The whole group took a bus going to Famy, Laguna. I remember we got off, not at a proper terminal, but in front of a small sari-sari store. From there we abandoned the main road and moved deep into a coconut plantation (well, more like green pastureland sheltered by towering coconut trees). I could say this was a normal route trekkers always took. Our Mountaineers knew the trail by heart.
Well, remember, this happened over a decade ago, so things would certainly have changed between then and now. So keep on reading, I cannot write this any other way but flashback.
The Mountaineers escorted us head and tail, meaning some of them led, and some of them fell behind. We went past some grazing animals, past some farmhouses made of bamboo and other light materials. After more than a hundred meters or so, we were moving into the woods, with no dwellings in sight, although sporadically there would appear an abandoned ramshackle shanty that looked so melancholic as it stood under some clumps of trees.
We waded through ankle-deep, knee-deep and waist-deep rivers. Then we were moving uphill but we hardly noticed it. The conversations and the laughters of the fellow trekkers kept our minds off the trail.
We realized the uphill trail only when we had to climb a steep part, holding on to the rope that one of the Mountaineers ahead tied to a tree. I thought it was going to be difficult given the fact that we'd come a long way from the drop-off point and our legs were already so tired . But I managed to go up without a whine. This was the time my prof said he was beginning to worry about me, but he was surprised that I held up so well. I just smiled but deep inside of me I was wishing I could turn back and go home. But that was just a thought, really. I was enjoying the trek, because everyone was chirpy. We were all doing fine and ecstatic, especially when we got to the highest point and we had a vantage view of how far we had come. We have reached Siniloan.