We All Deserve A Break
Copyright 2022 by Ymgy Gardose Aton
Photo courtesy of the author.
a working female,
I have been on the verge of having a “me-time”. I wanted
to have my time alone. So I thought of doing my first domestic solo
travel without thinking of all the hectic schedules in my workplace
and taking care of my family at the same time.
the early months
of 2019, I started off my first solo journey. It was my first plane
experience as well. Everything was set, planned, and well-budgeted.
Of course, from a country where rich natural resources are found, a
lot of beautiful sceneries to see, and various local food to try, I
have always been eager to experience them for myself. That was when I
discovered Camiguin Island in the northern part of Mindanao in the
as the “Island
born of fire,” Camiguin island is small but it has many
fascinating tourist destinations. From beautiful white beaches and
sandbars, unlimited water splashes from cold and hot springs, to
majestic waterfalls, the island has a lot more to offer. The famous
Mt. Hibok-hibok is another great destination for mountain climbers.
It is a sleeping volcano, but active.
my first time
on that beautiful island, I was mesmerized by its beauty. For me, the
place was peaceful just as I embarked from the plane. I could see the
locals were so accommodating. Everything was different in my eyes.
There I realized that city life was more stressful than island life.
I fell in
love with the island, I introduced it to my friends and subordinates.
We planned for another trip and decided to conquer the peak of Mt.
Hibok-hibok. They were so excited. So was I.
a matter of fact,
we were all beginners in mountain climbing. We were so eager to reach
the summit so we planned it very well. Some of my friends went to the
gym to prepare for that what we called “hardest climb.” I
was not like them. I did no exercise, even a jog. It was all our
we were on the
island, we explored it just like what I did on my first time. We
hired the same tour guide I hired. The guide to Mt. Hibok-hibok was
younger. He has been guiding climbers since he was 15 years old.
day of the climb
arrived. We were ready. We brought a few bottles of water and some
loaves of bread. We set off our trek at 1:09 AM PhT. As beginners, we
easily felt tired and our legs shaking. After 6 hours of trek, we
reached the crater of the sleeping volcano. We ate breakfast. I had
an upset stomach but I managed not to defecate. We asked our tour
guide the common question, “Are we there yet?” Then the
guide would respond “Yes.” It was the opposite, actually.
At 8:00 AM, we were at the first summit, seeing no trace of any view
from above because of the dense fog covering us. The common question
had been constantly asked. Finally, at 9:00 AM, we were at the real
summit. Again, there was nothing to see but a dense fog covering the
peak of Mt. Hibok-hibok.
were a little
disappointed, but at least relieved because we have reached it
despite being beginners. We were also proud because nobody from our
company had ever done that – just us.
climb was so
hard. We had to go through slippery rocks and steep routes where we
needed to use a rope to climb the next possible way as there was no
other option. Despite those, we still did not give up. We were
laughing all the way, as some of my friends would fart. Some would
slide which caused their hiking shoes to be damaged and their
leggings to tear apart. We would share nice stories along the way,
and talk about nonsense just to forget that we were tired.
we there yet?” – a common line from our team.
10:00 AM, we
started our descent. It was a different route. It would lead us to
Ardent Hot Spring which was suitable for relaxation after a long
our way down,
some of our friends left us. We could not see them anymore. They
walked so fast and arrived at the hot spring 2 hours ahead of us.
While we were still trekking and kept taking a rest because we were
last, after 16
hours of walking and rest, we arrived at the hot spring. We were
exhausted and at the same time hungry. So we decided to eat at a
restaurant outside the hot spring. One of my friends lost
consciousness while eating. She was so pale. Fortunately, the owner
of the restaurant knew what to do so she helped us. My friend was
very much affected by our trek and said, “I’ll never do
the hot spring,
we felt so relaxed. The temperature was just right for us. We soaked
and let the warm water massage our bodies. We deserved to experience
that. After all, we were able to get back safely despite long hours
met a new friend
from Spain. Her name is Rosete. She is a backpacker and she loves to
travel solo. We shared our experience about the climb. She also
shared her travel experiences with us. Sometimes, it is nice to be in
a distant place so you could make new friends – those that you
get to know once but soon become close.
island has had a
great impact within ourselves. After that climb, we realized a lot of
things and discovered more about us. The relationship among us became
more tight. We were able to build strong connections and more sincere
friendships. Because of that, we forgot the stressful life we have in
the city and found more time for ourselves to relax and enjoy.
friends have been thanking me for bringing them to the Island born of
fire. They have always asked me to go back there and explore more.
However, the pandemic occurred and those travel plans we had were
disregarded. Probably soon again, when everything is back to normal.
we there yet?”
little more, just
with a group of friends is one good way to relax and calm our minds.
The learning we get from that experience will always be momentous.
Find places that would make you happy. Discover. Travel. After all,
it is us who will benefit from it. We always deserve a break.
I am a language
teacher and I always have a passion for writing. Whenever my urge to
write arouses, I just sit in front of my laptop and write. I also
have articles posted in my blog posts, but I rarely write nowadays. I
just try to express my thoughts in writing. I was once a winner of an
international essay writing competition held by the US Peace Corps
volunteers. It motivated me to keep writing.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Another story by Ymgy
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