Samar surprises us and exceeds our expectations.
First, perhaps not accidentally but through divine intervention (because somebody up there knows I LOVE Architecture), we discover a gem of a lovingly restored ancestral home called Lola Rosa. Second, we rode motorcyles to reach what they call the mini-version of Niagara falls called Luluguyan. Third, we might not have done the whitewater rafting we wanted but the Torpedo boat ride at Paranas with waterfall jumping at Deni point more than made up for the online misinformation.
We had just taken the 11pm RORO from Cebu to Ormoc and arrived around 5am and from the port drove straight for 5 hours to reach Calbiga, Samar so we rested for a while at Lola Rosa’s before venturing out to Lulugayan falls. We wanted to go caving after but we reached the spot past 4pm and it was a one or two hour trek to the mouth of the cave so we had to cross that off our list and reserve it for next time. That needs a lot more preparation to execute.
Originally, Cagayan de Oro was included in our itinerary because of whitewater rafting but because it’s too far and since Samar offered it, we went to Samar instead. I kept showing people the screenshot of the inflatable raft over the rapids that’s supposedly in Calbiga but we found out that it’s an internet “untruth” and what they had was a boat ride called TORPEDO. It’s a wooden boat with a motor going through a relatively flat river. It wasn’t what we envisioned but since we were there, might as well give it a try. Life proves once again that you only need to say “yes” to it.
After more than half an hour going through a river with lush mountain forests on either side and with some adrenaline-pumping, scream-inducing dips, we stopped at Deni point. Our guides tied a rope between two rocks downstream and then upstream with the not-so-high waterfalls, we jumped over the raging water. There’s no inflatable raft here but it turns out, our body was the raft that was to be swept away by the roaring current. The guides were very safety conscious and they told us which rocks we could jump from. They were always alert assisting us especially the kids. Jimmy couldn’t stop jumping. The adults stopped after a while but Jimmy still kept coming back saying, “one last time” several times.
The town of Calbiga had a number of beautiful but crumbling, teetering old houses but one house was lavished with so much love and attention and was turned into a veritable museum cum bed and breakfast by the family as a tribute to their matriarch, Lola Rosa. Art works, pottery, paintings, artifacts, antiques, documents, framed photos, restored furniture, solid wood floors that shone bright, a fruit and flowered themed Christmas tree, a chair fit for a queen, knick knacks, bric-a-brac — these filled the house but what was even more surprising was how the level of cleanliness in the main rooms were carried over in the glass cabinets for holding materials for the maintenance and upkeep of the house. The tools and items used for repair were lined up perfectly like somebody obsessive-compulsive is wonderfully guilty of intentional care.
This home is where we spent our New Year’s eve with Jason and his friend, Lele cooking a feast in a spacious kitchen. Walking distance away was the market where they could easily get ingredients and where Jimmy could get a colorful horn to welcome 2020. Joshua, Jimmy and I ended up watching the movie that we started in one RORO ship but didn’t finish. Now, it was quite meaningful to usher in the next 365 days with V for Vendetta, a film that celebrates anarchist rebellion.
I’ve always wanted to watch V for Vendetta because I used the short monologue in my English class in China. Even if I hadn’t seen the movie then, I had the students come up with their own crazy alliterations. New year is not only for making wishes but for making them come true.
But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona.
Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
Check out the video of the waterfall jump here.