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Stories in Budlaan River

Backpacking with a Book

STORIES. It is guided with a simple yet poignant philosophy: the faster the current is, the more stories it desires to share.

CEBU, Philippines – There is a rousing resonance in every river. Its stories are woven in its water, line after line or current after current, and spoken out through its punitive, rough flow. It is guided with a simple yet poignant philosophy: the faster the current is, the more stories it desires to share. The almost stagnant and slow flowing water, however, is also full of stories, yet silenced and stilled. And it is those who are gifted with the art of ardent observation that can hear and listen to them.

With the guidance of EWIT, a mountaineering group based here in Cebu, novice and seasoned trekkers alike journeyed and trailed the Budlaan River, which is situated in Talamban. It is the main watercourse, the highway, wherein smaller rivers from mountainous towns met and greeted one another. It is naturally sculptured with huge rock formations—a river that houses rocks as big as hills. Accordingly, it offers stories both rough and suave.

SILENCED. The almost stagnant and slow flowing water, however, is also full of stories, yet silenced and stilled.

Thus, with its biological rock architecture, trailing the Budlaan River is not a leisure walk in a park; rather, it is a one-wrong-move-you’re-dead downtrek, especially for those who are neophytes in the art of trekking. The seasoned EWIT mountaineers never fail to provide advice, reminding all to be extra careful in their footing. Meandro Adonis Abao, one of the founding members of EWIT, said that trekking is not, and should not be, a race. “Take it slow and take pleasure from the beauty surrounding you,” he added.

EWIT mountaineers is known as a turtle, which is profoundly pronounced in the name ewit. It is a vernacular word that literally means tail. These mountaineers live the principle of  a turtle: there is a measured precision in gradualness. They uphold the belief that nature is not a channel for competitions; rather, it is created for individuals who seek for pristine and unspoiled beauty. Etymologically, ewit is an old German word that means herd. And the EWIT mountaineers are, indeed, a flock who  appreciates nature’s magnificence.

BEAUTY. “Take it slow and take pleasure from the beauty surrounding you.”

Within the six-hour river downtrek, there were realizations, friendships, trust, and stories formed.  And Budlaan River was the witness of the stories of each trekker, of EWIT, either shared or not. Similary, the stories of the river itself remained to the trekkers who listened to them.©

Budlaan River Trek: May 31, 2009

Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi, I'm Jona! I write stories and poetry and take a lot of photos, which I'm too lazy to upload. If you want to receive some photos that I don't share here on the blog, please leave your email here. I'm crazy about cats too. Feel free to browse through BWAB, and I would love it if you say hi! For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com For more stories about BWAB, check here. Connect with us through

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