Meet The Young Blood Traveler

Meet the Young Blood Travelers - Marvin and Ross

Monday, February 20, 2012Ryan Mach

Travel buddy and office mate, Marvin, shares his travel journal primarily written as a Valentine present for his significant other, Ross. The unique yet romantic proposition earned him lots of hugs and kisses from his lover, who was enamored by the adjectives littered across the write-up. Marvin is a hopeless romantic, a poet in the making, a dreamer and sometimes, a nutcase and a loon. The journal below is a manifestation of his undying love for Ross and travel

Of Love and Travel - The Crossroad of Discoveries 
by: Marvin Erpe
(Warning: this is a very long prose. Read at your own risk. :-)
2011 was a magnificent year for me traveling around the country. The fact that I was able to share memorable experiences with my adventurous significant other made it even more wonderful.

Yes, as mushy as it may sound, I get inebriated in sappiness each time I crawl back down memory lane. Well, you can’t blame me. The places I’ve been to and the memories herewith were nostalgia worth reminiscing. Heck that sounds like a love song! Got melody in mind?

Sometimes when I look at some of the pictures, my mind plays a song in the background incredibly fitting to that particular moment. Or is it just our mind’s auto-musical-scoring-machine working? I don’t know. There’s one thing I’m sure of, with or without melody, both Ross and traveling rocked my 2011 unforgettably.

Rocker Ross

Camwhores - Fighting for Frame

A year ago...

It was January of last year when we had set foot on the shore of Nagsasa. Standing on it was actually just to complete the anticipation. From the boat, our excitement was already enthused by the breathtaking panorama of the cove. Enchanting. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Question is: what’s really in it that would interest everyone? Breeze isn’t exactly interesting. But there, breezes coming from the mountains were relaxing, blowing whirrs which sounded like hands covering the ears and rubbing them off gently. The freezing mountain stream, postcard-like river, ashes mixed with white sand beach, and calm turquoise seawater were difficult to forget, not to mention the playable cool lagoon and the picturesque mountainous backdrop. Too bad, we weren’t able to get a glimpse of the cove’s view from the top of the mountain. Heard it was lustrous.

Castaways - friends finally setting foot on the shore of Nagsasa.

Our camp

Like I said, the lagoons are playable.

Trekking back to our camp from the dry river.

I bet no one will argue that she’s a beauty to behold. Her charm is indeed enchanting, you’ll easily get affected. Thank God, I’ve discovered her pristine elegance.

About 40 minutes away from Nagsasa, we sailed to the mystic island of Capones. I was so excited about the lighthouse in the island. "By hook or by crook, I will have to see that," I told myself. Sadly, when we docked on the other side of the island, about two kilometres away from where the lighthouse is, we learned that the availability of tourist guides was scarce. I wouldn’t have gone without the support of my thrill-seeking girlfriend. And so we’ve set off, together with two more friends carrying simple instructions from an island bystander. Whether it was helpful enough or not, we were not sure. Just a leap of faith. So far, I consider it the most challenging do-it-yourself hike I’ve ever done. I could write another article about it. Discovering Capones on foot was such a mind-boggling, heart-pounding, and knee-wobbling experience.

Pressure-packed trek to the lighthouse.

Our mere guide. Kudos, anyway!

Ross and AJ at the top of the Capones Lighthouse.

She’s an island of enigmatic proportions. But when you get to know her, you’ll know that she really is. Kidding. One should observe her closely to discover who she truly is. Afar between waves, she radiates an extremely strong aura. Easily intimidating. Try rowing some more, you’ll know she’s interesting and offers nothing but adventure.

Ross and I spent our anniversary last year in the historic land of Corregidor. One reason we love traveling is because we share the same passion in history. Corregidor is a perfect destination to feel the hands of time turned back. I imagine a scene in a movie when a character touches an object, its past flashes before him. Believe me, there’s that kind of feeling while exploring the historical spots of the island. Our stay was no more than 3 days but it felt like an era. To be honest, I expected a creepy atmosphere like what everyone’s saying. But hey, I didn’t feel that. In Corregidor, time moved in slow motion giving us the sense of tranquility and peace of mind. So if you want soul searching, easing up, and HEKASI-ish trip all at the same time and place, get on board and flash forward to the island of Corregidor. Now, I sound like the Department of Tourism.

The peak of Corregidor where everyone can see the tadpole-like shape of the island.

Ross was peeping in one of the mortars of Battery Geary.

One of the tablets depicting great Philippine revolutions in Corregidor.

I’ve been fascinated by how she has been maneuvering time. Slow yet intense. Her calmness is captivating. She can make me linger in each second to relish the moment, at the same time, giving me a hell of a ride. Passionate. Forceful.

