a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Aborted Jungle Trek

It was a little before 6:00AM. The sun had just started to rise over the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort where me and my friend Mao spent the night. It was our 3rd day overseas and we decided to check out Sandakan, a city in the Malaysian side of Borneo. The day before, we endured  a 6-hour bus ride from Kota Kinabalu city towards this resort, which sits at the edge of a jungle. Mao immediately left the room hoping to catch the sun rise while I stumbled from the bed to fix myself.

The moment I stepped out of the room, I couldn’t help but be awed with what I saw. The resort was partially covered with fog. Around its vicinity were various species of trees and shrubs that lined the walkway. 







I finally ran into Mao who was avidly taking pictures near the swamp and we set off to explore the farm where we can see the animals. There wasn’t much to see so we walked some more and arrived at this wooden bridge which is used by people who are booked at the posh chalets. Me and Mao started looking around, amazed at the different plants we see. We were both enjoying the scenery when suddenly, I fell to the ground! I felt an intense pain at the in-step of my left foot. For some weird, inexplicable reason, my left foot fell into one of the small holes on one of the planks. After several minutes, I was able to recover and we resumed our morning walk as if nothing happened.

We then saw this board which contains a map of the forest trail and we excitedly went to the entry point of their well-regarded jungle trail. Nick, one of the resort-staff turned chum, told us the night before that we don’t need any guides and that the trail is perfectly safe. We just needed to be wary of leeches. I’ve been beaten before and it didn’t hurt at all so I didn’t have any issues with those. It just looks ugly and the bite bleeds for hours but leeches are harmless.




We finally arrived at the  signage pointing to the entrance of the trail and we excitedly walk towards it. No more than a few seconds, we heard loud growling from inside of the forest. Mao and I looked at each other in alarm. Then we decided to ignore the sound, then made another step. This time, the growling seemed more threatening. The growling, based from my interpretation said, “Take another step and you will be my breakfast.” (It would have sounded scarier if I said it in Tagalog right?!) hehehe. Mao and I looked at each other, again and decided that we’ll just skip the trek and do our morning rituals instead. Yeah, yeah, you can call us wimps but if you were there and heard all the growling, you’re going to freak out too.

Though our jungle trek did not push through, I felt refreshed from our morning walk and the next time we go back, perhaps we already have the courage to go through the entire trail.

Btw, here's the link for this jungle resort.

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