An Unforgettable Visit to Mt. Malindang
A couple of hours of perilous motorbike ride followed by a hike in the dark under heavy downpour (after my bike driver gave up) and a night spent in a good Samaritan's home, I heaved a sigh of relief as we finally arrived at my destination -- Mt. Malindang.
I decided to take on this trip not expecting any thing out of the ordinary. What could be uneventful than a week spent up in an inactive volcano? I will call it home for the next couple of days.
Mt. Malindang is pre-historic complex volcano with multiple ranges, hot springs and known for its crater lake. It is home to unique flora and fauna and was declared a national park in 1971 by the Philippine government.
Mt. Malindang is home to local ethnic tribe called Subanen. The Subanen protects this national park as they are the only group allowed to settle in the area. Perched in the midst of a clearing a few steps away from the crater lake, is the home of my host family.
If you are hooked on technology and being connected, Mt. Malindang is the last place you would want to be. I was forewarned that electricity and cell signals are non-existent, but actually experiencing it is quiet disconcerting and took a lot to get used to.
High up in the crater, the nearest source of water is the lake itself. The Subanen people had to fetch water from Lake Duminagat for their daily household needs. No showers for me, of course.
Without electricity, any electronic gadget is practically useless though my mobile phone came handy as a flashlight. At night, the common means of 'entertainment' was a battery-operated radio.
The simple life
No one here seems to be overweight. When people walk at least 2-3 miles to get to the nearest market, who needs to workout?
Indeed, going from one place to another can only be possible with a horse, bike ride and yes, on foot. The last is obviously the common mode of moving from point A to B.
The three hours trip down from Mt. Malindang is no less spine-chilling and made possible via an old delivery truck. An unending stretch of narrow, winding dirt roads, with cliffs and deep ravines in every turn. The rains turned the narrow winding road more treacherous.
One wrong move and we could hurtle down the cliffs hundreds of feet into what seemed like an abyss. Some parts of the road was covered by landslides.
I still want to go back to Mt. Malindang. The visit opened my eyes to another world far removed from the city life I know. It was truly an unforgettable experience.