Life is easy on Gulugod Baboy. It takes an hour, a couple of hours on a slow pace, to get to the peak. The gentle slopes allow for a gradual climb without busting one’s lungs or knees. There are convenient stopovers for halo-halo and soft drinks along the trail. It gets hot on the open trail but you can choose to start hiking late in the afternoon to avoid the midday sun.
The rolling hills look like a rundown version of Rakuh a Payaman, a perfectly gorgeous pastureland in Batanes. The greenery is still beautiful but there are large patches of burnt grasslands and bare spots indicating that a few too many human feet have been there. Cow dung and pieces of garbage litter the sprawling campsites. The cows can get a little too friendly and may “knock” on your tent at night but a good whack on the tent wall or a shooing noise is enough to scare them away.
The view is stunning on Gulugod Baboy. The sky is at its bluest, the sea is at its calmest. The sunset is blazing red; the sunrise is a soft yellow hue peeking from the clouds. City lights brighten up the horizon, stars flicker quietly in the night sky. The moonlight is bright enough for running around without a headlamp but dim enough to hide tear-stained faces.
For one night at least, the world is gentle on Gulugod Baboy. You can cry over a boy who broke your heart. You can mourn the end of something that may or may not have been worth keeping. You can admit that God, if He’s out there, is so damn hard to figure out and systematic theology is silly. You can be soft and vulnerable and ridiculously corny. You can take down a few bricks from your walls and let people in for a while. You can trust in friendship and tight hugs and crazy laughter over shots of gin.
Daybreak is beautiful on Gulugod Baboy. The air is cool, the grass is damp with morning dew, the fog makes everything look ghostly. The sea awaits as you go down the hill. The craggy shoreline nearby is crammed with dive resorts and poorly built concrete eyesores but there’s vibrant marine life underwater.
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. — Isak Dinesen
Life is easy on Gulugod Baboy. When everything else is rough, it’s nice to be somewhere that makes things a little less difficult even just for a while.