Kwebang Lampas (Quezon)
To attend a friend’s wedding was our main purpose in Quezon province, but the day after the wedding, our itchy feet prickled us to look for a nearby tourist destination. We went for Kwebang Lampas in Pagbilao – a  private beach resort known for its white gleaming sand and rock formation that has been chiseled by the waves into an eccentric cave. The shore is amazing. Aside from the saintly white sand, the soil part of the shore is covered by smooth thick grass, which is perfect for picnics. It was also littered with tall coconut trees that served as our shade. Beautifully rustic. Comforting. Talking about molded by time, Kwebang Lampas which is made up of limestone has been sculpted by nature into a wonder. So, I can’t help but wonder why it looks mysterious, yet unraveling. Like other caves, there was a cryptic mood when we entered it. We even had a picture reminiscent of the TV show Lost, which distinctively also has a cryptic theme. Now, this tiny cave is like a house with a backdoor that leads directly to the ocean. Looking at the vastness of the sea, sitting and soaking in sea water that flooded the cave’s rocky floor was inspiring. It was memorable.

The cave's backdoor

Our dining table

Unforgettable moment: Jump shot...jumped short...torn shot...TORN SHORTS. Melvin, that outbalanced lad, had torn his shorts twice. We laughed so hard.

She might not be that sophisticated, but her raw beauty is easily noticeable. Unfussy and pleasing. I have also been a steady wanderer of her self-sustaining and ingenious landscapes which are products of the storms she had withstood. It was not easy observing her. She started by puzzling me, then she just made me realized there’s a much bigger world out there. Stop asking questions. Learn. Explore. Discover.

To all of the destinations I’ve gone to last year, Baguio is the most popular and the most populated. Otherwise, it won’t be proclaimed as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Third time of what could be countless returns; we explored Baguio’s most unpopular and unpopulated attractions. We painted the art-loving side of Baguio red. Not that we threw a party over there, we just raided the City of Pines’ art scene with “strobing” lights. Geez, they’re not supposed to sound alike. But our eyes danced in excitement looking at the sea of vintage and state of the art artistry, especially in the erotic sections. There, my buddies’ eyes danced in enthusiasm even more, mine were just "steady" (you know, without a stain of malice). Lies aside, Baguio Arts Guild is definitely not steady, it is flourishing. We’ve invaded two of its hottest and newest art havens      – the Tamaoan Village and BenCab Museum. Thanks to that assault, we now discern Baguio’s massive combination of exquisite natural environment and rich cultural heritage. I won’t detail the lures anymore. These are for you to find out. So if you have hunger for art, Baguio is the best place to pig out.

This is Bencab's landscape. We came out bursting with energy.

Art is Science. Physics.

Art is Science II. Zoology.

Climbing up the fertility hut in Tam-awan Village. (Art is Science III. Human Anatomy: Reproductive System)

She’s an art-lover . . . and party-laden.

In Cagayan De Oro-Camiguin trip, we were a threesome. Finally, I was devirginized. Yes, your decent mind is correct - prior to the trip, I was a virgin in flying. My first ever flight went okay except for a minor dental problem. We landed in Cagayan De Oro, but the fun started in Camiguin. Approximately 6 miles off the northern coast of Misamis Oriental riding unruffled waves, our lust for nature was little by little intensifying as we drew closer to the Island Born of Fire (the badass moniker given to Camiguin). Later on we’ve found out it’s not only the moniker, but the whole island per se is badass. Camiguin boasts of natural attractions. Name it; springs, waterfalls, volcanoes, islands, and interesting places designed by natural phenomenon. Our two days of stay was not enough to experience them all. Bummer! But the intimate encounters with nature’s nakedness were escaping enough for us to forget the menaces of Manila, and celebrate life. That moment when life feels so easy. Restriction-free. And all you have to do is appreciate that you are in the midst of such beauty. Liberating. Orgasmic.

Trying to impede the growth of excitement while in the ferry to Camiguin.

Laidback Life is Camiguin Life. Meet Ryan Mach, our third wheel.

Nature. Naked. Hot. - Ardent Hot Spring, Mambajao

Even though she’s loaded with marvels, my favourite part is still when she makes life so simple. Toast in every misery. Cheers in every happy story. Therapeutic. When all else fails, romances are just lying down in  plain and bushes, we just have to find and learn how to appreciate them. That’s her, bare and simple. It also seems easy for her to radiate a sense of freedom with profound hint of responsibility. Primitive. Plain. Pure.

Cagayan De Oro
After almost 3 days of satisfying romance with Camiguin, we went back to the cool and fun city of Cagayan de Oro. I remember the big tarpaulin outside the airport which prints "City of Golden Friendship" in bold letters. I told myself, "Does it mean we can make friends here and treasure them? We’ll see." Well, we didn’t really make friends with the locals, but their camaraderie and hospitality were apparent. Hardly had we experienced being charged as a tourist, especially in public transportations. If my memory serves me well, I think we totally never came across of that tourist dilemma. Cool, yes? That was the "cool" part; the fun part was we paddled against 21 rapids of Cagayan de Oro River. I don’t freakin’ know what we were thinking. I just know that the adrenaline rush surging throughout my body was as crazy and uncontrollable as the rapids of the river. Nonstop heart-stopping adventure to the extreme! But man, every thump in our chests was worth it. I could say we’ve gone way ahead of our capabilities and constraints. White water rafting won’t stop in pushing you to the limits, it will also oblige you to sneak passed it.

