Esepe in Bokod - nature beckons

June 11, 2011

My backpacking wishlist for countries to visit is growing longer, thanks to Natgeo Adventure, blog hopping and facebook. But I just came to my senses and shamefully realized I havent even hiked to most places within 100-kilometer radius of my birthplace. And there's the beauty of nature beckoning to behold! 
Over the weekend, the Husband posted photos of their visit to Lola Camoya, the Gremlin's paternal greatgrandma at Esepe, Bokod, Benguet. I can only narrate a second hand description since I'm yet to see the place. 
Lola's house sits in one of the mountains where her nearest and only neighbor is 200 meters away. No electricity has reached her home, and she lives alone. She has no proper bathroom. Fresh water springs out from the ground nearby providing her drinking and washing needs. She was given a mobile phone, but she has to seek higher ground or somewhere to grab a signal. When its battery gets low, she said she's gonna ask her neighbors to bring it to Diboong, an electrified distant community.
 Lola cooks over wood under the tree. (Oh, now I'm nostalgic of my childhood when my grannies cook rice and sweet potatoes at the dirty kitchen over wood. There's just a different nice taste).
 "This was life in the olden times, and it still exists -- very simple. I feel a sense of connection with nature and I'm glad and the experience is fulfilling," my husband said in Ilokano over the phone.
A cow, a pig, native chicken are Lola's daily companions. 
She tends to her lush rice fields and fruit trees are in abundance.

 The night is of course dark, but a pack of fireflies could illuminate a tree. The soothing sound of nature is what's gonna lull one to sleep.

My Husband said "I seem to understand that no matter how her children ask her to leave this place and live in the city, she would insist to come back".
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There are two ways to reach Lola's place. First is a two-hour hike from the nearest dirt road that the car could reach. 
And second - and the widely used mode -- is by taking a 30 minutes boat ride across Ambuklao Dam.
A boat driver could agree to come at a certain time to ferry his passengers. On a normal and non-exclusive trip, boat waiting is like riding the typical public vehicles, one has to stand by the mountain 's foot and catch as much attention when a boat passes by. But boat trips could be busy, like it took three hours waiting to complete two trips to ferry everyone in the group plus the six sacks of mangoes.
Some villagers had set-up fishing nets and once my Husband bragged they feasted on a really big-sized tilapia from Ambuklao.
 ~ ~ ~

Admittedly, I worried my son would blurt countless complaints, but I was wrong. He loved almost everything about the experience. He used to be scared of entirely dark places, and he could tremble on the sight of fires -- things he learned to remove his fears of. He also got the chance to trek up the steep mountain slopes and climb trees. He is yet to get better on these skills, but I am anyway happy he had embraced to do these. For more of Esepe, Bokod, you may check HERE.
Again, this is nudge for me that there's more to nature for me to explore of my birthplace than I've thought.

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  1. That's my kind of home! Haaaay, I miss my late grandmother.

  2. I've been to Bokod but I don't remember where. I was there for a funeral and I even rode on my friend's motorbike to get there.

    Alapo still looks active. How old is she? I agree, food cook on firewood has a different, homey taste.


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