Monday, November 4, 2013

Kalinga | The Harsh Road To Lubo

KALINGA | The Harsh Road To Lubo
Keeping The Camaraderie Alive

"Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen"
- Benjamin Disraeli

I am sharing some of the landscape photos taken along the road, hand held photos shot with the noontime sky rendering the landscape flat. Cramped as we were with our conditions in the truck, and getting the trip held up as it is every hour as the truck hits the bumps along the road, the scenery kept us happy and the presence of comrades holding on makes us want to move forward in making this trip remarkable.

There is but little information from the internet about the village of Lubo, in Tanudan, Kalinga province, so little or immaterial that I am left to write this base on my own personal experience. We took the 12 hour bus ride to Tabuk City, Kalinga from Cubao, Quezon City, this was the comfortable part, sitting in an air-conditioned bus that traveled all though the night while we leisurely sleep along the road. On arrival, we were herded via an old military truck to the house of our host near the market place. A warm sunny Saturday Kalinga Morning greeted us; the aromatic Kalinga Brewed coffee provided by our host cheered us all as we prepared for our packed lunch and take breakfast in their market. Saturday was market day, the hustle and bustle of friendly locals was a proof that we were in Kalinga province after all. I bought coffee from a market vendor who set up her merchandise on an earth pad; a pack of grounded Kalinga coffee for only Php 20.00 was the entire souvenir I was looking for.

The Truck Ride
When it came about time for us to depart the city, all 27 of us were just enough and fitting in the same old military truck, with all the provisions and boxes of items we lugged all along. We were surprise to find that a few locals will be coming with us all throughout, now we have children aboard and there is just wasn’t room for everyone to squeeze and sit comfortably. There is no other option aside from maybe bringing our own truck or a 4x4 wheel which out of the question. Already I dreaded the incoming adventure, feeling that I bit off too much as I sat on an edge, facing outside, while I am forced to hug my knees in a fetal position while siting. You can imagine my predicament for like after almost an hour, I have this nagging urge to stretch out my legs, which I did, letting them hang out and dangling once we are out of the City boundaries and there is not much incoming traffic.

A five hour drive through a rough road in hills and mountains, with cornfields and direct noontime sun that is feeding on all the reserves of happiness we have in store, about a quarter in our journey, some of the iron tube pillars supporting our only shelter from the sun gave way. Instantly burying some of us in a mess of sweating bodies, carton boxes and screaming children, oh yeah, I had a head contusion, but it’s nothing compared to the trauma that some of the women earned. We proved to be a very resilient group of people as it is, we just hid in the shade of nearby road bushes while we let the men fix the pillars and place everything back in order, some were visibly shaken but none seriously injured so off we proceeded after 45 minutes of delay.

Just a point of reference, I'm that guy wearing a dark grey tank with green linings. This is exactly where I sat when the overhead roof gave way.

The men are cleaning out the debris and fixing the pillars that gave way under harsh noontime sun.

In here, you see my buddies along with a few locals waiting the the shades of nearby bushes. I had some dizzy moments, so I had to sit down and consider my bearings.

In the middle of nowhere, certainly it would be hard if we were to abort the trip now. There's barely any incoming or outgoing traffic.

Along Mountainside and dirt roads, the truck needed a fix from time to time. The crew were a bunch of experienced experts, we avoided getting stuck in deep mud's considering the size and heavy weight truck passing through. I have to say that these were the moments that became a breather for us to stretch out. You see in the picture, the locals staying together in one corner while most of us preferred not to move from out position in the truck.

The Dirt road of nowhere, carved mountain path road to Lubo, Tanudan, Kalinga.

The cramped conditions inside the truck, I got tired of sitting in one manner, so at some point I decided to stand up and hold on to the rafters. Here I got the chance to photograph everyone inside the truck.

Holding on to the rafters, I can see where some are actually sitting atop the head of the truck and the corners of make shift roof, with the rain clouds rolling in.

Our arrival was taken in with a collective sigh of relief, the truck ride left us all battered and some bruised which tested our resolve and resilience, it made all of this possible.

NOTE: This is in part of the Sykes Outdoor Tsinelas ni Juan Outreach in Lubo, Tanudan, Kalinga.
Check out the part one, A Day Spent At Lubo.

Francis Balgos is a Call Center Agent, Weekend Travel Warrior, Amateur Spelunker, Sometime Surfer, Newbie Mountain Climber, Photography Enthusiast, Certified Beach Bum, A first born son, Faithful lover, True Explorer...

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