Saturday, November 21, 2015

Teaching My Kids About Sacrifices at Hulugan Falls, Luisiana, Laguna



Sacrifice, what does it mean to you? 

It may mean differently to everyone, but for moms, giving up regular sleep, beauty regiments, going out with friends to attend to the needs of the family are just forms of sacrifices.  Many successful people saw sacrifice as the key to their successes.  So, why not teach it to my kids, firsthand, before they even gain the understanding after a failure or a hurt?

As parents we can instill many things to our kids as they are growing up.  Wouldn't you want your kids thanking you in the future after earning their first million or after getting their college diploma?
I definitely would, my kids mean the world to me and I want them to be successful in all they endeavor with.

Since definitions are the bedrock of clear thinking, let me start by proposing a definition of sacrifice. Sacrifice is simply giving up something or giving something, but for the sake of a more valuable cause. 

To teach this to my kids I had brought them with us to see the hidden waterfalls in Luisiana, Laguna. Well, ok, this was incidental, I know this could be quite risky for my daughters, aged 10, 11 and 17 years old, but I never realized that we will all learn in the process, the hard and tiring way...but it was all worth it.


First of the many sacrifices we had to endure was leaving our dogs behind while we're off seeking adventure.  Next to that is having to drive from 7 in the morning (fleeing away from Manila traffic coz of #APECtado) up to 12 in the afternoon, from Pasay to Luisiana, Laguna.

Luisiana is the municipality next to Pagsanjan and Cavinti.  It sits atop the Sierra Madre mountain and the drive is slightly likened to the way to Baguio.  An uphill drive after a quick stopover at the beautiful municipality of Pagsanjan will take you to Cavinti.  You don't need to go to the town proper of Luisiana, the road along Cavinti will reveal a poster which leads to the jump off of the Hulugan Falls, We almost drove passed by it, you won't miss the big poster if your sight is on the right side of the road.

We then took a right turn at the bend and stopped by a group of people and we asked about the Hulugan falls.  A lady told us that we need to be accompanied by a local tour guide, and that we need to stop and park at the Barangay Captain's residence for registration and briefing.

The tour guide was already waiting on that shed and we were asked if it is ok for the tour guide to ride with us to the last stop.  After receiving our tour guide, Mang Tonying Sarmento, we asked about how long have they been receiving tourists in their area.

According to Mang Tonying, Hulugan Falls has just been reveled to the public just about two months ago.  Though the people who lives nearby new about it for a long time, they don't really let others know about it.  For one, the trek down isn't developed yet so it's dangerous and a bit long.  Another thing is that they don't want it to be destroyed by the visitors.

Reaching the house of the current Barangay Captain, we parked in front and had lunch at their waiting shed and garden.  The lady was also accommodating and upon seeing my two girls, she felt slightly worried and asked if Mang Tonying would be able to carry one of them.  It maybe some sort of joke or something, but I assured the lady taking care of the registration that my girls could handle the trek and we will take care of them.

Registration is first and foremost important, and you only need to pay P10 each.  The minimum fee for the tour guide is P 100, though you can pay them more as you will realize that they'd be a huge help, we payed our guide  P500.

They have a store there where you can buy resfreshment and some things you might need after the trek.

We took a quick lunch and fixed the things we will need to bring.  Let me advise you to bring less, if you need to bring something, just bring a towel, bottled water and put it in a backpack so that you have free hands to balance and grab on to some branches and twigs as you scale the hillside.  Make sure that your cell phones and cameras have waterproof casing or bags to hid it in.


Just a couple of steps before going down the slope, you will see and meet friendly locals selling some stuff nearby.

So you don't really need to bring any snacks on the waterfalls. Picnic must be a no-no to prevent pilfering the place.  However, we brought a couple of chocolate bars for the girls, who might need to boost their energy and for my diabetic daughter.


Since it rained the night before our trip, we expected for the path to be muddy. So, if you're antsy about muds and soil, this isn't for you.  My girls are, but I told them they don't have a choice, it's how it is living in this kind of condition.  Also, don't wear your favorite or most expensive rubber shoes or you might die having it buried in the mud.  But make sure you wear your most comfortable, outdoor shoes that is held up with strings.


My girls kept on saying sorry about having their soles all muddy, for they knew it's going to be hard to clean them up. I just kept on reassuring them that it was fine and the muddy trek will all be worth it.


We were told that the trek is around 45 minute to an hour.

Along the path, you will also come across locals riding on a horse or carabao. My kids were so anxious to know more about life here in the hills.


After 30 minutes of walking up and down hillsides, we reached this low-lying river.


We were told that we are already near so, it stopped for a bit to clean our feet and shoes, so far my kids don't have scratches yet and no one slid on the mud.  Above is my daughter Danielle with her special friend, Kim.


My husband (the one wearing a hat) supporting our kids as they cross the river.  Mang Tonying was so helpful, as he was the one always holding on to our girls as we took care of ourselves.


No this isn't the falls yet, it's just part of the river that we crossed over...

Another 30 minutes of walking, climbing, sliding down on muddy grounds, holding on to dear life as you prevent getting mud all over and this beheld us.


Approximately 200 meters away from the waterfalls, you can already see it's majestic beauty.  Even way beyond that point of sight, you can hear it's powerful yet majestic gush.


As my kids and the group that was before us, scrambled their way to experience the falls, we got held up by it's beauty and we just had to take a shot from a far.




My girls and Kim, were ahead of us about 200 m, as they were so excited to be in the water.  Can you notice how the others and my kids were having a hard time crossing huge boulders?

At this day tour, my two girls are the only kids who did the trek.  I would not recommend bringing kids that needed to be carried, however, if the trek isn't that muddy, I guess it would be ok.  Probably, summer is the best time to bring your kids.


The path to the waterfalls isn't easy, it was hard for me and my husband so the challenge was really something to my kids.  I'm just glad they were up to it. I'm proud to say that I didn't hear any complains throughout the trek. 


We were also thankful of Mang Tonying, our tour guide for taking care of us.


When they finally reached Hulugan Falls, they all chorused, "it is so beautiful, all the walk, going up and down, plunging in the mud, sliding, it's all worth it."

I couldn't agree more.





After the refreshing dip and marveling at the view of both the falls and the surrounding, we headed up again and the trek up was even more challenging as you need to leap from huge muddy steps.  We took a different route, which is said to be shorter but harder.  The tour guide was a bit hesitant to have us in that path, but he made sure we will all be safe.

After reaching the top ground, it was a relief, but we needed to do at least a 20 minute walk to where we were parked.  

It was when I asked my girls about how the tour was.  My Dana, who is a juvenile Diabetic, thanked me, but she said "Mommy, this day was full of sacrifices!"  She then went on and said "I sacrificed a lot to be in this place, like I sacrificed Aldub's #kalye serye, playing my game, reading my current novel and lounging in my bed for this." 

And of course the trek itself was a big sacrifice in itself as getting there may mean risks and danger, body pains, and some other misfortune.  Although, I didn't think it that way, for I know this experience will bring a fresh inspiration, a fresh perspective to what life in the rural areas is, a fresh insight to what could be the outcome of a certain decision.

After all, I did ask them if they want to go to the beach or see a spectacular waterfalls, and they all agreed on the latter.  

So, did you think I succeeded in my goal of educating them about sacrifice?



Let me end with this short video.


For other waterfalls suggestions, check out my links below:







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