The first Hero’s Journey camp in 2017 was held in Club Balai Isabel fronting the Taal Lake where in January 2020, the volcano within the volcano of the lake spewed ashfall that had people evacuating to higher ground. Our camp had moved to the Pampanga and Zambales areas so it was far and relatively safe from Taal’s rumblings underneath. However, one dad and his son cancelled their trip but 17 kids and 4 adults from China went through with the journey with our team of 5 from the Philippines eagerly waiting for their arrival at the Clark airport, praying Taal would hold whatever grudge it held inside or figure out how to let it dissipate in non-explosive ways.
The camp is improving year by year with new activities and revised programs, tweaks here and there but no matter the preparation, the essence of the journey is still the unexpected and dealing with them with grace and wisdom.
Three days in (with 4 to go), and a lot has happened – the usual and unusual adventures – minor airport inefficiencies, improvisation, farm time at Prado, bonding time in between, troubleshooting coordination, surfing and the new addition of 4×4 rides in the mountains of Botolan.
Three days after Taal’s alboroto, the camp participants’ plane arrived on January 15 at 12:30am. They got out after an hour and a half and the kids were tucked in bed at 3am at the nearby Royce Hotel in Clark. We proceeded to our go-to fave farm, Prado at Lubao, Pampanga.
For foodies and quirky-creative interior design enthusiasts, Prado thrills with works of recycled objects turned into art, light through the leaves of tall trees, shadows moving with the still water of the pond, the sky over the rice fields promising peace. The kids bike to their hearts content on our second day after feeding the pigs.
I find this treasure of a book from the owner’s collection. As I told Reimon, it’s probably one of the reasons why I came there — to receive its message.