We can grow old sailing into the dark without growing apart.
Quitinday Cave in Jovellar, Albay is our chosen spot. My husband had been there several times in the distant past. His best-loved cousin, Bem, used to invite them explore the place during their younger years since his parents were locals in Jovellar. In fact, part of the river streaming to the cave runs through their land. My husband is very excited to come back to the place after a long while. He said it's not my typical cave since it comes with a hexing underground river. How lucky they were to experience it while unexplored.
We plan to invite Bem. It's too much to ask him come with us during this day. He has his planned Valentines date for sure. But we tend to be extremely thick-faced with him at times. Oh yeah! We're seizing and snatching him away from his generous and gorgeous wife! (Sorry Ate Ann. You can have your Valentines date later.)
Here we park and here we start.
Let's get driving to Jovellar. It's a fairly short ride taking us more or less 30 minutes from Camalig, Albay (town proper). We need to take a short trek to the entrance point of the cave but Bem suggests that we are taking not the entrance but the exit to get inside. My husband thinks it's a stirring idea. I think so too!
It's a friendly trail to the doorway of heaven.
Did I mention that aside from our baby boy, Mum and Ma (Bem's mom) come with us too? Unfortunately, they can't join us with our unexpected flip. It's not very ideal for an unprepared kid and senior citizens. (hehehe) But they can surely have fun with their mini-trekking adventure to the house of Manong (Bem's family land caretaker), in the middle of the woods. We are separating our ways for a little while to do each other's hike.
Father and son moment in the playground.
Folklore says there's a black lady dwelling in this place. I don't think so.
Trekking to the backdoor of the cave is like going extra mile away from extra-solar. The overgrown around gives us a Jurassic Park kind of ambiance. It's so ecologically far-flung! I know there must be more to why Bem wants us to take this secluded terrain. I know I'm not thinking wrong! He's gotten a rope in his bag and now he's starting to tie it around the tree trunk on top of a mini-cliff. So, this is it! We're gonna take the hard way to get in the cave. A free mini-rappelling adventure is what Bem prepares for us. I think it's snazzy!
A free mini-rappel is sophistication to its finest!
In life, it's either we go up or we go down. I'm going down!
Bem rappels down the mini-cliff until he reaches the river surface. All I need to do is to follow what he does. So now I'm doing it. I need my husband behind to watch over me though.
Things are easy when sunny but that's not life's supposed to be. We need rain to make it rough yet steady.
The water is cold and snowy. I don't want to get my backpack wet so I'm being extra careful with my steps. It's a little challenging for me. But with my husband's helping hands, I am able to find a better way to the entrance.. I mean, to the exit..Whatever.. We need to slightly hop from one rock to another through the water flow. The rock wall is a great help to support my balance too so I don't stumble down. It's showering so things get slippery and wet!
This wall, just like relationship, unshakable when stable.
Slimy stones underwater, slippy logs and snowy water all over? Kapit lang!!!
I'm in rush to enter the exit!
This picture gives no justice to its beauty. Yet, its memory will forever chase me.
Our bags and cameras and we are all soaking wet! But is it worth it? Hell yeah! I realized that the exit point is actually a meeting place for the river, the cave and the waterfalls! Inside the cave gives me a feeling of spiritual mysticism. Seeing these mounds column rising from the floor meeting the stalactites formed like a giant crimini mushroom, what can I say???! I expected to see a river flowing through a cave but this?! Nah-ah! I don't even mind taking photos anymore. I am mesmerized!
I can't really describe what it''s like and how it feels inside.
I see my husband trying hard to get a good photo shoot with his dripping camera. I'm giving him A for the effort! (hehehe!) The cave is pitch dark and the sound of the water is roaring. I just want to live the moment. I lie down and feel the drizzling water into my face. I gently touch the smooth floor with cold and clear watercourse running through. It's a hidden, dark and cold room for a Valentines date for sure!
This one makes me hungry for burger, thirsty for cooler.
But dear! Why do rain suddenly appears? I am still having moment here but well.. Bem says it's dangerous inside when raining. It's like a narrow dungeon that gets flooded with heavy rain. This place exemplifies both beauty and beastly! A goddess in the finest hours; a monster in the rasping weather.
Perhaps, the rain wants us to come home early. You know, Pa is waiting for Ma, Ate is waiting for Bem and Dad is waiting for Mum. (Hehehe!) But we can't let the chance slips without experiencing what the river offers us. We take a short while wandering around, getting up and down the sturdy bamboo stairs, navigating the bamboo balsa and climbing the cliffs alongside the river. We will surely go back for cliff jumping and diving very soon.
We can chase each other in the staircase of heaven.
Cousins forever from dusk to dawn..
Make peace not hate. Peace on Earth!
There are a few rituals to enter the underworld. You can craft your own now.
The cliff is so inviting; there will be time for jumping.
Wet season can steer the water to flow all over.
Watching him up there next to the water trail, makes me wanna stay here forever.
We can't stop exploring. Bem wants to drop by the mini-waterfalls nearby. He wants to brag the place where he, my husband and the rest of their clan used to play. This place is a reminiscent of their childhood playground. But their narrations imply that what I see now is not even close to what they saw before. I bet it was more likely a fairy-tale wonder world in here. How I wish I could go back in time. See what it was like. Experience the dare of the old wild. Discover the ancient secret of the cave inside. Oh dear...When will time machine ever be devised?!!