Before I begin, I would have to warn you that this post is not a guide on how to get there, but in case you are planning to go there, Read: A Vegetable Basket in Cebu
All I can remember was, I was nodding to a 5AM rendezvous after glasses of sweet white wine the previous night after a sumptuous boodle feast.
The next morning, I heard the alarm clock after three hours of sleep. The karaoke neighbor wasn't awake yet and I reluctantly pulled myself out of bed. I started rushing around at 4AM like a mad woman. Five minutes to the agreed time, we joined the group in their van. Everyone muttered a brief "bonjour" and "g--morning" and then silence. We all fell back to a short sleep during a 40 -45 minute drive from Argao to Mantalongon in Dalaguete while it was pouring outside.
The foggy morning greeted us along with the two 12- year old kids cum tour guide who are both waving at the side of the road. The group was supposed to take the trail yesterday and they hired both of them after their impressive sales speech, but it started raining hard before they even began their ascent.
We were all amazed by the professionalism of these kids. We arrived at the meet up point past 5:30AM and they were there at 5AM sharp. They explained and started giving pointers like adult guides. They're witty and quick to answer and you can sense in their driven ways that they are enthusiastic to learn and their optimism will take them very far in life.
|The trail starts here. Log in, register, pay the entrance fee and off you go.|
The kids were not allowed to work as guides. There's a new rule imposed by the Department of Social Welfare and Department of Labor and Employment to discourage child labor and kids getting out of school to work. We didn't hire a guide after registering and paying the entrance fee. We took the trail on our own.
|Niqqque, my visiting friend from Dubai at Osmena Peak|
The trail is easy. It is a 20-30 minute hike. However, that morning it was treacherously muddy and slippery so we took our time.
We later saw the 2 kids, Lyndon and Joseph at the peak. During my descent, I had the opportunity to talk to Lyndon. He's the 7th child of 15 children. According to him, he goes to school regularly but it was a Saturday so he's free and aims to earn on the side. He has nine sisters and five brothers. His parents sell vegetables and are busy working at the market. Joseph offered me wild berries when he spotted them and we continued the trail downwards while chatting with them both.
It was an honor to meet these kids. My unexpected encounter with them will always be embedded in my memory of Osmena Peak. I pray for a bright future for these two souls and I hope in one way, I can contribute and do something for kids like them. This is one of my long term future goals. I pray that God lead me to what that might be.
|A Family Photo at the Peak|
Have a lovely week everyone!
Love & light,