Monday, November 10, 2008

We go to Manila; Paul and Karl part 2

On Sunday afternoon we took the speed catamaran operated by Sun Cruises on our way to Manila. It was strange to be leaving our house and our friends, even though we had only lived on Corregidor for two and a half weeks. The thought of returning to the overcrowded, air-polluted, and noisy metro Manila was less than exciting. We really enjoy our new lightly populated, clean, quite island home. We have already had people question how we could live all by ourselves, without a TV or even a radio. Of course the internet does keep us in contact with our friends and family.

Earlier in the day we did more exploring with Karl and Paul, although for them it was more of them imparting their vast knowledge to us. Because of our impending departure we had a short morning walk down trails that are at times easy to follow and at others nearly impassible. The trails we took were on flat areas between cliffs for the most part, so it was easy to see that they had been roads cut into the steep banks. Karl and Paul used machetes to cut through overgrown areas, especially new bamboo growth. You must be very careful not to grab thorny vines and the trunks of some trees which are spiked. The only other part which was difficult was descending to the first road, since we had to descend a steep bank.

All along the way we saw evidence of human presence from long ago. We saw huge culverts, tiny observation stations, and other concrete structures. In several places there were caves cut into the bank. Most caves were big and inter-connected. Karl went into a couple, and except for forgetting his backpack and having to go back for it, everything went smoothly. We can’t help but wonder how many other tropical places you can go into a cave or tunnel and not have to fear running into snakes, spiders, or scorpions. Certainly these all exist here, but most are on the less-fortified tail of the island, and even there they are not common.

At one point we came across a deep ravine, which must be even more breathtaking after a heavy rain, since there must be a temporary waterfall of 200 feet or more. Right around the corner from there was a large stand of bamboo, with each shoot measuring four inches or more in diameter. Unfortunately pictures cannot do justice to scenes like these, since you need the three-dimensional aspect to truly appreciate the vastness. We hope to retrace our steps soon enough that we can find the trails and get more acquainted with them.

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