ABRA: Bound to Friendship

Never think that you have a bad life; rather, think that you just had a bad day.

I was reminded of this when I went on an unplanned trip to Abra. A workmate of mine, who is also a mother fIgure to me (my second mother or “momshie”), invited me to join the trip during one of their seminars where I was a participant. At that time, I was very feeling low. My close work relationship with a male colleague put my moral values in question in the eyes of others. I also felt that I was being blamed for something which I was not in control of and have no authority to command. I needed a get-away and the trip to Abra was the answer.

Abra is fun and full of wonders. My friends and I decided to visit and trek the Kaparkan Falls located at Sitio Kaparkan, Barangay Caganayan, Tineg. It took us about 13 hours to reach Tineg, Abra. We left Lamut at seven in the evening and arrived in Baguio around 12 midnight. There, we took the ride to Abra and reached the province around eight in the morning. After grabbing breakfast and some snacks from a fast-food chain, we took the chance to take selfies and groufies at the welcome arch of Abra with its scenic landscape before proceeding to Kaparkan Falls.

You may reach the top of Kaparkan Falls either by trekking or riding the ‘monster’ truck. Of course, taking the truck would require you to pay a certain amount of money as fare and will make you experience a roller coaster ride going to the falls. It will take around 30 minutes to the destination. Add a little walk and you’ll witness the full beauty of Kaparkan Falls. And so, we hiked.

The hike to the site took us almost two hours. The trail was challenging with its changing terrain: ups-and-downs, muddy patches, rocky routes, and also grassy hilly areas. Upon arrival, we took a rest which turned into a nap because we were really tired from trekking under the blazing sun. There was very little shade along the bumpy trail. It was a good thing though that it didn’t rain that day, considering that it obviously did other day basing on the muddy path. It was in the late afternoon that we went to the terrace-like Kaparkan Falls.

According to the silverbackpacker.com, “Kaparkan’s multi-terraced limestone wonderland stretches for about 500 meters from top to bottom. Lounge in one of its crystal-clear pools or climb Kaparkan’s staircase. The limestone edges of the pools look slippery but it is actually very safe to walk along through them barefooted.”

It is indeed an amazing sight to behold. It is truly a picturesque scene that invites you to take a lot of pictures. The Kaparkan Falls offers a natural terraces-like cascades, with each terrace serving as basin as water flows towards the lagoon below.

But more than merely witnessing the beauty of nature, it was a moment to experience the goodness of humanity. There was the selfless act of a stranger, sharing food and sleeping rugs; the kindness of a friend; a welcoming gesture from a fellow traveler. Most importantly, I found new friends, the “tropa”, with whom I have begun sharing journeys.

The trip made me realized that, although some people may give you trouble, life has so much more to offer. There are a lot of good people out there. It was only regrettable that I had mingled with and trusted the wrong group. Albeit the friendship, trust has been broken. Amusingly, I made more male friends after the Kaparkan trip and I consider them as my second brothers and fathers.

Life is a mystery. Sometimes, our troubles lead us to find relationships that have been lost and that are just waiting around the corner. It also has its own way of healing a broken trust. Ironically, that is a beauty of this cruel world. Although I have cried a lot during the bad days, I was lucky that I have a “momshie” who listened to my whines and reminded me that life goes on. After my troubled moments, I received an unexpected gif from someone after she left for Korea. My cousin also gave her graduation present to me finally after three years. One might say that it was too late but it was actually given at the perfect time.

Life may give us reasons to pout sometimes, but there are thousand reasons why we should always smile  and keep going. When life knocks us down, let us travel, explore and trust the goodness of strangers. We never know, they might become our extended family. Well, lucky if we belong to a few who find true love. Life is a beautiful journey after all and God really works in mysterious ways.

-Florida B. Robles