Cagraray Eco-Energy Park
Misibis, Bacacay, Albay
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Are you adventurous?
No, this is not a post about something green. Don't deny it, I know you went there. It's not going to be followed by-- "Open-minded ka ba?" We are going on a different direction with this post.
It's just that I have done many things in my life for the sake of adventure. Sometimes it just looks deceptively fun at first. Sometimes I have to repress my natural instinct. Often times, the thinking part comes later... Have you ever looked back at the thing you did and think--"Huh, ang tanga ko din noh?" Sadly, I also have many moments wherein the thought-- "Shucks, muntik na ako dun ah!"--applies.
I had another one of those last summer.
Cagraray Eco Energy Park was definitely part of our Bicol itinerary. It's 10 minutes away from Misibis Bay (where we were staying), so not much of a hassle to visit. My then bf and I thought-- let's take ATVs! I read a blog post saying that it was a great way to see the park. Plus, we were already frustrated that we weren't able to ride these at Mt Mayon (last summer). So, this was our chance! Yey!
We booked the full ATV tour. Actually, I didn't really know what it meant; it just sounded fun... For a longer amount of time. Note to self: know what it means next time. Know what it means!!!
We met our guide near the beach. He gave us a quick lesson on how to operate ATVs. It looked simple. I was like, "I drive. I bike. I even skate. Sheesh, I got this." How hard could it be? Chicken lang yan. Note to self: it is NOT like driving NOR riding a bike. Do not underestimate that beast!
So, we made our way to the eco park. It was a breeze! Super fun to drive the ATV on concrete roads. Our first stop was the amphitheater-- what a glorious view! Photo ops are a must. Apparently concerts have been held here. I imagine the acoustics would be amazing. Proposal dinners as well (wink, wink guys). We hopped back on our ATVs and we headed higher up the hill. At least, I think it was a hill.
Our next stop was the beautiful chapel made of glass all around. So peaceful there. Our guide told us a bit about the place-- who got married there, where the choir would go, what flowers looked nice. I thought, "wow suma-sideline pang wedding planner si kuya." Note to self: hold the sarcastic inner monologue when in the middle of trying something new.
Apparently, a little further up is where the half ATV tour would end. You would make a U-turn and take the scenic route home. TIP: PLEASE make the U-turn here. There should be a freaking sign right there!
One thing about the ATV: it becomes difficult to steer after a while. It's kind of heavy, so if you have like no muscles on your arms, it feels laborious. Especially when you keep making turns. Going up a hill. Off road. I started to feel the burn when we passed the playground. I couldn't drive straight, but I swear I had no alcohol in my system. Even if I did, I would have sweated it all out by then. But, I gave it my all. I made it past the playground, sweating like crazy from all the steering. Note to self: WEIGHT TRAINING naman dyan!!!
We made it past the playground and our guide stopped. "Dito na po yung mahirap na part. Four-wheel drive na po tayo." I did not bother to hide my surprise, "Weh, may mas mahirap pa dun?!"
Our guide turned to me and looked at me funny. "Ma'am, yun po yung madali."
I did not think this through.
So he taught us the controls before we left the grassy road. I tried my best. But, man, off road on four wheel drive was a b*tch. I was not happy. Not at all. It felt like I was taking an angry pitbull for a walk. My arms were screaming bloody murder at this point. I thought: "No pain, no gain." I soldiered on, despite the groans of the monstrous beast I was on. Maybe it's how Khaleesi feels riding Drogo, except she has a WAY better view. Btw, the thing gets really hot after a while and you can feel really feel the heat between your legs. No, not green. No time for thoughts, dying here.
I was far behind the two men. They were waiting for me a few meters ahead. I was so proud when I reached them. Boo-yeah! Our guide asked, "Ok pa po kayo ma'am?" I nodded between gulps of water.
Kuya: "Okay po, sa pinaka-mahirap na po tayo."
Wait. Back up.
Say what now, kuya?
He pointed to the trail. Or should I say, my nightmare. Long, curving, almost vertical, very rocky, and very narrow... With a steep ravine on the side.
Oh what fresh hell is this...
