I was reminded of my college days when I needed to refresh my mind from burning candles at night to survive the cut-throat examinations. I went to Lagum with a friend (remember the one who gave me that Garfield card) for a short-time vacation in their place called Lagum. It’s a small barrio in Penablanca Cagayan.
It was my first time to go to Lagum, a typical barrio which was never lost in a mass of vegetation. It unfolded like a foggy dream. It was one place which has remained unspoiled even with the onset of modernization in the town of Penablanca. It maintained its natural beauty with hills and mountains carpeted in green, looking like well-manicured and sculptured lawns.
Reaching Lagum was actually a lot of adventure. We had to take the small boat to trek the river. Like emeralds nestled in the middle of the green river lay the green-covered and wave-battered stones, rocks and cliffs. We could even see the breathtaking underwater scenery. We passed through the famous rainy walls or Mororan Falls where water droplets were trickling down from the roots of creepers and ferns on the high limestone cliffs. A few hundred meters on was a cave opened the river situated high up on a sheer cliff wall. This dark cavern was home to several hundred thousand insect-eating bats.
After the river trek, we stopped near a plain field where we would hike on our own. I was exhausted for that long walk and climbing the mountain as well. However, not everyone is lucky to be able to see those wonders and more of nature’s drama.
Lagum is a place that is remote from the chronic noise and ever present pressures of town life. Years ago when I first went there, there was no electricity. I’m not sure if electricity has already reached the community these days. Nonetheless, the people of Lagum maintained a smooth flow of life. One can also sleep there in the open air at night without the fear of being molested. People were using “hasag” or a lamp that needs alcohol to light up.
We hiked up at a steep mountain, a place above the timberline showing me the way back home. Sitting in a rock, I could see the mountains spread before me for miles and miles in all directions. Into an open cloudy day, I had a pensive, wistful look into the mountain pasture where cows fended for themselves. The only sounds were the occasional warble of birds. I suddenly felt something I couldn’t describe—something I couldn’t see or or hear but could feel. Gazing out over the mountains and plains, I wondered what caused this strange but pleasant feeling. Yes, I found my oasis in the desert. I’ve always wanted to commune with nature—see for myself what was on the other side of the mountains.
At night in Lagum, one can just listen to the distinct harmony of nature—the rustling of leaves, squeak of bats, and the sound of cicadas. Or just use the magic of words and pen and create your own story. How much such a version of paradise worth? At Lagum, one common picture so vivid in one’s mind is the image of paradise where luxury blends harmoniously with the untamed beauty of nature, where peace and tranquility reign supreme.