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Friday, June 11, 2010

CS Manila @ Pula Playground Project

So it was my first time to travel out of town with the CS Manila Group, first time to do volunteer work and first time to go to Ifugao. I was excited! It was a spontaneous decision to join the group actually since I initially thought a weekend trip to Ifugao might not be enough. But with great interest and will I decided to join! I even requested for a leave on the following Monday since I knew I might not be able to get to work right after as I might be arriving really tired.

So on 4th of June, a Friday, I went to meet Marie and Len after work and we head to Florida bus station to catch the bus leaving at 10:45. Unfortunately, bus tickets were sold out. Our plan B took us into taking the Florida bus to Bagabag instead. As the bus operators suggested, we can go to Bagabag and from there catch a jeepney to Lagawe. Lagawe is where we will be meeting Mark. Mark is one the guys behind the Pula Playground Project.
We took the bus to Bagabag leaving at 11pm.

It was almost 10 hours on the road, probably 8 hours from Manila to Bagabag and 1-2 hours from Bagabag to Lagawe. There are numerous adventures on the way.

We arrived in Lagawe at 7am. We were expecting Mark to pick us up at 8am. But he arrived around 9. We got some time to kill at Mila's bakery and lucky there's free wifi. We also grabbed a chance to charge our electronic items as there will be no electricity in Pula.

When Mark arrived, we got to the police van he arranged for us and then we head to Pula. We had a few stop overs to get some stuff for the playground build.

Road to Pula is really tough. But the views made up for it! The mountains and the greens you see everywhere is stunning.

From Lagawe to Pula is perhaps another 1-2 hours ride.

We got at Pula around 11am. We rested for a while and then got ready for action! It rained shortly and we had to grab rice grains being dried around the basketball court to save them from getting wet.

We then head to the playground site. Started with painting the blocks of wood. These will be used to construct the fence around the playground. The rest of the guys helped in digging holes to put some posts to support the fences.

After a few hours, it was then time for lunch. We had noodles and rice. We rested for a while and had some time for chit-chat, thanks to another round of rain. When the rain stopped we head down the mountain to get sand as Mark instructed us.

We are not too aware what's in store for us. The trip down is slippery, some of us had been sliding down the path, even myself!

We got to the stream and had a refreshing dip. And then took sand to be carried up again. Seriously, the task to go up the mountain with the sand is not easy! It took us years to go up, I tell you! And my hand, limbs and legs were feeling numb already. I wish to help but my whole body is already feeling the pain. And finally, we got back to the site. Everyone's so tired but happy to have been able to carry back the sand!

We had sat down the basketball court for rest. After that we started taking turns to get a shower and then dinner afterwards.

We had spaghetti topped with corned beef or tuna, rice and boiled sigarilyas. We ate using chopsticks - which are actually barbecue sticks. It was such a great dinner for me because I was tired and hungry!

We capped off the night with some games everyone enjoyed. I didn't join though because my head was aching a bit. But I got so much fun looking at them and taking pictures!

We had to sleep when there's no more booze to take in and generator shuts off. Before I slept, I had the most beautiful sight of fireflies visible on the roof!

I feel like stars are moving in front of me!

We got up at 6 or 7 in the morning. It was so cold because it rained early that morning. After fixing up ourselves, Kuya Gerald made up some breakfast for us. Kuya Gerarld also assits Mark with the project.

At 7 we head to take the jeep back to Lagawe, since it's already full, only the four from the group took it as they are still heading to Sagada.

The rest remained and went back to the day care to get some rice and egg breakfast that Kuya Gerald still prepared.

At 8 pm it's our turn to get the jeepney. We all wanted to stay on top of the jeepney! It was such a fun ride and views are breathtaking! Hurts on the butt though because some parts of the road was rough. But it's so definitely worth it.

We got to Lagawe, around 11am. We're surprised to see that the first group that left were there too!

So there's some more time to rest and eat a little. I got myself a burger which was good enough to fill me up. We left Lagawe past 12 and took the jeep back to Bagabag.

At Bagabag, it took us a while to catch a bus back to Manila. All aircon buses are full and we were still hesitant to take the ordinary bus. But a few more buses and we gave in. We took an ordinary bus to San Jose, Nueva Ecija. So our plan got us to Nueva Ecija and from there we can take a Baliwag bus back to Manila.

Unfortunately, when we got to San Jose, no more Baliwag bus at the terminal. We made a quick stop over at a churchI prayed we get home soon :)

And luckily, as we were supposed to head to Chowking to eat, a Victory Liner bus stopped and accommodated us! Yehey! We're officially on our way to Manila. We are relieved. The bus was almost full but there was an extra box I could sit. A few passengers got off the bus after a while so finally I had a formal place to sit. And one by one, each of us were able to get a seat.

It was almost 10 or 11pm when we got to Manila. Said good byes to everyone and we promised to see each other soon for the post volunteer dinner!

Last Thursday, I've met up with them and reminisce the adventure with a sumptuous feast at Giligan's Trinoma.

The adventure is not over yet, we are planning to going back to the playground!