Vera Falls Adventure


The Vera Falls Adventure happened March 5 to 7 in Malinao, Albay. It is dubbed as the “hidden paradise” of Mt. Malinao. We did this as a project for our Feature Writing class finals.

Travel is one of those exhausting but exciting things. First, you have to plan things out. In our case as a group, money matters were the most frustrating and integral to talk about. At the end, everything turned out perfect and we were able to get there.

I went with my co-F.A.R.T Magazine frat mates namely Val Berzosa, Bassy Dialino, Maryknoll Lumbang and Jay Guy.

Minutes before our travel to Albay, the annual Bicol Conference on Communication and Media Studies (BICCOMMS) at the Ateneo de Naga University Xavier Hall had just concluded. Even before going, I was already feeling elated especially after I got first place in the essay writing contest on social media empowerment. This was what got me so anxious during the awarding ceremony and even before our travel, because I had a hard time writing the essay and felt like I wasn’t making sense halfway through the article. Plus, I was competing with this dude from my Communication and Society class who’s very eloquent and passionately vocal about socio-cultural issues. Fortunately, I beat him but the anxiety died down only after I went up the stage and exposed my pitiful face in front of everyone as I received my certificate being my fretful, ugly self while people were taking pictures of that poor face.

We traveled through the UV Express vans. It was an okay ride, however I was left out of the circle and had to sit one seat in front of them. They all sat together, while I was flanked by two strangers. Imagine the anxiety! Worse, it was a 3-hour ride. Stay strong, butt.

3 hours later, we arrived in Tabaco City. I couldn’t feel my legs when we stepped off the van. We walked around to re-circulate the blood in our limp and numb legs and visited the outdoor of St. John The Baptist Parish. The city is comparable to Naga City. Small and developing. Val told us that there lay the first 7-Eleven store in Tabaco. We walked some few meters more and bought ourselves some chocolate/blueberry ice cream. Yum. The cashiers were even more generous in ejecting soft serve ice cream swirls into the cone than the ones we have here in Naga.

A few more meters of walking, we arrived at Val’s residence. We were welcomed by her grandmother and cousins. We went to the rooms. Val’s house is huge. And her room is like a princess’s. After touring her not-so humble abode, Val suggested we go around their barangay so we changed clothes and started walking. Yes, more walking. It reminded me of our immersion days in Bula, Camarines Sur.

We looked around and ultimately had to stop at the municipal hall. There were lots of stalls and establishments such as bakeries, sari-sari stores and street food vendors. I loved the grilled coagulated pig’s blood and its sauce (a.k.a dugo by the way, just masking my dumbass self). We also visited one of Val’s relatives who also had this really unhumble abode with really nice interior decor and design and interestingly, a mini bar. They welcomed us as they watched TV. Going back, Maryknoll and some others (kinda forgot who) gave up and unfortunately rented pedicabs. Poor kids like me had to walk back to Val’s.

We eventually had dinner c/o Val’s grandmother. We had adobo. After the tasteful dinner, we went upstairs back to Val’s princessy bedroom and played cheesy music. We talked about some stuff (also kinda forgot what about), backstabbed some classmates until we found board games in a drawer of her bed. We specifically played this science game about biology and anatomy. Bassy scored more than us. Smartass.

At the end of the day, Jay and I were deported to the room next to Val’s. There were two twin beds, one for me and one for Jay. The room was pretty hot. The girls had air-conditioner. Aside from the luxury and extravagance that was Val’s house, there existed horrible and apparent social injustice. Kidding. (Not.)

Sunday came. I woke up really early to take a shower really early because of anxiety reasons. I don’t know but I always have this idea that people will see me naked or something. Others followed. We then went to Val’s roof deck (yes, rich kids have that) up through their spiral stairs (yes, a rich kid’s thing). We took pictures of the beautiful sunrise and Mayon Volcano’s perfectly-shaped cone. Really, it was the most important city—er, I mean volcano—in Bicol.

We had bread and cheese spread for breakfast. Val’s magnanimous grandmother gave us so much food to bring to the falls (talk about more heavy things to bring, huh?) and then we went straight to the van (another UV Express brand) managed by Val’s uncle.

The travel was quite fun. We had to shoot some videos for Jay because he was shooting two subjects with one cam (the other one, Media Writing) where he also experienced socio-academical injustice and discrimination, thanks to that specific person I’m not gonna talk to you about. What the fuck was that, Jay?

I kinda feel tired writing all this bullshit. Anyway just watch this edited version of our travel made by Jay for his Media Writing class. Enjoy:

Thanks for reading, Gov. Salceda!


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