Spelunking in Toledo City

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures!

Two months away from the mountain felt like forever. Lately, Ace and I had been caught up with something that kept us off the trail. My outdoor soul itched for verdure. My legs ached and longed for the muscle pain I get from trekking.

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So when The Bisaya Traveler invited me to join them on a weekend excursion, I gave him a fast yes. My good friend Niña was very happy to join us, too. Ace, however, wasn’t able to join us for some reasons.

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Niña and I thought we would only go trekking on that day. Imagine our excited faces when we learned we were actually going spelunking.

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After meeting sir Aldrich and some of his crew at the South Bus Terminal, we took a bus to Toledo City and dropped off at a pink church in Poog. There we met the rest of the girls that completed our group. As soon as everybody was ready, we hailed a motorcycle to Bunga, Toledo to meet our mirthful guides. We also had our names logged at the barangay hall since we were the first non-locals to explore the caves in the area. Our hike commenced after a short prayer led by Tatay Raul.

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Our day was not too strenuous like what I expected because we were accompanied by high-spirited individuals who knew just how to entertain weary souls. Their funny jokes and life stories made the trek light and fun. Without knowing, we already arrived at the mouth of the cave.

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They said the cave is named Lapos-Lapos Cave. In our dialect, lapos means to pass right through or to penetrate. As the name suggested, there was a big hole where the sunlight comes in at the end of the first cavern. And we had to pass right through that same hole in order to explore the third and second caverns. The three caverns were awesomely large.

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However, I had few sad sentiments about the place. The place was vandalized. There were writings on the wall. The stalactites and stalagmites were dead. There were holes in the ground which were evidently man-made. Our guides mentioned about some artisanal mining done inside it. Considering Toledo’s abundance of land minerals, it wasn’t surprising for people to take advantage of digging around hoping to find some. In fact, small scale mines are pretty common in the area. Although we were the first non-locals to explore the cave, we noticed that it had been frequented by local kids and or residents.  

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As we made our way to the last chamber, our guide led us to a small hole enough to fit our bodies. Niña and I thought about staying behind but the guides urged us to get in. A wide opening with the sight of the blue sky welcomed us after surpassing that hole. But our companions were not there. We heard their laughter and giggles above a cliff. We got curious about what was up there so we worked our arduous way to them.

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Lo and behold! The wonderful panorama of Pinamungahan and the island of Negros. The stunning vista left me speechless and made my heart jump for joy.

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As I sat on a tree branch, I was once again reminded why I prefer the mountains than the ocean. I love the feeling up there looking at the world below me. I feel so big and bold.

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Niña moves! 

Just when we thought we had enough surprises on that day.

Another wonderful experience actually awaited. Stay tuned for that awesome surprise on my later story.

‘Til next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

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Trekking on Your Period | Yay or Nay?

Oh, girl, it’s that pesky time of the month again. It feels taboo but it is something beyond our control. So, yes! We have to talk about it because it happens.

You’re excited about an outdoor adventure next week only to realize you are also expecting your period on the same dates. Should you cancel or push it through? If you’re having this perplexity then read on.

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When I was just starting to love outdoor activities like trekking and climbing, I used to make sure my “red days” don’t meet my trek dates. I thought it was impossible and uncomfortable to climb mountains while you have ‘something’ going on inside you. But there came a time when my thirst for adventure was stronger than my doubts. That’s when I learned to figure out how not to let my red days impede my plans. 

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Here are important DON’Ts to remember:

  • DON’T compromise your hygiene. 

Hygiene is very important. Girls are very prone to urinary tract infections, especially on our periods. Whatever the situation is, don’t ever compromise your hygiene. It is a must that you have a hygiene kit with you.

What’s in the kit?

  1. Enough supply of  your trusted sanitary pads or tampons. Some women also prefer to use menstrual cups. They said cups and tampons are perfect if you’re going to soak in the water.
  2.  Wet wipes and/or tissue. You don’t always have a water supply on the trail so it is best to bring wet wipes with you. I suggest the unscented ones.
  3. Hand sanitizers. Of course, before and after changing pads make sure your hands are clean.
  4. Extra clothes for emergency.
  • DON’T forget your dates. 

Let us be mindful of our dates. I understand that some of us don’t have regular periods so just be prepared for emergencies. It’s better safe than sorry.

  • DON’T go when you have terrible and unbearable cramps.

When you have painful red days, or maybe you always experience cramps on your period, then you have to think about it carefully. While strenuous exercises like hiking or trekking relieve the cramps for some women, it worsens for others. Sure, there are pain relievers available but if they don’t work for you, I suggest you don’t go. Because you are not only going to make yourself uncomfortable, but you might inconvenience your colleagues, too.

