The King Of The Road!!!!
There was nothing much to do lately and all I could do was to give myself enough time to laze and just be what I am best described as ... a bum. But when my level of agitation due to plain excruciating boredom peaked, that was when I asked a high school friend who owns a trucking company if he has a trip going up north. He said yes, and there I was on my first road trip on a truck full of palay. Even if he owns the trucks, he himself drive them back and forth from Manila. Our first stop would be the town of Sablayan. It is about 90 kilometers north of San Jose where I live, and given the condition of the roads, we would reach the place after 3 to 4 hours of bumpy ride. My friend told me that the ride would be like a sea trip on a small boat braving huge waves... at first I thought it was an exaggeration but as we drove to Sablayan, I realized he was not kidding at all.
the concrete part of the trip
I was born and grew up on this province but I never had a chance of doing a road trip across Mindoro. If I needed to go to Manila, I would normally take a direct flight from San Jose to Manila, or a boat ride from San Jose to Batangas then unto Manila. I never tried the last option which is to take a bus from San Jose to Abra De Ilog, then a small boat ride to Batangas then unto Manila.
The reason why I am doing this trip now besides boredom and wanting to see old friends is to see places of the island I consider my home.
From the San Jose, we traveled across towns of Rizal, then Calintaan and finally, the town of Sablayan. The town land area is very huge; it is even bigger than the whole province of Cavite. As we went on with the trip, I realized how vast the province is. The southern part of it is a huge area of flat land which is mostly rice paddies. Then, the middle and northern part is mountainous. Mt Iglit National Park, a nominee for UNESCO heritage site is at the heart of the province. The area has two peaks - Mt Iglit and Bago which is covered with thick vegetation. This area is special because this is where the dwarf water buffalo called Tamaraw lives. This animal has been the symbol and pride of our province. We managed to pass by this area but since I had no time to explore it (it would take 12 hours to trek the park), seeing this area especially the peaks from a far was good enough. Though, I still plan to do the trek through the park soon.
This is where the taxes of people of Mindoro goes.
Another thing special to Mt Iglit is because it is the home to the indigenous people of Mindoro, we call them Mangyan.
They appear to be backward people but historically they have the first form of written alphabets among all tribes in the Philippines. They owned gold, have their own poetry and element of a civilized society was present in their communities. Even for us, non-Mangyans - we are children of migrants, since we grew up in Mindoro, we regarded ourselves as Mangyans. It used to be an insult when someone called a person Mangyan, it connoted ignorance and being not sophisticated but I am a proud Mangyan now. :)
Mt Iglit Park
After more than three hours, we reach the town of Sablayan with sore butts, slightly dehydrated and hot-headed. We went directly to the place of a couple who happens to be both our high school friends. As we rested, we were served with noodles. Then rested again, and then opened bottles of Red Horse. After finishing a case, we had our dinner then we resumed with our beers. When we reached our limits, our friend the driver continued to drive his truck to Manila, and we were left behind in Sablayan. We went to sleep to catch enough energy for our trip to Pandan Island the following day.