Monday, February 25, 2008


After a week wading at the beach, building sand castle, racing with the ghost crabs, and boating; Neil, my brother-in-law, suggested to try another venue like camping in the woods, river crossing, mountain climbing or any other activities like what he saw in the "Discovery Channel." But what he saw were all within our reach that Mother Nature is always making it available for us to enjoy her grace. But we opted to live in a polluted environment. In a crowded place we always raced to exceed and left behind the dirt of advancement for followers to embrace. We decided to go on a picnic at Pagbahan River. It was considered the clearest, cleanest, and freshest water along the rugged and neglected Mamburao-Sta. Cruz Highway and most accessible by van and light vehicles. This is the picnic site we frequented during our high school days, a silent witness of teenage romance and a nature's way to comport humans. We rolled on after buying some stuffs in the market together with our cousin, Lilian and her daughter, Sarah, who joined us in the hometown vacation -they were the subjects of my previous post, "Pagsanjan Falls: The Marvel of Nature." As the family tribe went down the ridge, there were disagreement as to the exact place where to set our tent and these wasted our time choosing the suitable site. We transferred to the other side of the bank and settled under the tree shaded enough to accommodate us. We started the bonfire and cooked the foods while others proceeded to the stream and bathed in a clear and crystalline water. They were shouting, laughing, and enjoying the current and this has been what they were craving for. Suddenly, Lilian heard a shrill sound or it's a mother instinct that something unusual is happening to her daughter. "Sarah? My daughter..." she cried! She turned her back and darted instantly to the stream. And there! Sarah and Nicole were being forced by the swirling current under the uprooted tree, deep enough to gobble them, disappear, and drown. Neil, who was swimming nearby tried to rescue but was also dragged by the swirl and they were three holding on the root branch and were unable to escape the danger. The current kept on agitating them as if they were being pulled down the bottom bed. Lilian did not lost her senses and was able to grab a long and slender tree-branch enough to reach the three from where she stood in the bank. Nicole was first rescued as she was too scared and hysterical for she don't know how to swim and ... then Sarah. Neil was bulky 220-pound and Lilian feared she might be dragged as well. She yelled for help. And that's the time we got to know the real danger they had experienced. After that incident we gathered under the shade and partook the foods. Others were still wading while we discussed how the three got into that entanglement and there was a saying, I recalled, that Pagbahan River takes life every year and now yearning to get one. Then another cried for help! Josephine accidentally stepped on a spiny fish called "Lupo" and she was distressfully in pain. She was hot and shivering.... and we rushed her to the hospital that ended our outing pleasure. Back in the house .... there were so many heroes. "I did this ..... to save her." "If not for me ...." "You were responsible ...." "Bla-bla-bla ...." But, Lilian was the real hero. She should have won a medal for her deeds. A message came in my cellphone: "Goat escaped from fence, crossed highway, sideswiped by speeding truck." It was my brother's goat in the farm. They brought it in the house, cut and cooked. They prepared "calderetta", "pinapaitan", and "kilawen", all native delicacies and said to be health enhancing foods. We devoured, drunk brandy and beer, and all the merriments we shared in our family house by the sea.

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