Wednesday, January 09, 2008

hot springs in mainit, bontoc

december 27 - we've had a great rest last night. we were so exhausted from last night's spelunking from sumaguing cave. me and my cousin dropped by andrew's shop to use the computer and buy some souvenir for my sisters, before we met rafael at the jeepney station to bontoc. we left sagada at exactly 11am. it was a very short ride, about thirty minutes.  
bontoc looked so much different than sagada. sagada is located on the top of the mountains while bontoc is right at the foot of the mountains. it is a little warm down in bontoc and there, you could see more; more people, more stores, and more vehicles.

i've also noticed that people in bontoc love one thing which i've never thought they'd love so much. two words. PEANUT BUTTER. yes, everywhere that i go, i see peanut butter. on the streets, in the public market, and even in local stores. i saw these ladies eating a pancake-like food in the market and they'd put peanut butter on top of it instead of butter and maple syrup. there were like three local stores where i've seen them selling imported goods like SKIPPY peanut butter. that was just my observation. i could be wrong, or maybe i am right.

after eating brunch in the public market, we bought some groceries for tonight's meal. the jeep from bontoc to mainit wasn't leaving until 3pm. so we've waited for a long time before the jeep left.
as usual, the roads weren't done. some part of the trip was a little bumpy but the view from the top of the mountain was quite a spectacle. if the jeep never broke, we could have arrived at our destination earlier. we left our things over rafael's grandmother's place. there we also met his younger brother and his other friends from sagada, who came over for some basketball game and for a swim. we explored in brgy. mainit. their main attraction is their hot springs. i think there is an inactive volcano somewhere and it's causing the water to be so hot. thick steam and boiling water are the most things you would see in mainit. i've also noticed that they also have tombs sitting right next to the locals houses. they have no cemetery, so they bury their dead loved ones right on their front yard. at first, i thought it was weird but later i realized that that it could be gesture of love and sincerity.

we were so lucky that the guy that runs the sugar cane factory let us shoot video and take some photos. they were very cautious about having some unexpected guests visiting their town. we were told that there were some engineers from other towns measuring their lands without their permission and those engineers would sell their properties to some rich buyers. we told them that we're photographers and videographers, not engineers. we even had to convince them that the tripods that we were using supports for our equipment for taking pictures and not for measuring lands.

it was getting dark already and the thing that i was afraid to happen was for me to step on some boiling puddle and eventually kill myself. but of course, that never happened. we got back to rafael's place right on time for dinner. it was so quiet outside. there were no people talking, no kids running, no electricity, and all that i could hear was the chirping of the crickets.

after dinner, we went up again to a nearby local hot spring resort. we had to climb up for 10 minutes to get there. the entrance was so cheap. php50 per head for two hours but we were allowed to stay for another two hours before they closed. the warm water from the pool, the rushing water from a nearby stream, the steam coming from the it, and the clear dark blue skies, all mixed together, to make the perfect night.

rafael's uncle lives just right around the corner, asking us to stop by for a visit. his relatives were very kind and giving. they never spoke any tagalog word but i felt that they were honest. they even let us have some sweets made out of sugar canes. i was so tired, yet i feel like staying up all night.

brgy. mainit, bontoc could be developed to be your total tourist destination. i hope that the officials will have enough funds to improve their facilities. i've had no idea where we would stay if it wasn't for my guide friend. i've made another version of this mainit springs video. click here to see its alternate version.

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