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The Camp Calye Experience Day 3: Star Trekking

It was already my third day at Camp Calye and, for some reason, I was already starting to wear out from the trip. Rather sad to say, but I really didn't get enough sleep the past few nights and my there was this unbelievable pain on my left and right thighs, and on my biceps, too. Because I didn't bring a single pillow with me, for the past 2 nights, I've been trying to sleep with my makeshift pillow made out of—wait for it—a pile of clothes that I've randomly dropped on the floor; needless to say, it wasn't the best replacement for a pillow.

After I awoke, I experienced an unworldly amount of pain all over my body. Still, not fazed by the pain, I kept on going and went to Super Kaland with my buddy Marvin to meet up with the other members of our team. As we got there, we saw this devilishly handsome (as he calls himself) man with spiked hair and a red shirt—and he introduced himself as "Kuya Pong," our other team facilitator. I stayed with them and sat down to listen to some of Kuya Pong's latest hugots and very corny funny jokes. We played some word and mind games with him and we were fooling around and having fun while we waited for the camp's gathering song to sound off.

After playing a few games, the camp song sounded off and we all came rushing towards Rialtok where we were given our early morning talk, if you will. Then after that we were told by our hosts, Ate Charie and some other guy (sorry), to go and eat our breakfast and they specifically told us to eat a lot because we were going to go trekking around Kampo Trexo. That's all of the significant news for our morning in Rialtok, and I remember we all headed back to Super Kaland to eat some Pancit Canton or corned beef—and we took a few pictures while we were there, of course.

I don't really remember much after that. I remember that this was the morning Marvin and I went to Storeeland (it's what we call the nearby store in Kampo Trexo) to buy some hot water. The funny thing about our trip to Storeeland was that the water was too hot and I was using a plastic bottle (my Gatorade bottle, specifically) to hold the water and, immediately after Marvin poured hot water into the bottle, it capsized, warped, and shrunk. At this point, any sane human being would consider to just get a mug, but, being the person that I am, I insisted that we wait for a few minutes before we continue putting the lava water into the flimsy bottle.

After we had a hearty breakfast consisting of several loaves of bread and Pancit Canton, we were ready to wait for the camp gathering song to sound off again. Another funny thing about this morning that I can remember was that we noticed that our bread supply was dwindling even though we hadn't ate a single loaf of bread the days before, which struck us off. According to my teammates, they said they heard someone say "Sa kanila pala yun" ("It was theirs") and they said they were referring to their/our bread. This fueled allegations that certain teams—probably the Whoarange team—was taking some of our bread without our permission. This bread dilemma was escalated when we realized that, on the first day of camp, we had 6 packs of bread (I brought 3 packs of bread and Rhea brought another 3 packs) and we were taken aback when we noticed that we only had 2 packs of bread remaining. Our team facilitators were instantly disgruntled when they found out about this, but nothing really happened, they just stated out that it's wrong for different teams to take food from other teams without their permission.

The bread-fueled drama was quickly stopped once the camp gathering song sounded off. Once we got there, our lovely hosts for the morning told us the order the groups will be taking when trekking. We were second to the last (I believe) and, before we left Rialtok, we took a picture to commemorate our looks before the trip.

Now, trekking around the "unseen"/yet to be seen part of Kampo Trexo was fairly exciting for two reasons: it was hidden and we've never seen it before. On our way there, we were told by our hosts to go to "reflective mode" or, in layman's terms, to use the time to reflect on our past decisions and whatnot—and that's what I did. I tried, as much as possible, to keep quiet along the way and to not talk to anyone (not that anyone's going to talk to me anyway, but oh well) while trekking. The most fun part of this was we all went through the most beautiful, natural, and scenic part of Kampo Trexo we've ever seen.

If I remember correctly, we went down a few flights of steps going down to a small walkway that's close to the wall. On the opposite side, there was this huge and somewhat shallow river that leads to the end of the path, I guess. It was a little scary going through until we reached the bridge. The bridge itself was fairly sturdy-looking and it was made out of concrete, but what was unnerving was that there were no handrails on either side of it, so if I fall to the right or if I accidentally slipped, literally nothing would stop me plummeting down to the river. After we crossed the bridge, the second scariest thing in our trek showed up: the walkway. Now, similar to the walkway earlier, this wasn't made out of concrete and it had a weak-looking handrail to the left made out of wood/bamboo. What made me scared about this walkway was that it had a fairly good amount of mud on top of it and it rained the day before, which, needless to say, made the walkway pretty slippery. Adding insult to injury, this particular walkway had several ups and downs—just like life—and going through them was no easy task. Fortunately, we reached the end of our trip and we had to go up a very (extremely) small crevice that had a very slippery staircase leading to the top.

It was difficult going through, but it was worth it—until I realized that we had just gone through a longer, more difficult route and it actually led to the mountainous part of Kampo Trexo. We took a small break after that and I think I heard someone crying because they weren't able to breathe or that sort of thing; fortunately, none of my teammates suffered any injuries or any difficulties, so we pushed on. It's worth noting that, at this point, my skin color had significantly become darker—and redder—because I didn't have any sunblock on, but what can you do. After our short stop, we continued on heading upwards and we basically went through the same path we used yesterday, going through the same hanging bridge.

Our faces after trekking. It was grueling, but we all had fun as a team.
We had fun jumping on the hanging bridge (despite being told not to).

