Saturday, January 17, 2015

When we experienced a "storm"

I never thought my first trip to the Cavinti Falls aka Pagsanjan Falls would turn out
to be a nerve-wracking one. Azrael Coladilla/Azrael's Merryland
In my 27 years here on Earth, I have experienced some of the worst storms that hit Southern Luzon. I endured a week without electricity when "Rosing" hit Metro Manila in 1995. I got stranded and eventually braved the storm when "Milenyo" came in 2006. I and my churchmates got stuck when "Ondoy" was in town in 2009. I witnessed how my former boarding house got ravaged by "Nesat" in 2011 (I was yet to build TLIMC then). And recently, I experienced walking for 13 kilometers just to get remittance because it was a total blackout during another storm last year. But this one, although not really a storm, made me feel I was in one again.

It was my first time at this place called Magdapio Falls, which is better known by locals in the town of Cavinti as the Cavinti Falls and by everyone else as the Pagsanjan Falls. At first, I was jokingly hesitant to go on a balsa trip to the falls because I left my other shorts in my bag (I was sporting the full Master Game Face Media Challenge kit I got during my birthday). Eventually, I decided to go to brave the falls. So me and a group of bloggers went aboard the balsa.

One thing I noticed was that the balsa was overloaded. It turned out, there are supposed to be two balsas, but the other one is damaged, prompting the sailors to maximize the remaining balsa to de-congest the long queue. If not for the fact that we were wearing life jackets, I don't know if we would get up from the deep waters if the balsa got broken.

Well, we made the cave safely. We decided to stay inside for a while while another blogger, Ross Del Rosario, opted to go back because of some minor health issues. We took selfies (I left my tablet in my bag for security purposes) and we went "wild" inside the cave. Then came a group of Koreans coming from Pagsanjan and, as what some 9Gag memes and comments would say, "S*** just got real."

My fear about the overloading just happened. The water flow from the falls became stronger (probably because it was raining almost the entire afternoon in Cavinti), and it was enough to overpower the sailors and the Korean-loaded balsa. We had to save everyone and remind him to stay calm. Moments later, a fellow blogger hurt her right arm. And here I was, all alone way inside the cave and sat a la Kevin Durant (the photo below may help you).
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images (file photo)
I really wanted to go back to the mainland immediately after everything that took place. We eventually got back only to find out that our injured friend passed out. And everyone worried. Rules state that if you made the falls via the Cavinti trek, you have to go back there, the same if you decided to take the boat from Pagsanjan (the easier and the more well-known route, thus, naming the area Pagsanjan Falls although its part of Cavinti) to get there. I don't know how our the tour organizers convinced the boat sailors to get her aboard since they were hesitant at first, but of course it's already an emergency. Eventually, they made it to Cavinti safely.

I prayed for thanksgiving that we were kept safe from the "storm". I was reminded of the past real storms and how God saved me. But of course, what I am more thankful is that the Lord saved me from a more devastating storm called sin. And all it took was a sacrifice by no less than Him on the cross.

"No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Joshua 1:5 (NIV)

PS: More of my Cavinti adventures on Stu Traveled and Sporty Guy.

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