Monday, September 6, 2010


Are we crazy?
Well, maybe.
(but then, most of you already knew that...)

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn once said, "If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?"

And General George Patton said, "Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash."

You may disagree with the 'calculated risk' we took, but do know that it was calculated. Our friend, "E," who has lived at this location for 20 years, has always traveled this way. She vouched personally for the drivers, and we knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So we rode Skylab.

No, I'm not referring to the first U.S. Space station, though this Skylab was actually named after it.

This is the Filipino version.

Skylab: n. a motorbike fitted with a horizontal board at back that can seat several passengers across.

That's the official definition.
We didn't ride this type of skylab - ours had no 'wings' - the part that everyone agrees is the most dangerous place to sit. Instead they had elongated seats to accommodate extra passengers.

We walked with "E" to the Skylab 'station' where we were the source of amusement for a bunch of people!

All of the guys piled on one bike while the ladies waited for our driver to fuel up. He bought a Coke bottle full of gas from a roadside stand... this one below.
(You can see the Coke bottles of gas in the top of the wooden stand on the right.)

Then we hopped on and took off with Elise bravely perched on the tank and Amy hanging on the back.

We wound up the road for 15 minutes or so, bouncing and jolting, amazed that this was typical transportation mode for lots of people all of the time. That poor motorcycle was working very hard!
Along the way people stopped and stared after us - I'm sure we were a real novelty.

We were all pretty relieved to reach our destination; a hot spring/lake, and resort. "E" knew the staff and got us in for a free whirlwind tour.
A thermodynamic plant was built nearby to tap into this natural resource, and the shrine below was erected in the woods as a place to make sacrifices to appease the spirits for intruding in their domain. Sacrifices are still made, at least yearly.

The lake was an eerie place with steam rising in great clouds.

The water was HOT to the touch. You wouldn't want to stick your feet in this one.

There were also beautiful gardens with a mysterious, Shangri-La aura.

Soon we headed back to the motorcycles, wanting to make sure to get back to the house before dusk.

Unfortunately, just at that point it began to rain. We decided to venture down anyway.
I'm still not quite sure how our drivers could see where they were going. The rain was blowing so hard into my eyes that I had to close them most of the way.
The kids all rode with "E" on one bike, and Mark and I agreed afterward that we each were praying all the way down for the safety of our children who were coming behind us.

It was a relief to see them round the bend in the road, soaked to the skin, and grinning from ear to ear.
It's an experience they'll never forget, and it remains Michael's favorite part of visiting a village.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye - to the high school girls who had been so friendly (one of them gave a bracelet to Elise and wanted her to fill out a sheet of questions about herself - including "What Tribe Are You From?" !)

And goodbyes to the team we had worked with. Thank you for all of your sweet hospitality, and for making us feel so welcome. We'll always remember our visit!


Heritage Clan said...

Y'all are getting WAY~ too adventurous! We'll be praying harder for your safety! :) How fun!

us5 said...

see what you're missing Heritages? bet we could fit your whole family on one bike!

Judy said...

What a wild ride!!!! That hotspring/lake looked amazing! You are really getting in alot of different/cool/dangerous adventures!

us5 said...

it's true...we're creating lots of memories here. :o)