Lignon Hill

ZIPLINE

(Picture c/o Lignon Hill Zipline)

Swoosh!

The Lignon Hill zipline is not the longest, highest, or fastest zipline in the country, but any death slide that lets me soar over trees is good enough for me.

I had three zipline positions to choose from: the lame (but cheap) Basic, the somewhat daring (and more expensive) Superman, and the very daring but awkward (and most expensive) Spiderman. I was tempted to try the Spiderman position, but I realized it was as appealing as being hung upside down like the carcass of a pig on a meat hook. I chose the Superman position.  This costs P350, which includes ziplining in a facedown position, ziplining back in a sitting position, and a photograph of the ziplining with the Mayon Volcano as backdrop (electronic copies of pictures are also posted for free for a couple of days on the Lignon Hill Zipline Facebook page).

I was thrilled by the ride. Yes the Lignon Hill Zipline may be lame compared to the one in Danao or in Lake Sebu, but for an acrophobe like me, any elevated position is cause for excitement (or a heart attack). The hairy Blue Eagle comes swooping down…

(Picture c/o Lignon Hill Zipline)

(Picture c/o Lignon Hill Zipline)

(Picture c/o Lignon Hill Zipline)

HANGING BRIDGE

I wanted to take on the hanging bridge after trying out the zipline. I just flew over a hillside and I consider myself a veteran of the Maragondon Hanging Bridges, so I thought, how hard can crossing this rickety structure be? After I signed up and paid P150, the person manning the shack gave me a helmet and harness. I chuckled and said to myself, “Aren’t they going overboard with the safety precautions?”

And then I saw the bridge. It was a series of narrow planks with rails made up of a long cable and black netting; this was not what I expected.  If a person had the misfortune of falling off the bridge and going through the thick foliage, he would have a bone-breaking roll down the hill. Suddenly the harness and the overhead cable to which the harness is strapped made sense.

The guide asked, “Sir, gusto niyo ako o ikaw mauna?”  I chose the manlier option of taking the lead.

I found the perpetual swaying nerve-wracking. To manage my fear, I applied a technique used by a mountaineer in my favorite novel of adventure, Solo Faces.  Hanging high up in the mountains, this character imagined being in a school yard, hanging just a few feet above ground.  The self-deception worked for a few seconds until I got distracted by the discussion of two loud-mouthed onlookers:

“Uy tignan mo, natatakot yung mama.”

“Hindi, kumukuha lang siya ng picture.”

Had my camera been disposable, I would have lobbed it at them and shouted, “Ano ba? Kung hindi kayo tumahimik, ihuhulog ko kayo sa bangin!”

My anxiety increased as I reached the middle portion of the bridge. The guide probably noticed that I hesitated moving my legs, so he asked me, “Sir ok lang po kayo?”  I did not reply for I found the question ridiculous (“Kung hindi ako ok, may magagawa ka ba?”). I focused on controlling my breathing and steadying my gaze on the planks.

I reached the end of the bridge after several agonizing minutes. Kagawad Mars was waiting for me at the exit, and I muttered, “Walang hiya. Mas nakakatakot pa pala ito kaysa sa zipline.”

JAPANESE TUNNEL

Two tunnels: one guarded by a dummy of a Japanese soldier and impassable because of a padlocked gate; the other small and narrow with no guard or gate protecting it.

I had to crawl (not crouch) to enter the narrow tunnel, muddying my arms, jeans, and camera in the process; Japanese soldiers must have had narrow frames to be able to go through such a small opening. After crawling for a few seconds, I decided to use the flash of my camera to light my way. No luck – the miniscule and momentary light hardly dissipated the darkness. I suddenly had an idea what it was like to be a suppository.

I crawled backwards. I was afraid of getting stuck in the tunnel since at that time I was the only person in the area, and no one would be able to hear me shout for help. I managed to emerge into the daylight muddy but grateful, with a vow to fight for the rights of suppositories all over the world.

* * *

An old lady helped me clean up by pouring water on my muddy arms and hands. I told her about my experience, and she said that I should have asked for the guide of the tunnel. “Dapat doon ka sa may gate pumasok. Bubuksan ko ang ilaw, at tutulungan ka ng guide. Yung pinasok mo, exit yun. ” Entering through a back opening: damn it, I really did become a suppository!

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