Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It was my first time, and it didn’t feel good.

I was only seventeen when I had my first experience.

To be honest I did not know what to do or to expect on this particular circumstance. I was excited yet nervous at the same time. If something goes terribly wrong, I might be dead. Dead as a dodo. All I was asking was a great and wonderful experience. No more, no less. And if all else fails, I would gladly accept and face the consequences no matter what.


Armed with only a little knowledge about our destination, a few hundred pesos and a backpack filled with unnecessary stuff, I braved the wilderness and learned a LOT of things aside from collecting data from the transect-quadrat we have made.

It was on a cold morning of February 17th when I embarked on a peculiar journey to the sea and mountain. It was my first time to join an out-of-town trip without my parents. Just me and my classmates, a few Microbial Ecology students and two professors. It felt liberating though, knowing that I was free to do anything. To be honest, I didn’t have any idea what was in store for us. All I know was we were going to conduct a laboratory exercise at a far away place.

First stop was Magnaga Beach Resort in Pantukan, Compostela Valley Province. It wasn’t part of our itinerary. Five of our upperclassmen who joined our trip and were enrolled in Microbial Ecology took a sample of the sea water while the rest of us just took some pictures of the beach. The beach was just mundane but clean.




After shooting some photos and consuming a gallon of double dutch ice cream, we went to our destination: Maragusan, Compostela Valley.

Lifted from Wikipedia, Maragusan is a 1st class municipality in the province of Compostela Valley, Philippines. According to the (as of Aug 1, 2007) census, it has a population of 51,547 people in 8,762 households. Total land area of this province (as of 2007, in hectares) is 39,427.

The road to Maragusan was unpaved thus we suffered butt-ache; we endured that pain for almost two hours! As we made our way to the wilderness, we were greeted by the lush plantations of banana and some secondary forests. I have also seen some scars of the mountain – brown patches brought about by the numerous mining activities of the province.


We finally arrived at our destination. It was a hot spring resort but because of miscommunication, we transferred to another resort, this time, a cold spring resort. The weather drastically changed as we made our way to the cold spring resort. The stratus clouds slowly wrapped the slopes of the densely-forested mountain ranges of Maragusan.


As we were gathering data from the transect area, the rain started to pour. We hastily gathered our things and went back to the covered hall of the resort. I didn’t bring my raincoat or jacket. I was also hesitant to get wet because I didn’t bring my towel.

Because almost all of our plans got ruined, we decided to get wet anyway. So we took a deep plunge to the icy cold spring water. Yes, it was really cold! I was shivering the whole time. My classmate’s lips even turned violet several minutes after swimming!

We left the place around 4PM with an insufficient amount of data from our field work. It rained so hard causing some delays on our way back to the town proper. The road was shrouded by heavy fog. Zero visibility. For the whole duration of the trip, I was praying so hard until the ride got smoother because we already hit the paved road.

You probably surmise that this is one of the worst trips that I’ve experienced so far. Yes, it was an awful experience. My classmates and teachers can attest to that. But despite being tagged as the worst trip, I have learned a LOT of things about what to expect and what to bring on a trip.

On the brighter side, this trip had opened me to a new horizon.  I’ve realized that the world is indeed a beautiful place to live in. There are so many beautiful and exotic places that are yet to be discovered. It is one of the reasons why I always look forward whenever we have field works (when I was still studying Biology in UP).

I was only seventeen when I had my first experience.

I explored, I came and craved for more.

Backpackers like me would surely cherish their first experience no matter how awful or great it was!
The author would like to thank Neil Ramos for providing the cover photo for this blog entry. View his Flickr page now. His photos are amazing. To Lyle Malubay, thank you for providing such beautiful photos of our first trip! You might as well visit her DeviantArt page!


  1. ahoy fellow traveller! there's just so many places in this world to explore and whether travel experiences might be awful or wonderful...all are surely memorable :)

  2. Hello Raine! Oh yes, but I really won't forget my first trip because honestly I didn't have any clues on what to expect or whatnot. But likewise, you're right. Every trip is bound to be memorable no matter what.

  3. It's not the destination but the journey and the learning :D
    Charge it to experience na lang Renz.

  4. Well at least nothing bad happened during the trip. :)

  5. you know what, Renz, these are the more memorable trips that last more than 'perfect' ones. These are stories that we can share over and over and we remember more in detail.

    this actually reminded me of a spontaneous trip I had back in my senior year in highschool in Dumaguete. I've got no photos to prove but it's still fun recalling how I was able to survive going to the mountain with friends who also had less than a hundred bucks to spend. we had fish balls (yung tag 25 cents lang na parang walang laman) as well as buko and its juice for lunch. naghike pa kami nang matagal kasi wala kaming masasakyan. it was such a sudden decision because I decided to join a few friends right after our CAT sessions on a Saturday.

    ayan, napa mini-blog tuloy ako. heheh. ahh, gandang topic toh for a blog carnival!

  6. I agree with you, traveling without your parents is indeed liberating, you'll definitely crave for more travels..

    woohoo to your fieldwork.. haha.. parang ganyan din yung ginawa nmin sa Pagbilao last time. hehe

    cheers to more thrifty trip :)

  7. Ed! Mas grabe yung experience sa 'yo! Kasi sa amin, we planned naman for the place pero yung mga gagawin namin, puro spontaneous decisions na eh kasi it was our first time to join such field work. n0ob pa kami. LOL. But during our succeeding trips, alam na namin kung paano i-balance ang academics and 'good time' with friends :D

  8. Hi Ivan! Pero minsan kung wala ang parents mo, parang kabado rin, pero keri naman kasi at least marunong ka nang makibahagi sa mga locals eh :D

  9. i just got back from a trip to Korea and i found myself lost most of the time, half of what wanted to do, i wasn't able to do. I spent more than i should have and now i am back home can't stop thinking about my trip. But of course, i can't wait to go back because i know i have unfinished business. You'll get by. Have fun! No pressure! :)


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