Life can be full of unexpected things, wandering can be rewarding or threatening, fun or could be boring, easy or struggling, free or expensive. We all want that optimistic side when going places. But on the contrary, there are also times that we fall on the negative side. This posts is just one of the many good things I encountered one day en route to the hinterlands of Nagbalaye Sta. Catalina town, province of Negros Oriental.
Brgy Nagbalaye is around 86 kms away from Dumaguete City and is one of the coastal areas comprising the municipality. With history of rising cases of insurgency in town and in the province of Negros Oriental the potential tourism attractions in the mountainside are left undiscovered. The treat of this rebel groups undyingly exists up to the present. At some point, I am hesitant to visit any of the hinterland villages in the municipality. But, following successful discoveries on some of their secluded Brgys prior to this trip made me realize to visit another.
The farthest to date was in Brgy Amio where I visited twice just to see the tallest waterfalls in town. Then it followed another waterfall in Brgy Kabulakan, and the monkey sanctuary respectively. Overall the people I met were helpful, nevertheless, I don’t have motives of harming people or harming their area.
I had to drive a long way just to check this secluded waterfall. It is situated in Sitio Jagna where I had to drive uphill slowly to almost an hour. The area seems secluded due to its sloping distance but the proper Sitio is actually a bearable drive. The way to Jagna sits a nearby river where it was a constant sight. The Sitio proper that time was actually busy since it was Sunday. It meant people gathering day. Villagers from further Sitios goes down to its market for trade, some others in church, and there are people from the coastal areas goes up to its market for fish trade and other products to be sold.
I asked some of the locals how to locate the waterfalls but denied to accompany me due to its distance. Willing to pay in return for a guiding fee but failed to find one. Instead one guy just instructed me to follow the locals and asked someone further. It was almost twelve noon when I arrive to the jump off area for vehicles. I had to decide whether to go or not, from the jump off my options is to hire again for some horse ride because it can only be reached by horse or the other way I shall walk.
Then I decided to just go on foot and followed a local watching him crossing the river. From then on I just followed the established human trail where I saw some other locals taking that route. As I went on, knowing I had not taken any meals for my lunch, water was my only source of survival :D.
Timely enough, I had to stopped to this native house where it serves also as a convenience store in between the river and to the villages further up. Then there was this couple in a conversation at the window of the store, I heard the wife asking to add on their list to their debts as I felt their faces with dismay. The husband on the other hand was about to lift a sack filled with bananas. When they were done, I bought some bread for my own as I was really hungry. When the couple are about to leave, I asked the vendor how much the couple owes them in exchange of the dried fish. It doesn’t really cost that much to me as I had a few extra. With no hesitation I paid the credit and told the old couple that they don’t have to think of it anymore, then I added a few instant noodles, some bread and a few canned sardines as they requested.
It was just a simple act of kindness when I saw them and seems frustrated on that day. Their story was, they were actually in the market to sell their bananas on their frequent client. Unfortunately, the client didn’t show up and bought another bananas. So the husband had to carry the full load again. When I heard what happened, I made the right decision to paid the debt. In return, I asked them if they know the way to Bug-as waterfalls and showed them the picture. Just the right people to asked, they know it very well. When we reached to one of his sons, the husband told me to bring some of the bananas, he offered it free. But I refuse, I couldn’t carry it all the way as it was really huge. Anyways, I was delighted seeing their faces look lighter probably at least they got something to eat that day.
Bug-as waterfalls was named after the village Bug-as. But due to frequent flooding, villagers transferred to nearby elevated areas. I had to secure my things not to be wet, going to the waterfalls will require you to cross the same river at least six times. Some of them were waist in level, the water current is also something I have to deal with. Horses are a primary transport among locals from Jagna proper to the other areas in those mountains.
As we moved on and went through sugarcane fields, we exchange stories and how’s going on our lives. We were very serious :D. I just keep following them and didn’t notice how far I’ve went. After crossing the fifth flow we rested on the shade of a tree together with some of their neighbors. Then from that resting point, we have to depart in different direction. They pointed the location of the waterfalls just across our resting point. But then again I have to cross the same river for the sixth time. I departed them with a thankful gesture for leading me up to that spot, while I was moving across they didn’t leave yet watching me if I’m on the right direction not until I’ve reached the destination. And from where I was standing below the waterfall I could see them as they also sees me and when rest assured they left.
Bug-as falls isn’t really hard to find but it’s covered with trees, its water source comes down the jungle and falls on a not so lofty height but still amazes me. Seeing elusive waterfalls like this whether short or tall, I will always be a fan.
Overall I had to cross the same river twelve times, I had to return at Jagna proper before it rains. While on my way back, the sky were already warning for an upcoming rain partnered with lightning and thunder. At that moment I wouldn’t like to walk across the river when it rains, as quick as I can, I got back to the village secured.
The whole experience taught me to be thankful of what we have, we may not have that much in life but there are still a lot who are less fortunate. Helping others in simple gesture makes oneself comforting, if we can brighten someone’s day then we do it without expecting any return. The couple I met mentioned that there are still unexplored waterfalls up on their village which I am excited to visit again when schedule permits, and with luck I hope to stumble again with them. Perhaps I shall be ready to lift a handful of bananas :D.