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The Camp Calye Experience Day 1: Caroling with the Carolets

"Opportunity only knocks once," they say, as it seems that you are only given one chance to experience one of the best things in life—and thankfully I didn't pass up mine. My story with Camp Calye began around late March, when a friend of mine asked me to attend this summer camp. Since I had a less-than-modest budget at the time, I originally wanted to decline; however, there was something in me that made me want to say yes to this thing. In the end, I eventually had to gather enough money for the trip and I had to gather my supplies (as well as some food) for the trip.

Fast forward to the first day of camp—April 28, 2016. I had packed everything I could and might ever need the night before and it's already 2 a.m., time to leave the house. I have to say, the commute to the Valle Verde Country Club (VVCC, the place where the buses are to the campsite) was heart-pounding. There I was, with my uncle on a bus with no people at all and it's already 2:48 a.m. I thought for sure that the bus headed towards Shaw MRT Crossing would take hours before it left the station, but luckily the driver fired its engines and we were off towards the VVCC.

After a short hiccup with the directions, I was finally there, in the company of my soon-to-be fellow campers. The excitement was almost palpable as soon as in VVCC. A tall man with a deep voice wearing a black shirt soon called the members of team violet. He tells me to hold a sign and shout the team name in case a fellow team member of mine comes along. Once we were all complete, we were ready to enter the bus—and, oddly enough, we were the first team to do so. Once I got in, the first thing I have to say was the fact that the bus was chilly and the seats looked of a high quality. At the back of my mind, I said, "Daamnnn, I hope this bus trip takes long." The back seats were designated to us, and you know me, I had to pick the window seat. A major rule I have is that, whenever I'm in an air-conditioned bus on a long trip, taking the window seat is a MUST.

Once all the other teams got seated in and everyone was seated, the wheels on the bus went round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus went round and round. Like many Christian activities, we began the trip with a prayer, and, after that, the host was talking and he cracked a few jokes. I didn't actually listen to the host and I mostly tuned out to listen to some songs and look at the beautiful scenery. I didn't see anything interesting, but the feeling of watching over a grassy (and "pineapply") field while Taeyeon's "I" was playing in the background was breathtaking. I don't know why, but I immediately felt a sense of relief and euphoria, honestly. Who knew seeing fields of pineapples and grass pass you by could be so exhilarating.

The bus was so fun and the view outside was so cool, so I managed to take a quick nap. Man, I almost had frostbite in the bus from the cold, and there were two air conditioning vents pointed toward me (not by accident, of course). Unfortunately, our bus trip ended and we got off the bus once we reached Kampo Trexo, our campsite. It was a little hot outside the bus, and I felt more heat because I was wearing a jacket (a white one, mind you). My team and I were the last ones to get off the bus and we proceeded to the registration booth. During the whole time walking there, the weight of my big "mountaineer" bag was starting to take its toll on me. It was heavy, and I mean really heavy. I've carried heavy stuff before, but this one was different—it felt like I was carrying a full fridge.

From left to right: My teammates Rhea, Marvis, Yza (or, in this case, Yza's face), me, Gelo (the guy with the blond hair), Phileen, and Kaye.

We all got registered and we then headed off to the place where we would cook and eat for the next few days—Super Kaland. After I plopped my 1 ton bag onto the floor and the earthquake that followed, I sat down to talk with some of my teammates. Still, I wasn't able to talk much because, as you know, I'm a fairly shy person. A few minutes pass and, for no apparent reason, American Authors' "Best Day of My Life" began playing. As soon as the song started playing, some of the groups immediately ran to some place and I could see some guys calling the other teams. Our team was called and we were ordered by one of the camp facilitators, Ate Charie, to form a single line, hold the waist of the person in front of us, and make a chugging sound. So, there we were, saying "Chug, chug, chug, choo, choo" in a single file while on our way to the place where all the teams gathered, Rialtok.

"Super Kaland-ian," as one of my groupmates said.

After we got seated in, the hosts gave us a short introduction of the camp, its rules, the do's and don'ts, the punishments (which is a deduction of your team's time for bathing), and all the necessary stuff. We played a short game thereafter where we would meet the other camp members and then all the teams were given a pole, a piece of tarpaulin, and 3 dyes: red, blue, and yellow. The hosts told us to make our team flag, name, and cheer—with the cheer being recited every time our team's name was called. (Since we didn't have any brushes with us, we had to use our fingers to paint our flag.) We first made the flag and then my other teammates came up with the name. Since we had a carousel as one of the defining elements of our flag, my other teammates came up with the portmanteau word "Carolet"—a blend of the words "carousel" and "violet." We came up with a team cheer (which I forgot) and, while we were putting the finishing touches to our masterpiece known as our team's flag, the song "Best Day of My Life" began playing and we were in a rush because late teams would get a deduction in their team's "shower time." We brought the dyes with us and we finished coloring once we got to Rialtok.

Rhea putting the finishing touches to our team's flag.

The hosts called each group onto the stage to explain the reason behind the design of their flag and team name, and we got to say our cheer after that. Once all of the teams were done presenting, the hosts gave us the instructions for the next set of activities—a game where all of the teams would go through all of the "minigames" set around different parts of the camp. With our team facilitator to guide us, we then headed off to the minigames.

In this game, we were given various items to eat, and I got to eat a raw egg. #SalmonellaLife

The minigames were so fun, to summarize. We got to run with plastic around our waists, we had to perform a "trust fall" on some of my team members, we got to eat weird food and drank this weird concoction, but most of all, we had our first "squaddle" session. At first, I didn't know what it was, but our group facilitator told us that a squaddle session is where the group would sit down, let each member of our group talk and let out their problems/feelings, and then we would perform a single clap after each member is done speaking.

I don't remember much after the minigames, all I know is that we cooked our dinner and we were all gathered at Rialtok to hear people share their life stories, and say how much God or Jesus helped them in life, and that was it—the end of our first day. We took a 5-minute bath (originally a 7-minute bath, but we got a deduction because I left my damn Gatorade bottle, see above, at Rialtok earlier). After that, we headed off to our designated tent and, just like that, our first day at Camp Calye was over.

I will be uploading the continuation of my 4-part series on Camp Calye 2016 overmorrow, so keep your eyes peeled!

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