things started to turn bad when there was a sudden change in weather when we were going up the mountains. as sunny as the whole day was, the skies suddenly turned black with ominous clouds seemingly chasing our tricycle. the tricycle also happened to suddenly sputter and the driver had to restart it quite a few times. even with any possibility of getting nice sunset pictures gone, we still decided to proceed given that the driver said that we were already close, and that it seemed a waste if we didn’t get to the see the whole island from its highest vantage point.
and then the tricyle driver asked us to get off the vehicle. it was a sharp incline and the road was slippery so it seemed to make sense. we were in the middle of a road to nowhere, with no other person in sight. warning bells rang through my mind. i thought he was going to run away with our things (i held on to my backpack) and leave us in the wilderness. it didn’t help much that as soon as we alighted the tricyle, one of the girls told me, “papi, i’m scared.” i didn’t want to panic them any further, thinking that at least if the driver just ran away and didn’t hurt us, we will try to find a way to go down, or if not, at least survive the night in the damp, cold forest.
that initial fear was allayed when the driver stopped a few meters up in the road and asked us to reboard the trike. and after a few more minutes going up the mountain, he again asked us to alight and said that we would now walk up from there. when he first mentioned the viewing point, he gave the impression that no hiking was needed, that there was a structure he would drive us to where we could just snap pictures (like the tops facility in neighboring cebu). boy, were we wrong! it turns out that we had to go up a mountain trail (used by pilgrims during easter for the stations of the cross) using inappropriate footwear of beach sandals and flipflops until we reached the mountain top. the only consolation was that the rain was still falling in trickles (ambon as we call it), the kind of drizzle famous for incidents that involve ghostly encounters or mysterious accidents. for some weird reason, it seemed like we just couldn’t back out. the girls dropped hints, but i didn’t want us to go back at that juncture, lest bringing that up would reveal the driver’s real agenda and bring things to a boil, or an outright confrontation.