..figuratively and literally!
We left Tuguegarao City as early as we can to check out the other highlight of our first trip up north - the Palaui Island.
It was the middle of June, yet I see no sign of the sun slowing down its power. I was expecting some cloudy skies holding hands with rain showers or maybe a little rain will do, just to ease the unforgiving temperature – after all, the city holds the record of being the hottest in the country.
So much for our discomfort, we reached San Vicente port an hour before noon. Argghh. It was one of those few moments that you’d want to cover yourself with tons of ice to soothe your half-roasted bodies. Napakainit talaga. After we satisfied ourselves with another papaitan session (ang init na nga, nagpapaitan pa!) we boarded our boat, wore our life vest … and off we sailed the seas.
It was a sweat and short 15-minute boat ride from the port to Punta Verde in Palaui Island. It was Mommy Earl who arranged all this, so when we arrived the island, we went straight to our supposed home stay, settled our things and rest for few minutes – then suddenly, we decided to cut short our feel-the-atmosphere-of-the-island- time, and started our trek to maximize or time – oh well, it was around 1230pm. Can you imagine the heat?
You have two options going to Palaui Island and Cape Engano:
*If you’re not trek addict, hire a boat for 1,800 pesos, this will bring to the feet the lighthouse from the port. You just need to hike the cemented stairs to Cape Engano which will only take you a little less than an hour.
*If you want to make your trip a little more exciting and complicated, hire a boat to Punta Verde for 750pesos, and trek for 3hours or more to the lighthouse. Guide will cost you 250 pesos (rates vary depending on number of visitors).
So, we chose to make our lives a lot more complicated when we decided to hike at midday. We can barely feel any oxygen in the air. Haha. It was tolerable at first, especially when we walked the very long stretch of sand, pebbles, and corals of the island. The tide was low, and we had the most scenic image of the beach. It was indeed a breath-taking moment.
An hour nonstop beach walking, exposing our human bodies to the mighty source of energy, we succumb to a much needed rest, for 15 minutes. Then we continued our trek to the other side of the island. This time, we had the greenery hills of Palaui as our background.
I hate to be the are-we-there-yet type of climber, but this one really made me asked this forbidden question because I felt it in my heart and my body that I was running out of sufficient power to carry on. Literally speaking, it was breath taking experience.
It was only replenished when at one point of the climb, after two air-less hour hike, we had this magnificent view in front of us. Teary eyed me, I silently told myself ‘it was indeed worth every breath.’
Thanks to this picturesque preview, it was like our batteries were re-ignited that we had this sudden energy to walk as fast as we can, never mind the annoying twigs and tree branches that we came across… or must I say, we were just too eager to finish the breathless climb and get it over with. Haha.
There were other visitors in the lighthouse, but they travelled by boat. We were really exhausted from our climb, so we hopelessly tried asking them if we can hitch a ride back to Punta Verde. Apparently, the boat cannot accommodate us all, besides, if the authorities caught them overloading, it will be taken against them, so we didn’t insist. We stayed for at least 30 minutes in the lighthouse, before heading back our trail.
worth all the sweat...
Based on my photo details, ascending the mountains of Palaui and Cape Engano lighthouse took us two and half hours … our descent took us a little less than two hours… As Mommy Earl would put it – wala na kami sa wisyo nung bumaba kami ng bundok. Blame it to our almost empty pack of strength to enjoy our trek, we all agreed to activate our auto-mode, and marched down the hills quietly. It was as if we didn’t know each other. We walked fast and we walked silently. There were quick stops, but I can’t remember a time that we took a good rest during our descent. Seriously, we just want it to be over before nature consumes the remaining strength we had inside.
We were supposed to stay overnight in the island, but because of the grueling climbing experience we just had, I think we owe it to ourselves to at least reward our bodies with some soft, comfy and relaxing beds. We packed our bags, and hailed our boatman to transfer us back to the port.
We had a short stop at the last marker up north – KM642… (kilometer zero can be found in Luneta Park in Manila)
… and doze off at Jomel’s Lodge later that night.
...with photos from Inch Datuin!