Dec 1, 2012

Mt. Isarog Chronicles #1: Wrong Turn

Shivering and feebly coherent... I heard him say:

"Napanuod mo na yung Wrong Turn? Grabe yun no..."

I could hear the chill in his voice, and I can hear them in mine too as I answered back:

"Oo, napanuod ko na"

He continued: "Ilan kayong magkakapatid?"

I despised his confidence in that particular question. I hate being asked brutally about things I don't want to answer. Despite, I said "Bakit mo gustong malaman?"

"Wala lang... kasi ako, me kapatid ako. Namatay siya, nasabugan ng granada. Hinostage nya kasi yung family namin, tapos nagpakamatay cia. Tatay ko rin wala na, nasagasaan ng truck. Parang basketbol nga na walang hangin yung pagkakapisa sa ulo, flat talaga."

I fell silent, I could hear his laboured breathing behind my neck. This must be the thoughts of a person dying. His memories flashing right before his eyes. I panicked, and tried to talk to him to keep him awake. I myself is having a hard time staying awake... staying sane... and staying alive. I have read about this before, I said to myself. I need to keep us both awake, or we'll never wake up again. Ever.

We tried talking about things around. With the stutter of a person feeling extremely cold, we tried and tried. But Somnus' grip on us is stronger. We cared not for Hades... we are so damn tired, and cold. We just wanted to take a rest. Air... we need air.

We alternated on the forever lost airhole we stuck our nose out, carefully placing it so we could remember where to find it the next time. The earth is rough, inclined, and the surroundings is infinitely black. The grounds we lay on is wet, cold, and full of dirt, sand, leaves. I could not feel my right legs, and my sprained ankle. How I wish I was in another place, in another time. I imagined a well lit bus, with me sitting comfortably. All well... and alive. How far those seemed... and as I gently and involuntarily closed my eyes a teardrop of desperation and loss of hope fell.

"Mama... I should have listened to you in the first place. I know this... my impending death... will break your heart. I am so sorry to break your heart."

My mother did not know where I was that time. Or that if she had a hunch, I didn't confirm it the last time we talked. I didn't get her permission, nor informing her in the least. When we talk about it this day, she always emphasize that that night... she had a bad feeling because a mirror in the house was broken in pieces.

As I opened my eyes, I saw the very welcome ray of light in the now calm horizon. Mr. Sweeper got out, and scanned our surrounding. Upon seeing everything in light, I never believed that this is the same place as the night before. We saw that there were no flat grounds, and we were near a shallow ravine.

The unpitched tent in which we took refuge lay silently, feeling the beam of light ready to dry up the mist. Upon asking him what he felt that night... he said that:

"Sayo ako nagaalala, iniisip ko paano tayo makakababa sa lagay ng paa mo". 

I thought we were lost, but we 2 were on the right trail, 2 hours away from the campsite, and 5 hours away from the jumpoff.

Later I inquired the trail lead what happened, why they didn't go back for us. He explained that they tried, but the cold is getting the better of them. And they decided they could not go on, or else they'll die of chill. Mr. Sweeper has no idea of what came over us that night. He had no idea that we are near the grip of death due to advance stage of hypothermia. Really ignorance is bliss.

This chunk of memory came like a flash, as I was busy browsing through some pirated DVDs in a dinghy store here in Guadalupe Market, and seeing that movie title.

WRONG TURN. I may not remember his name nor tried to thank him personally, but I definitely remember his face... and his story.

- Mt. Isarog Sept2008 Chronicles, and I am thankful for my third chance of life. It's been almost a year since that fateful night. 

"What didn't kill me, made me stronger"
(Multiply post, 8/7/09)


  1. superstitious din ang mama mo, about that broken mirror.. im not sure if its always about superstitions or maybe yung tinatawag na mother's instinct.


  2. Hi DQXTC,

    My mother is very superstitious and nerbyosa. She got used to my travels na lang eventually... thanks for taking time in reading and commenting on this post. :D

  3. nice payat ka pa dito :P saan yung full story? katams ako maghanap :D