Friday, 20 November 2009

hotwired - modes of transport in mainit

The residents of and visitors to Chongliyan are spoilt for choice when it comes to transport.
From Bontoc one can catch a fully air-conditioned jeepney that offers 360-degree views fully unimpeded.

Of course that's not the only way of enjoying the wonderful views and scenery going to Mainit.
A popular form of travel is with the sikimobile. This natural vehicle is actually built in as part of the human body. So if one looks closer they'll find two big limbs on the lower part of their body. I think they're called legs. And the bottom parts that touch the ground are called feet. Sometimes we forget we have these. And so get on your bike, No, I mean get off your butt- and use your sikimobile.
Alright, when the legs get a bit tired, you can give them a rest by hopping on to a nuwang, carabao or water buffalo. Just mind your riding stance as these vehicles don't have seatbelts or reins - that's for horses. Riding a carabao going at full tilt downhill is a most exhilirating and terrifying experience.
If that's too much excitement for you, you can always go back to the more sedate form - walking. Take a hike - literally. You'll feel wonderful. Guaranteed a hundred percent.
When you've rested from a good hike, you can then sample disapparation mainit style. All you require is a comfortable place to sit near the boiling hotspring and have a steam bath/ inhalation session for at least a half-hour. By that time your respiratory system will have been cleaned thoroughly. If you have asthma or if you suffer from some breathing ailment, this steam therapy will have done wonders for you- you'll feel like you're in another place. Once your breathing's fully functional again and your body feels refreshed and invigorated, you will  have achieved disapparation. How easy is that eh parry hotter? Even healthy people can do with the revitalisation that only the healing powers of a Mainit hotspring steam session can provide.
After disapparation you are then ready for teleportation. To cap off the steam bath, one has to then continue on the journey through Mainit.
Swimming is a mode of transport that people here utilise all the time. In fact most residents here 'swim' twice a day - in the early morning and again in the evening. Well there's not much to it really. The water's only up to about a half-meter deep, and the pool's not quite olympic sized, but close- say 4-5 metres. Enjoy a swim then and when you get to the far bank, you'll feel the best you have in a very long while. Maybe feel the cleanest you've been in a long time too. And by the way the pools are heated - naturally of course. Just for your swimming pleasure.
After a refreshing morning dip, you can then try another of Mainit's methods of conveyance. This is an expensive sport in western societies but of course in Mainit and the Cordillera, it's free- mountain climbing. I won't bore you too much about climbing mountains as a mode of transport, but just to say that to experience the grandeur of the majestic cordillera mountains and to appreciate the beauty and art of the Mainit mountain rice terraces, you should be able to climb or clamber, be nimble as a ballerina and be sure-footed as a goat (you don't need to be one).

And to be able to get away from the wild snakes, you might have to be as agile as a monkey (again you don't need to be one - see you can get away with a lot of things in Mainit, very few needs here :-).
No actually this is to gain better vantage points to view Kilong-oraw and Camingmingel and Binandilaan and all those other high peaks of the Cordillera range (as an aside Mt Binandilaan was named such after General Aguinaldo and his men, retreating from the Americans planted the Filipino flag on Mt Bandilaan as a symbol of the resistance to American rule. You see history lessons are here too, only in Mainit. Of course the revolutionaries continued on eastwards and came to the infamous Tirad pass where the resistance lost the ill-fated General Del Pilar in a futile effort to ensure Aguinaldo escaped. More historical asides later.)

Back to modes of transport, Oh yes Aguinaldo and his men had some horses, but the I-Mainit cannot afford the upkeep of these regal beasts, so they had to resort to climbing- to cut firewood primarily.
and to get topside.
And when you take leave of our village, you're welcome once again to travel in style as only the privileged do - 'topload' style. that's a benefit of climbing for you. Of course due to safety considerations this practice of riding is discouraged and in fact should be made illegal. but the thrill of the cool wind blowing ...
On a high mountain high way,
cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of sweet unas,
rising up through the air
Welcome to the hotel cordillera
Such a lovely place

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