The following day, Tara and I woke up at around 6:30 AM. Everyone was already up and about by this time. I even heard someone cutting wood. So, after breakfast, I went down to see who it was. Then, I formally met Dondon and Jayjay. Jayjay is a son of Manang Oyog and Dondon is related to them in some way. Dondon is in college, taking up education. Jayjay stopped schooling but will return this coming school year and take up electronics. They are both 19 years old.
We asked the driver to bring us to Greenbox, following Manang Oyog’s advice. We were already there for about 3 minutes when the kids from across the street went down and asked, “Sino sa inyo si Ati Monica?” So cute! I introduced myself and Tara and got to know the names of the beautiful kids that we were going to spend the next four days with: Heng, Potpot, Andi, Tamtam, Dogdog, Boyboy, and Rhea. There was also Manang Barbara, Manang Oyel, Ate Tisay, and of course, Manang Oyog.
There was no more hitch from Bontoc to Lake Sebu. We got to Manila with enough time to walk to Tara’s apartment in Scout Borromeo, repack, withdraw money from Western Union, and take a cab to the airport. We got to the airport with a few minutes to spare before boarding so I also got to withdraw money from the ATM. When a Cebu Pacific attendant saw Tara’s tattoo, he said, “Fresh na fresh pa po tattoo nyo ah!” To which Tara replied, “Huh?” The flight attendant then said, “Good morning!” Haha!
We took the first trip to Bontoc. We got to ride inside this time (phew!). But, I admit that the view from the roof was way better than from the inside. Nevertheless, the scenery was still beautiful and being given the chance to see the Chico River and the surrounding mountains still made me feel blessed.
So, we did the trek back to Tulgao. It was way easier for me this time, when compared to the hike to Buscalan. The night before, while getting ready to sleep, I revisited my first hiking experience. And, as fulfilling as it was for me, all I could tell myself was that I was such a weakling. I was, really. For almost half of the hike, our guide was pulling me up the mountain because I was having difficulty breathing and my legs were just about ready to give up. Tara said that, at one point, she doubted if I would make it. And, I had the same thoughts.