We proceed in a convoy with Jerome's KIA leading the way, followed by the Suzuki Mini Van driven by Jhurds and Johnas astride his Skygo 250cc motorcycle. We arrive at a gated residence in Lilo-an and another of Camp Red, Christopher Maru (2013), meet us outside. He is with his cousin, Jonjon. We all transfer to a bigger Toyota pick-up customized into a passenger van when Aljew Frasco (2013) and Bonna Canga become available. Along the way we secure food ingredients for our meal and steel digging tools.
The way would not be even ground. We will walk, hop and balance over granite rocks. Fortunately, the rock surfaces are bleached dry by the long absence of rain removing the instance of slips. Still, we walk carefully and slowly. My feet soles are getting pounded by the angled slopes of rocks and boulders. This river is a local tourist attraction for it hosts two unusually-shaped rocks called “Malingin” and “Arko nga Bato”.
I transfer the digging tool on a vertical crack so I could free my left hand. All my weight are on the right foot as my left foot have nothing to step on. I probed for a handhold with my left on the very smooth rock but found none. As I am doing this, my right shoe begins to slip very slowly. I begin to rattle. I know that, if I fall, I would land on the deepest part of the river, which is water but, I would strike my head or my body first on a protrusion of solid rock above the pool. I have to think quick!
Shaking my head, I see Justin backtrack from the route that I had taken. I almost lost it and I cannot explain why I was able to overcome that hopeless situation. I recovered my wits but my knees are shaking. My footing are unstable at first when I go down the stream but, as time passes by, it regained its confidence of treading the uneven path. Would I want to do it again? Never! Was it bravado that led me there or was it something else? Both.
Meal cooked by Christopher is an excellent but spicy pork estofado. So spicy that no angel would dare taste. Despite that, it was licked clean by the hungry company which meant we have to drink more water. Much better for it is a very humid day. The Cotcot River made it more humid. The shades would have been a good refuge to take a siesta but we have a big task to accomplish. The latrines! We would have that rest after this. We need to dig two holes first.