolanda onslaught in Tacloban. It was so heartbreaking. I was horrified as I watch videos on my phone and at the same time look outside the car window and see the actual place where it all happened. I was at a loss for words. Pasensya na kung huli na but I’d still say this: My heart goes out to all the typhoon victims and families who have not given up hope and faith, 4 years after. I pray that no such calamity will ever happen again.
Before I get carried away, let me just talk about our Leyte adventure. So ayun na ngaaaa.. on our first day, we went to Sambauan Island. It was a 3-hour drive from the hotel, and a 40-minute boat ride to get to the island. I was so glad I got that serene feeling again during our boat ride; I decided to stay outside the boat and let the salty waves splash over my body and the sea breeze touch my skin. You know such things bring me joy; though it was risky because the waters were a little rough that afternoon and I didn’t have my life vest on, I just thought “Bahala na pag nalaglag, sanay naman ako mag back float”.
We got to Sambauan at around 5 in the afternoon already– daylight about to fade– so we had to rush shooting. I was supposed to dip into the water but unfortunately the person I assigned to look after my things left my bag in the car, so we ended up shooting eme-emeng aura na lamang sa dagat. I remember how annoyed I was at that time because I was really excited to plunge into the sea. Tsaka may niready kasi talaga akong swimsuit! Charotera!
Anyhoo, it was already night time when we got back to the port and we were all so shocked to see so many people waiting for us! As in parang may mall show, ganun. Tuwa naman kami, lalo na si Ate Elvie (my makeup artist), kasi akala niya siya yung hinihintay. Charot.
On our second day, we went to Sohoton cave and Lulugayan falls in Samar. It was my first time to get inside a cave! Before the tour, Kuya Larry, our tour guide, told us to make use of our imagination as we get through the cave. We were able to see interesting limestones and rock formations with his help. He is quite good at putting a spin to those figures, giving them descriptive names and amusing themes; may Christmas theme, wedding theme, may pang grown-ups, and so much more!
Yes naman sa turista photo! Before leaving the cave, he asked us to turn off our flash lights for us to know how dark it really is inside; and damn there was nothing but pitch black darkness– scary but somewhat peaceful! It was a fun and an educational experience, lakas maka gradeschool fieldtrip. Love how Kuya Larry gave us a whole lot of information about Sohoton cave and caves in general. Alam niyo ba yung stalagmite and stalactite? Hindi diba? Ako din eh, but with the help of this tour I was able to gain knowledge about it. Share ko na din for everybody’s information:
Stalagmite is what you call the column-like formation coming from the ground (made of calcium carbonate dripping from the stalactite), while Stalactite on the other hand is a formation that hangs from the ceiling of the cave– both grow together to form a column. According to Kuya Larry, it takes 300 years for it to grow an inch longer, so it will probably take thousands of years for it to become a pillar. Interesting!
I was supposed to go kayaking to the natural bridge but the weather did not cooperate. Sayang, Kuya Larry said it was their best tour-ender in Sohoton. Anyway, I hope to be back next time! Meron akong inaantay na stalagmite at stalactite na magmeet eh! Lol!
After the tour, we went to Lulugayan falls next. It was an hour and a half drive from Basey, and this..
is where the adventure..
*plays scoring* dun dun dun dun…. dun dun dun… DUN.
Charot, ginawang horror?! Haha! So I mentioned earlier that it was raining the whole morning, resulting to wet and muddy roads. We opted to use a dump truck instead of our service van to get to the area because our van would most definitely not make it. I had so much fun riding the truck because it felt like riding a rollercoaster without a seatbelt. I was just laughing and screaming with joy whole time, tuwang tuwa ang bata! And guess what, the path was so muddy that even the truck had a hard time getting through the uphill stretches. At ayun na nga, in the middle of our rollercoaster ride, the truck couldn’t take it any longer. We had to stop and walk a few miles, until the habal-habals/motor taxis came to the rescue. Gusto ko yung term na rescue, kasi we were so helpless at that time.
There was no network signal at all so we couldn’t contact anyone for help. The habal-habal took us to this small village in the Lulugayan falls’ area. Another thrilling experience because the path was both rocky and muddy– another rollercoaster-feels ride! I love my ‘muntik-na-mahulog’ moments on our way up!
and I am amazed on how their motorcycle can fit 4 people! Actually parang kaya ng lima!
Gladly, we reached the village safe and sound. We took another 30-minute trek to Lulugayan Falls. It was still raining at that time which made it hard to walk in the woods but we were all able to reach our destination! Sad to see that the water was also muddy since it rained so we weren’t able to shoot that much. Again, excited pa man din ako maligo sa falls kasi perstaym ko din. Nonetheless, I was able to see the beauty of Lulugayan Falls– wrong timing lang talaga but it was still beautiful. (Hindi lang halata sa picture)
It was already nightfall when we finished shooting. We took a 30-minute rest to fix ourselves before we head back. Buko buko sa kubo, ganun! What’s up, anagram!
This is one of the best parts of the adventure, going down the hill. And a pleasant surprise, nakahabol yung dump truck sa taas! This time, the driver had a hard time manoeuvring the truck on the narrow street. It took him about 30 minutes to set the truck ready. Madami ding ‘muntik-na-mahulog’ moments yung truck! We all saw how dangerous it would be if we ride the truck, since it was already night time and the road was still muddy. Direk Pat convinced me to ride the habal-habal instead, but I refused to because I want to have that rollercoaster feels for the last time. May pa-emeng-drama pa ako, nagbigay na ako ng huling habilin sakanya. I was serious on that because there was a high chance for the truck to fall off the cliff. I am not even kidding, it only takes one wrong steer. She knew she cannot force me– dahil matigas ulo ko– so she rode the habal-habal alone and went down immediately. Good thing Ate Elvie had no choice but to join me in the truck. We actually made a short video saying how much we love our families and all that, eh kasi ngaaaa baka mahulog-log-log-log-log! Buwis buhay na talaga ito! I was still laughing and happily cheering in the first part of the ride, but as the road gets muddier and as the driver struggles steering, I found myself seated still and silent. “Lord, Kayo na po ang bahala pero kaya namin to. Kaya namin to.” I silently prayed. Thank goodness, we survived 3 ascending muddy paths. Honestly, I thought that’s gonna be my last day on Earth. THANK GOD we got back safe. Thank you also for not giving up, manong driver and your dump truck. Direk Pat was hella worried because she got no update from us. It was a hell of a ride, indeed!
On our last day in Leyte, we went to San Juanico bridge; lakad-lakad lang, aura-aura, kunwari nasa park. That was the last part of the shoot, and as you can see on the final output of the OBB, that is where we took some drone shots at doon ko din iwinagayway ang bandera ng Eat Bulaga, Juan For All-All For Juan.
So that was it, our Leyte adventure! I had a rollercoaster of emotions too in this 3-day trip. I am glad Eat Bulaga sent me to this place. Thank You Lord for this experience and of course for keeping me alive. Hindi pa siguro tapos ang misyon ko dito. Anyway, I hope I get to see more of the Philippines!
If you have not seen the OBB yet, play the video below and get stunned by the beauty of the our country.
Kahit saan ka tumingin, kahit saang parte ng Pilipinas ka dalhin, siguradong iyong mamahalin, dahil wala ng gaganda pa sa gandang nasa mga kamay natin.
Gandang maipagmamalaki ng bawat isa.
Gandang nagdurugtong sa atin.
Mula Batanes hanggang Jolo, iisang bansa tayo.
Iisa at pare-pareho, mag Bayanihan tayo. Lahat tayo Pilipino!”