  • DON’T be ashamed about it. 

Men don’t go through it but they are aware that girls do. It might be a bit awkward but it’s completely okay. With the rising numbers of women hikers nowadays, trek leaders and guides already know how to handle this kind of situation. So, let them know.

  • DON’T leave your pads or tampons in the ‘wild’. 

Dearies, please remember our sanitary pads don’t biodegrade. Don’t leave them in the mountains. You don’t want to see this kind of wastes when you climb a mountain, do you? Be responsible for disposing of them properly. I strongly suggest you bring a trash bag intended for this waste. Personally, I always bring a separate zip lock pouch only intended for this kind of trash. There is also a technique on how to wrap your sanitary pads properly in order for it not to leave stain and foul odor, you may look it up online.

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And lastly,

  • DON’T let your period keep you off  the trail. 

Our period can be uncomfortable but if we learn how to handle them, it will never keep us off the trail anymore. So, choose your products wisely and always be prepared for emergencies.

Over to you, have you trekked on your period before? Or do you know anyone who handles it well? Or do you have other tips? We’d love to hear from you.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

Solo Travel is Not For Me.

Squad traveling is all over the web nowadays, so is solo traveling. I have few friends who choose to travel alone while some prefer to travel in a group. Solo traveling can be a great way to explore the world at the same time, discover more about oneself. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea. But I hugely respect people who can do it and choose to do it in spite of the daunting cons. I really admire their courage and determination.

Some travelers, especially women pride themselves on doing things on their own. But I don’t like the impression of putting solo travel on a pedestal above all other travels. Common, there is nothing wrong with traveling with someone or in a group. Solo travel may work for some but not for other people like me. After all, we have different choices.

While traveling solo is great and challenging, I don’t like jaunting on my own.

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I’m not totally against solo trips. I am fully aware of the many pros of traveling alone. I’ve had few solo trips before I got married. They were mostly just for proving something to myself that somehow I can survive on my own. They were fun and self-fulfilling but at the end of the day, I wished someone was there to talk about how fun the day was, I wished someone was there to enjoy that beautiful sunset with me. So, when Ace came into my life, I was very glad to find a lifetime travel buddy.

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Here are some reasons why I don’t like traveling alone.

  • I get lonely.

    I get lonely when traveling for long hours on a bus, how much more traveling for a day on a ferry. I hate eating in a restaurant alone, especially while waiting for my food. Imagine people looking at me with pity because I am alone while I pretend to be busy with my phone. That is awkward, you know. Watching the sunset and sunrise alone brings so many realizations and thoughts, at the same time, it makes me feel empty and well, “alone”, especially when surrounded with couples romantically enjoying the moment.

  •  It’s hard to make friends.

    Don’t get me started on “you can always make friends”. I know, but it’s easier said than done. Sometimes, it can be pretty exhausting. Although some circumstances could lead me to make friends – which is great, however, it does not go like that most of the time. Plus it’s hard to make friends especially if you have trust issues. 😀

  • I am reckless.

    I tend to easily forget things. Like one time, I was about to have lunch from a tour and realized I left my wallet in the hotel, so I had to ask my guide to pay for me, please. That’s embarrassing.

  • I’m poor with directions.

    This may sound funny and stupid. I can’t read a map. It’ll probably take me 30 minutes to an hour before I figure it out. Taking a wrong turn alone is so not fun. But getting lost with someone or with your gang is an adventure.

  •  Safety issues.

    One thing I’m concerned about when traveling solo is safety, both myself and my things. When you travel alone, most especially if you are a woman, you are a potential victim of dangerous misfortunes. (I’m not belittling the girl-power, I’m just being true to myself.) It’s not impossible for me to be murdered without anyone else knowing. Solo travel also means dragging all of my bags into the toilet with me when I’m in a public place like airport or terminals.

  • A memory card of “selfie”.

    Who does not love a decent picture of yourself with the beautiful background? I mean, yeah, I can take photos of the place as a remembrance, but I also would love to see myself on it. So either I take awkward selfies or keep asking complete strangers to take a photo of me.

 

I don’t deny the good things my solo travels have done to me. I’m actually enjoying its benefits until now. I’m glad I was able to do it before. It made me grow, made me become independent and made me discover myself more. If I would have to do it again, I will do it the same way.

It’s just that, things have changed now. After traveling with my friends or with Ace, I realized that I have more fun in their company than with myself alone.

Would I travel solo again? 

Yes, probably. I can’t tell. Perhaps, time will ask me to find myself again. Maybe, I will miss my own company in the future. I don’t know. For now, I don’t long for that yet. Not yet.

 

How about you? Do you prefer to travel alone or to travel with someone? Let me hear from you. 🙂

 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi