Coron, Palawan is sacred.
Enough said. After climbing 700+ steps of Mt. Tapyas before our two-week “affirmative action program,” UPLB Pahinungod facilitators experienced divine exhaustion but witnessed nature’s apparition. There’s this haunting presence that seems to protect the islands, the lakes, and the sunset. And throughout our stay, one can’t brush off the supernatural feel of that northern part of Palawan.
Nothing could top our fatal adventure in Kayangan Lake, where the number one rule is to observe silence.
Noisy kids we were, and so when everybody reached the middle part of this clear, blue-green lake, nobody could row back anymore because waves brought us farther and farther from the safe shore, until we had to jump into the water and swim back for hours, braving the uncertain depth and unknown sea forms. But all efforts were in vain. The harder we swam, the harsher the waves. Our other colleagues sent help when we failed to return pronto. To our relief, two men came swimming with a huge bamboo pole to which all of us–victims of our own mouth–can hold onto while they swim for us.
I’m not a didactic person, but that experience sure gave me a hard-hitting lesson: respect folk knowledge.
What the indigenous people asked of us was, simply, to respect the sanctity of the lake, and we subconsciosly ignored it, perhaps because at the back of our mind, science and pure logic have always been the grandest narrative of how the world works.
That’s fatal thinking.