A Day of Hiking and Swimming at Tangadan Falls

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If you study at Monol, it’s most probably not the alarm clock that wakes you up every day. Instead, it’s the sound of the roosters and the faint early morning mist similar to the atmosphere in Chongqing China. At 6 o’clock every day, Japanese students in the dormitory get up and start their day. They put on their earphones and start practicing their listening.

As many students from Asia are shy, I feel like choosing a multi-person room arrangement will give you a better environment. In this situation, you get more opportunities to practice speaking while being influenced and encouraged by others.

Time passes by so quickly that my third ESL course in Monol is about to begin. In the past week of studying, my mornings consist of 3 one-on-one classes. Meanwhile, in the afternoon, are my group classes. For seven hours a day, I am studying with an hour of break time.

The biggest difference with learning English in China and here at Monol is the amount of practice throughout the day. In the academy, there’s daily English exercises and an all English teaching method and communication. The teachers also promptly correct pronunciation and grammatical errors. If you encounter unfamiliar vocabulary words, the teacher explains it to you in English. This way, you’ll get used to the language and it’s a great feeling.

Weekend Trips

In addition to the five days a week of studying, the school organizes weekend trips every two weeks. These trips feature city attractions in and outside the city of Baguio. At the student dining area, a list of locations is posted and the students can sign up for the destination they want. These trips not only allow everyone to understand local customs but also give the students a chance to understand and communicate with each other.

After the student votation, the two locations are chosen. The first is Vigan City, a six-hour drive away from Baguio, where you can go sightseeing the place’s historic buildings. The other trip is to Tangadan Falls just three hours away from Baguio. Here, the activities are outdoor hiking and swimming.

Going to Tangadan

After comprehensive consideration, I signed up for the Tangadan Falls trip. There were 18 of us in total and we were a mix of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese students. At 8:30 in the morning, the school shuttle bus was already at the gate waiting for everyone.

While on the three-hour ride, we were able to see different Baguio City sceneries along the way. There are high and low mountain roads and unobstructed farmlands. The atmosphere was quiet and beautiful. We had a quick stopover in the middle of our trip to purchase water and food at a convenience store for a little over ten minutes. Afterward, we went on our way.

Around noon, we arrived at the village entrance. The tour guide told us that we have to hike for an hour. We went up the mountain using the pathway next to the spring. Along the way, we walked through dense bamboo forests and banana orchards. In the valley, we saw many locals and they were even fishing with simple tools at the stream. There were also many children playing in the water under the careful eye of the adults.

The Beauty of Tangadan Falls

Our big group walked for about 40 minutes and suddenly heard the sound of people shouting from not far away. There, people were having a good time at the destination we were walking towards. There were local teenagers doing high platform diving from the top of the hills. We could hear people counting down and encouraging the teen; he poses, dives and the water splashes.  Although everyone was eager to try, we kept in mind the safety of our activities and chose to keep walking. After 30 minutes, we heard the faint splash of water and our managers told us that just around the hillside lies what we were waiting for.

Sure enough, as we climbed to the hillside, the waterfall was in front of me and I felt a cool breeze. Everyone quickly changed clothes and the big brother was the first to jump. Following him were the rest of the boys that lined up and jumped down. The water was very clear and slightly cold probably around 20 degrees. Also, maybe because of where it is situated, the water’s color has a touch of dark green.

Everyone enjoyed the destination as it cooled us off from the hot weather. After an hour or so, we started walking back. Some of us chose to take a jeepney back and maybe because of excitement and tiredness, some fell asleep on the ride home. Looking forward to the next trip!

Student Jerry

 

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