Monday, June 18, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 4

To Mag-Aso Falls

Day 4 of the trip was a bit less hectic than usual. The class agreed that this would be a field trip day, so we didn’t have to wake up so early. The class would meet us over at our hotel in Zaycoland and the CPSU transport vehicle would be taking us to Mag-Aso falls where the students would be recording their raw footage for their final project by Friday: an environmental advocacy video.
Also, we were informed that we would be transferring hotels because our booking for Zaycoland was made on the fly and there were guests who had booked our rooms for the next day. Fortunately, we had already packed up our luggage the night before and we just had to leave them at the hotel lobby and the CPSU transport team would pick them up for us and transfer them to our new hotel later. This meant that we could go straight to the new hotel after classes for the day were done.

Midterms Comes First

Of course, for the students, this wasn’t just a fun little field trip. After all, the midterms was also scheduled for this day and my mother planned to get it out of the way first. Midterm exams consisted of an impromptu speaking exercise wherein the students would individually answer different questions based on general interest topics such as current events, politics, and things related to the educational field (they were all teachers after all).

After a nicer breakfast (than ugh, continental breakfast consisting of  one entire loaf of bread cut into large slices and a banana), the students took the liberty of ordering lunch for us from the hotel restaurant in advance. We would be dining at Mag-Aso falls. It was actually starting to drizzle a bit, but it wasn’t raining too hard.

We left by around 9:00 and arrived at the place at about 9:30. There was a bit of a steep climb to get to the parking area, but the L300 transport vehicle seemed to have a pretty game engine. The security guard informed us that swimming was off-limits for now because there was no lifeguard on-duty… not that anyone planned to do any swimming anyway. (I can’t swim. I can float on my back, dog paddle, and survival swim, but I can’t breathe when doing a basic freestyle stroke – any tips?)

Mag-Aso Falls is quite a sight to behold.
The view from Mag-Aso falls was simply breathtaking. I like how ingenuous the architects were in constructing the man-made pool and the small structures like comfort rooms and rest areas that integrated seamlessly into the waterfalls. The pool itself was at the higher point of the falls and used water directly from the waterfalls. No chlorine used (it was easy to tell from just the smell) and the water from the falls was crystal clear – barring a few leaves from the trees and just a little bit of moss from all the lush vegetation that surrounded the place. Over-all, while the ground at Mag-Aso falls has a tendency to feel damp on the feet, the air feels fresh and clean and very cool.

Judging from the way their voices were trembling and their relieved faces afterwards, I would say that my mother’s midterms was probably quite a harrowing ordeal for the students – nevertheless, with that out of the way, they could now have fun touring the public areas of Mag-Aso falls while shooting video clips for their video advocacy project.

Personally, I just spent most of the day chillaxing and taking some very awesome pictures of Nagi.

In the afternoon, instead of taking the long trip back to CPSU, we got permission to host the rest of the class over at the residence of one of the students in Kabankalan City. It was pretty convenient for us because it was nearer to the hotel. Fortunately, the residence also doubled as a church, so it had ample seating capacity (for only less than 12 people) and a projector and large speakers for my laptop. 

Blogging 101

Part of the requirements for the finals was for everyone to create a blog and to blog about their experiences about Mag-Aso falls. Therefore, I gave a step-by-step lecture on how to create a blog using blogger. After that, I talked about my specific style of blogging and how I am able to write things down very quickly using a particular technique that I’ve developed. Do remind me to talk about it in more detail next time, but basically, the lecture consisted of having everyone pitch me ideas and helping me write one coherent blog post about Mag-Aso falls using their collective experiences. This is the blog and the actual post that I made during the lecture:

After that, it was time for another activity, literary analysis. The subjects were my own Hikari’s Ribbon Remake 2013 version and an anime, Episode 5 of Kino’s Journey : The Beautiful World 2017 (Country of Liars).

I was really quite happy when a few people came up to me and told me that they really preferred the story of Hikari’s Ribbon. Really, it’s not that I’m that starved for attention for my works, but it’s really very rare for random strangers to openly praise me without offering some high-handed advice on “how I can improve.”

Anyway, it was an emotional moment for me, for sure. The literary analysis would be a take-home written output, so at about 6:30, class was adjourned and we’d see each other the next day, hopefully, with the finalized version of the video. We reviewed the raw footage and they were definitely amazing. I was a bit concerned that there were so many long skits and people talking to the camera though. That would mean extensive redubbing and a bit of work in compiling the video. As far as I knew, no one in the class had any in-depth knowledge of video editing.

So we got to the hotel, Southland Inn early, but one piece of luggage got left behind at Zaycoland. Fortunately, the CPSU driver went back to get it for us and all was well… except my mother also took the keys to our Zaycoland room with her – as per a phone call to our hotel room. Of course, it wasn’t much of a hassle and after a short chat, she and the person on the other side of the phone both agreed that she’d just take the keys over to Zaycoland first thing in the morning.  One of the students drove us over. It was quite a nice place and most importantly, it had 4G internet connection and actual working wifi! It was also a building within the city and not a walled-in resort like Zaycoland. We decided to have dinner inside of the hotel’s restaurant – which closed at 8:00 PM as well. The food was really nice – especially the asian salad which consisted of some kind of crunchy, transparent noodles, tomatoes, cucumbers, pork chunks and some lettuce. I also had ribs for dinner, which was quite delicious as well.

Anyway, I was glad to settled down in the new hotel room after that. The room was a bit smaller, but it felt a lot more comfy with a larger TV set and nicer lighting. Also, finally! Real Wifi. Now I could work without worries.  We’d have an early start and free breakfast at the hotel again the next day, so as usual, I had to turn in earlier than I’m used to.

Stay tuned for Day 5 of the trip. We're getting closer to the end.

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