After a short walk or so, we all came back to Rialtok. I don't remember what happened after that, to be honest, but I'm assuming that we had a short break (which was around 3 hours) to do some squaddle sessions or to bond with our teammates. From what I remember, we didn't do any squaddle sessions and we just went to different locations in Kampo Trexo. I'm not sure if this way the day this happened, but I remember that someone had lost their iPhone while they were charging. Marvin and I desperately wanted to use our phones so we went back to the tent to get his charger and we would charge at the place where the iPhone got lost. The funny thing was that, while we were charging and casually talking, we watched two other guys clean up that area and they accidentally found the missing iPhone underneath all of the bags and towels. They gave the iPhone back and we just talked and rejoined our fellow teammates a few minutes later. We then changed into our recommended "Church clothes" and we had a Mass after that at Rialtok.

By this time, it was already nighttime and this was where the fun really began. I can't remember the reason why, but I had an emotional breakdown. I wasn't feeling very good that night and my teammates (as well as my team facilitator, Kuya Joed) noticed. The details were very vague and my memory had escaped me, but I remember I told him some really heavy stuff—stuff that was so confidential, I never told it to anyone else and nobody knew about my problem but me. What he did afterwards actually made me take back a few steps: He offered me some great advice, told me to reflect and he did the one thing that would cheer me up the most—he gathered my teammates and we had a squaddle session.

This was a pretty heavy squaddle session, to be honest, the heaviest out of all. The first to talk was me, I shared my problems with my depression, suicide, you know, the deep stuff. I think I actually broke down and started getting very emotional while telling my part, and the girl next to me—Sky—was patting my back while I was talking and I've never experienced that before so it made me even more emotional. At this point, my eyes were basically the embodiment of Niagara falls and all parts of me were scattered around onto the floor, showing my true, vulnerable, insecure, and deeply flawed side. What made me love the Carolet team was that, as far as I know, they all listened. They all listened no matter how sappy, emotional, or pathetic my story was, and—at the end of my story—they told me something that would make me consider them as my one, true family: they're there for me and they won't leave me behind. I don't have a lot of good things happen to me, but I'm sure that the Carolet team is definitely one of the best things to happen to my life.

After that, we took turns in sharing our equally heavy stories (which I won't disclose, by the way), until, of course, the damn camp gathering song sounded off. That was the worst time the camp gathering song could've sounded off and, to this day, I still wish that the camp gathering song sounded off half an hour or an hour later. Our camp facilitator told us that we would continue the session later, but, unfortunately, it was never continued and we were basically left on a cliffhanger because our other teammates didn't share their hardships yet (sorry Giselle, Yza, Gary, Marvin, Kaye, and Rhea). Once we got to Rialtok, we were told by our hosts to go to a special part of Kampo Trexo and to follow our team facilitators in going there.

We did a bunch of stuff while we were there. We wrote our problems and current worries down on a piece of paper and it was segregated by different groups; we book a piece of wood, got a pen, and wrote down our hopes/dreams for the future there and nailed it onto a cross; and were told to get our blankets and sit down around this big pile of wood which eventually became a gigantic campfire.

The plastic bags that we threw our papers in.
The cross where we nailed pieces of wood to.

After the lighting of the gigantic campfire, we were given a candle and I believe we were told to exchange and hug various camp members. I think I hugged all of my teammates, but if there is one I didn't hug, I owe them a hug (haha). I went around hugging other camp members that I personally knew and exchanged candles with them. The last person I exchanged candles with was a person from my original team (because I was supposed to be a part of the orange team, not violet), we hugged afterwards and went back to our respective groups. Our camp facilitators basically had a small sharing session afterwards and, funny enough, my teammate Rhea talked in front despite having a hoarse voice.

Our exchange-a-candle moment.
Although Rhea had an extremely hoarse voice, that didn't stop her.

We had our "E Night" presentation afterwards at Rialtok and basically it was this "show and tell" portion where each team would present/sing a Disney song in front. Our teammates thought that it was great for us to sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens. Since I was the only one in our team who knew the full song (I don't even know why I know the full song, I just listen to it on YouTube), they all thought that it would be great if I sang the song alone. This eventually proved to be a disaster (and a funny one, too) and our small prep time became the cause of our downfall; adding insult to injury, we were the first team to present. Our presentation was.. mediocre, but we had all fun and you could see it our faces.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the Carolets dance tonight.

We watched the other teams perform after that and we saw a mashup where all of the team facilitators would dance/do something silly in front and we cheered on our respective team facilitators. A few jokes were told after that, some sang and some danced, and we all had a blast enjoying our last night together.

This night ended in a very special way because, unlike the other nights, we were told by our hosts that there wouldn't be a "lights off" time for this night and we were basically told to do anything we wanted. Our team and I left Rialtok and went to Super Kaland to listen to a (very exhausting but) very inspiring story—which left us all in stitches. Sadly, Marvin was feeling pretty sleepy (and so was I) so we had to leave our group early and we went to sleep in our tent. Before we went to sleep, I realized that it was the most surreal night of my entire life: there were lights everywhere in the tent area, I could hear people and groups chatting, and some campers were running around and having fun with their fellow campers. Gary joined us in our tent not long after and he told us that the girls in our team went to their tents shortly after we left, so I'm sure we didn't miss out on anything.

We all went to sleep and, just like that, our third day at Camp Calye ended.

Unlike the other nights, this one was special. The days before, we were told that we would find out what a true family is, the answers to our current problems, and so on and so forth. Being the pessimist that I am, I didn't believe this at first as it seemed too big of a promise, but, despite the doubts I had, I was finally shown all of these magnificent things—all in one day. This day (and the other days leading up to it) genuinely are special, and I'll always treasure it in a special part of my worn-out and decrepit heart. Oh, and here are a few photos of us this night:

Our (embarrassing) team dance.
The most candid photo of us :^)

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