In CDO, we rode in a Motorela (the city's tricycle converted into a mini jeep).

In CDO, we strolled and shopped at their own version of Divisoria.

And in CDO, we smiled while wearing scared masks...deep inside, we were drowned in euphoria.

When I was a kid, I thought you can do and get everything you wanted. One irking sign of growing up is when we start realizing that there are limitations. But who knows? We might have limitations for us to enjoy the thrills of going beyond them. I bet she knows. She’s definitely fond of paddling against her rocks and boulders, until she gets on the edge and sets off her final kick of thrill fix. From excitement and adventures, she displays energy and enthusiasm pulling people towards her with the same intention of surpassing their bounds. This is her number one source of friends that will eventually turn into a precious mine of "golden friendship."

Last stop of the year was the long and winding road trip to Vigan-La Union. We literally warmed up the seats of the bus going to Vigan. I’ve constantly asked Ross if we were already near, because she had been there once. She, too, had a constant answer–we are still far. Tired and heavy-eyed as we were, we finally got there late in the evening but all of a sudden, the famous cobblestone street of Vigan brought us back to life. Nostalgia in the air, I can’t believe we were at a spot described in our history books.  On the spur of that moment, I thought all of the lessons I’ve learned in Philippine history would flash before me. That would’ve been awesome. Next thing I knew, we were camwhoring like crazy. Calle Crisologo stunned us with its dramatic lighting at night. Then, the morning sun shone the detailed relic of the ancestral houses to our  delight. Without a doubt, this Living Historic City takes pride of the treasures from the past proven by historical museums, tributary plazas, old churches, and traditional native handicrafts. As modernity continuously touches us, I’m hoping Vigan will be preserved alongside the neverending commitment of its natives in giving importance to the heritage passed on by our ancestors.

Calle Crisologo - the street where the past meets the present.

Plaza Salcedo - it is said to be the site of Gabriela Silang's public hanging in 1763.

Syquia Mansion - where we spit out a lot of "ohhs" and "ahhs" while listening to our tour guide. Sir, you're good. Way to go!

She has opened herself to change but has not sacrificed the long-established distinctiveness of her being. Her knack in coping with the needs of the present amidst the old-fashioned restraints set by her heritage is admirable.

La Union
Known for its beaches with mixture of mild and wild waves, La Union shores are ideal for surfing. Bingo! That’s exactly what we came for. The mild and wild beaches! Nah, of course, we were there to surf up (aka splash down, plank flat, and try hard). From the rapids of the river, we braved the waves of the South China Sea. The diversity of the waves in La Union, which ranges from small to building-like swells, invites beginners like us and experienced surfers like Phyl (our good friend) from all over the world. The difference of the extremeness between novice and seasoned surfers is waves apart, but both require the same basic skills. The skills in learning the art of surfing should be as diverse as the waves of La Union. You would need a droplet of strength, an ounce of swimming skill, liters of agility, gallons of balance, and an ocean of cheerfulness. The latter part is our asset. Yes, you heard it right. This time, I’m not jesting. You have to be able to enjoy the sport, because that’s when all of the right attitudes in surfing follow. By laughing at ourselves, we became more patient, determined, and courageous. And as approbation to everything I’ve said, we are going back to La Union, yet again armed by the massiveness of our only asset.

The subtle waves of La Union

Our very own seasoned surfer - Phyl

Silly Surfers

No shadow of a doubt, she’s extreme. But diverse? Well, I’ll bet my balls. She invented the word, didn’t you Tutuja? And like the waves of La Union, she’s mild; but more often than not, Ross is gracefully wild!

Ross Ann Caballero
I’ve been to Anawangin as well last year, but Ross was not with me. She obviously drew color to my travels, so I just want to give back my gratitude to her. With her old and new traits, which I have metaphorically compared to the places we’ve been to, she painted those trips artistically with bloody red for small fights, calming blue when she’s in a comforting mood, lively yellow for the action-packed adventures, and a whole lot of shades. One thing I realized, there’s more to her than the places we’ve been to, so I will continue the journey to discover her more. If I am to choose now for the best place in the world, that’s beside her.
*Young Blood Traveler is an interview series on my blog that features young (or anyone who's young at heart) people who have passion for travelling but don't have a blog to share their travel experiences.  Want to be featured? Email me at journeyoferos(at)yahoo(dot)com  

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