Back to Pandan Hill, Bay-Ang

I was in high school when I first went up Pandan Hill. The only memory I had then was the wide horizon and passenger ships that line it. I never thought that I would go back there again.

Twenty-six years later, I went back and was surprised that nothing much has changed from how I remembered it. The beaten path showed that people had been going up and down this hill in Bay-Ang, Batan, Aklan. There were amusing tales that lovers were found making out (and making love) among the grasses during early evening. By the time we reached the top, the air was welcoming. The view was still as breathtaking as I remembered it, although the ships were no longer in sight.

This January, I went back again, though with slight apprehension. It was raining for days, and I was afraid that the path would be muddy and slippery. But the thought of seeing the majestic view at the top and the touch of fresh air on my city-weary skin pushed me to move on.

The path was, as I expected, difficult. Not only was it muddy and slippery; the grass was now up to 3 feet high. It was discouraging, to say the least, because the tall grass was covering the path. It seemed to me that nobody is going up anymore. A little sadness weighed me down, but the thought of experiencing this with my brother encouraged me to find our way to the top. There was a silent fear between my younger brother and me that there might be snakes lurking around, and yet we moved on.

Once we got to the top, my brother couldn’t hide his amazement. “Ang ganda!” was all he could say, but it told me a whole lot. I was glad we made it.

(We almost got lost going back down, and was glad when we saw the cows — our “landmarks”)

almost there
not quite yet, bro
what a sight from the top!
the grass stood at about 3 feet, but this tree is defiant
a worm's eyeview of the grass
you're the Prince of Pandan!
fish ponds sprouting
this used to be all water
this cross is a new addition
bro asked if I took photos of the grass. That I did
it's dead, but it's still beautiful amid the greens
a sprinkling of coconut trees here and there along the way
wait up!
thank heavens for these cows
dirt road at the foot of the hill
you woke me up!
getting there from the highway is an adventure in itself: max. 4 people in a single motorbike going uphill on the rough, muddy road
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