Our Pinatubo trip was not an ordinary day trek. Going back to the Tourism Office, it rained cats and dogs and the current of the water went crazy strong. Our tour guides advised us to stay on the elevated portion for our safety until the rain dies down. We stood there for more than an hour. It was one of the longest waiting time of my life. We were chilling, wet from head to toe. Our bags were exposed to water, and we were tired from standing up for too long. The rain did not stop though, so despite the strong rain, our tour guides called for help because it will be more difficult to survive out of this situation when the sun sets. The “rangers” came to the rescue and assisted us as we cross the streams and successfully make our way back.
It was a tough journey. Some from our group gained minor feet and leg injuries. People who wore slippers felt the stones rolling on their toes, so we had to pause for a while to check if anybody had serious bruises. (We were fortunate that no one got seriously hurt.) We were told to stay away from the mountain-like rock formations of lahar.
This is our hero, Kuya Willie. He farms during weekdays, and he works as a tour guide for Mt. Pinatubo trekkers on weekends. We were lucky that he was assigned to our group because not only he was helpful as our tour guide but he extended his service beyond that. When the heavy rain poured down, he offered me his raincoat while he himself was wet from head to toe. He was selfless – the footwear of one tourist gave up, and Kuya Willie willingly lend his slippers for her to use.
The act of kindness shown to me today was unbelievable. I could not convince myself that there are still people who would sacrifice their own comfort and safety just to make others feel secure. These people were not totally a friend nor a relative, but they were all extending their hands to help us. They were only paid a little amount to help us out, but I don’t think this was part of the deal. Realizing this, I made sure to look at their eyes and always utter “thank you” after every stream we cross.
We were basically strangers, but their concern and compassion, especially Kuya Willie’s, were so heartfelt I couldn’t help but shed a tear right at the moment we were crossing the streams. It was just moving.
Thank God. I’ll always be grateful.