My bf and I looked at each other. We had but one thought: @-&/!;'#^!\£+_€\€]-- insert ALL available expletives here.
We decided that I would just ride on the back of my bf's ATV. Because, I simply cannot. Period. Kung pwede mag-walkout, ginawa ko na. Note to self: next time, DO YOUR RESEARCH. And, your source matters. A lot. I was mentally kicking the author of that blog post (Great way?! Great way to see the park my **s?!) Anyway, too late. We were off... My poor bf driving with me in tow, hanging on to him for dear life. Not the romantic drive I had imagined. Hell no. It was the longest Heimlich ever.
The road was so bumpy and worn from hundreds of rains before. I could feel my bf's tense muscles and the effort he was putting into steering. I could hear the angry screams of the machine as we made our way up the hill. The tall, coarse blades of grass partially hid the scary road from view-- SURPRISE, an added level of difficulty to an already sucky situation. The razor sharp edges of the grass scratched us as we whizzed past...
Our guide gave a signal to stop.
Dandandandan! Foreboding music please.
"Ito na po yung pinaka-mahirap. Panuorin nyo po kung san ako dadaan para maiwasan." He was pointing to the steep drop on each side of the road.
Have you seen Face/Off-- that John Woo classic film? Remember the police raid where Nicholas Cage has an epic gunfight as he visited his family? How about the action sequence seen from the eyes of the kid, an innocent bystander, with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" playing?
That's exactly how I felt at that moment.
Only I settled on "Tomorrow" from Annie as my song. I shifted to "Wrecking Ball" mid-way, but it's the same thing.
Before kuya drove off, he pointed at the dip in the middle. "Ingat po, labanan nyo po yung pag-break. (Not us as couple. As in stop in the middle. Di naman sya usyusero) May sumemplang na po dyan."
Shet ka kuya. I-kwento ba talaga NGAYON yan?!
I could feel my bf concentrating, plotting the route we would take. We took a running start and charged at the bumpy trail. My heart leapt from my chest and sank to my stomach-- multiple times during that short ascent. Here, we can illustrate the relativity of time-- a minute can stretch out to what seems like forever. Yes, may forever at ito yun. We felt the dip in the middle and my bf tried to fight the instinct to break. I was sure we were about to flip, but we didn't. I could feel him sweating-- hey I knew I couldn't do what he did. We finally made it to the top!!! GREAT JOB HON! He lost his slipper in the process, but our guide was kind enough to go back for it.
You know what? I want to be completely honest here. The hilltop view was not worth it. First of all, I was expecting fireworks or at least a party popper. You know how you finish a stage in Super Mario Bros then you don't get the small red sparks as Mario enters the castle because you missed the flagpole? I kinda felt like that, only magnified a bazillion times. I can't believe I gave up lounging beside the pool for THIS.
We got off the ATV to stretch our legs and I felt shaky on solid ground. Our guide offered to take pics, but these just showed how harassed we both looked with a bit of crazy eyes. My bf told me even his butt was sweating; it was one of the hardest physical things he has done. His hand was painful for days from pressing on the gas. He attributes his ECU strain to this activity. But he totally deserves praise for his driving skills that let us survive that trail.
Our guide actually congratulated us. He said there were very, very few people who take the full tour. He said that one of the ATVs sort of flipped on the trail (ULITIN PA TALAGA) and there have been a couple of minor accidents. Wuw, good to know. He said the Mayon trail was much easier to traverse because it was flat. It was the tour that goes part of the way up the volcano that becomes difficult. So, in case you have plans, do take note.
Alas, we had to leave. The going back down part was not easy either, but it was considerably shorter. You will get to the concrete road pretty quickly. Just hold on tight if you are a passenger; it felt like you were going to get thrown off the vehicle. Once back on the winding concrete road, my bf and I exchanged places. I drove back to the resort, letting my bf chill the rest of the way.
In conclusion, the park should be included in your itinerary. It offers lovely, scenic views... So, was the ATV ride worth it? Nuh-uh. I mean to the full ride anyway. Taking an ATV to the eco park was really fun and a great experience. Just quit while you are ahead and with all your parts intact.
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