Thursday, December 9, 2010

Take the path less traveled...unless, of course, you're following in someone elses footsteps then, by all means, Carry on!

We've started almost every post with a picture of our breath-taking view of the mountains. Sometimes we feel like we've taken WAY to many pictures of them but it seems everyday they become more and more gorgeous! Well, today we've decided that we're going to climb them!

Allow us to explain. Right over the top of these gorgeous mountains lies a beautiful valley, within this valley is the village of Kemantian. In this village is an AFM (Adventist Frontier Missions) project that is run by Pastor Kent and Leonda George. Even though our projects are run by 2 different organizations we still help each other out a lot and are in contact with each other quite often. (In fact Wendy, one of the founders of the PAMAS ministry [which is the organization we are apart of] started her ministry in Kemantian and then she met Dwayne, who became her husband, then they moved down to the "low lands" and started their own ministry called PAMAS and the rest is history….wow….we should probably do a blog just on that…anywho) So since the beginning of our time here we have heard about the project in Kemantian and the INFAMOUS hike into the mountains to reach it. And every week since then we've "planned" to go up. But it never happened :/ Finally Andrew and Michel said, "Alright, we're going this week and thats that" We were SOOO excited because now we were able to experience the hike that EVERYONE talks about.
For starters, we needed the right attire. For shoes, the Kemantian hiking veterans suggest cleats. However, we don't have cleats so we just used our tennis shoes (which our mother told us NOT to bring because we'd never use them….silly mother ;)….) 
Allison poses like a
"Russian dancer" in her
hiking attire.
For clothing, Your shirt needs to be something that you don't mind getting dirty or wet. For pants, in the mountains the "dress code" of the people is usually skirts for the women, however, we were not about to climb up and around a mountain in a skirt. So Michel made us hiking shorts (which were long and spacious pants as seen in the pictures). 
Next we had to take a 20 minute drive to Bingby-land which takes us right to the base of the mountain. Then Michel went around to find "carriers" for our luggage. 
The base of the mountain....this is
where it all begins.
At first we laughed, I mean WHO in their own right mind would agree to climb up the mountain carrying someone elses luggage and then come right back down just for money??  Answer: Pretty much any one of the Palawano people. In the end she found 3 girls who volunteered for the job (which made Andrew hide his face in shame lol) After they were all loaded up, Michel realized she didn't get enough carriers to carry our backpack. This is how the convo. went:

These 3 girls carried most of the luggage up the mountain.

We take a quick picture before we become
sweaty and disgusting. lol.

Michel: "I forgot about your backpack. Are you two gonna be able to carry it up?"
Allison: "Yeah. I was planning on carrying it up anyways."
Sam: "Pssh, yeah, Ally thinks she's gonna carry it up by herself."
Allison: "I can do it."
Sam: "Whatever."
Michel: (to the Palawano girls): "Allison thinks she's gonna carry her bag up no problem. Its gonna feel 3 times heavier by the time we reach the 1/4 mark."
Palawano girls look at Allison and giggle profusely. 

This of course made Allison Matigas ang ulo (translation: hard-headed; stubborn) and we started our way up the trail. 

Our group before our hiking adventure.

The newest addition to the George family,
8 week old Chaddy, makes the trip up to

**Note: Keep in mind, the average temperature in Palawan is 80 degrees and climbing a mountain is no simple task. Therefore, we cannot promise that pictures of ourselves after this point will be very glamorous. You have been warned**

Ten minutes into hiking we saw this view and we thought
it was SOOO gorgeous. Mrs. George said, "Oh please, this
is nothing compared to whats coming"

The hike to Kemantian begins with an upward trail (which no matter how many pictures/videos we take they cannot do the trail justice as to how steep it REALLY is). Anywho, the trail begins in an upward scale of the mountain. By the time you reach the 1/4 mark you come to a river. 
These kids lived it a hut with this view right outside their window. To us, they may just be the riches kids alive.
You continue the trail walking alongside (and sometimes through) the river. When you finish with the river you've reached the top of the mountain which is the half way mark. 
Just finishing the 1/4 mark.

The trails were all dirt and very steep

Then you follow the trail along the side of the mountain. This part was fun because the trail was 1 ft. wide. But don't worry, If you lost your balance and fell you would roll all the way down the mountain….you would have plenty of brush and trees to catch your fall…or atleast hopefully they would catch you. 
But on a happier note the view is SPECTACULAR! Its amazing how peaceful everything looks from so high up. Magunda, magunda! Anyways so you walk alongside the mountain. 

Then finally you begin your descent into the valley which is the last 3/4 of your trip. You pass through a small village known as Noog (which means coconut). We took a short break here, the people here were all so lively and friendly.  We found shade underneath a tree, but the people told Mrs. George to tell us to move because we were standing under a coconut tree and it was a little windy that day. AKA they didn't want a coconut to land on us. Thank you village people of Noog! After the village of Noog its a 15 minute walk down a very steep, muddy, path into the village of Kemantian.

HOORAY!! We've made it!! Overall, it wasn't as bad as we had expected. Then again, the trails were dry…and other than sore legs we weren't feeling too bad. Allison DID end up carrying the backpack the entire way. (Booyah!) However, she did slip and fall 7 times. Each time with a huge thud and accidentally throwing her water bottle. One of her first times falling (which was when walking alongside of the mountain) she managed to throw her water bottle over the side of the mountain. lol. Luckily it was caught in some brush so she was able to lean over the side and retrieve it. Allison's Overall Statement: Theres nothing like the exhilaration of climbing up a mountain, through rivers, mud, sweat, tears with a $1200 camera at your side.
Sam didn't fall once. It was with this grace that she tried her hand at Documentary film-making as she follows our adventure up the mountain and into Kemantian. Here it is:

Nini was like our personal trainer. She would run ahead
of us and then turn around and tell us the easiest route
up. "Doon! Doon! Dito! Dito!" and then say "Good Job!"

We saw plenty of these, rather large
millipedes. Eew!

Now we get to spend the next couple days in the beautiful valley of Kemantian! Till next time…

~Me and Her


Wendy said...

oh wow! Great memories. I love seeing the people in Nyug! I'm so jealous! So glad you got to finally experience the infamous trail.

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