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INTO... continued

So I went blindly up one dismal street after the other, before I finally stumbled upon the College of Forestry at one in the morning. A friend of mine, who by the way, was trekking with me on this particular trip, woke up a security guard and somehow rustled up directions on how we could get to the campsite. Off we went into the darkness, literally, because none between us had the brains to pack batteries for the headlamps. We had to content ourselves with the flickering illumination that our "near death" double A's could muster. The faint light that our lamps produced was no brighter than the sun, if we were on Pluto, hiding in a tent, on the dark side of the planet!

We stumbled in the darkness like merry madmen for a while, going off-trail a little bit at the switchback sections of the trail. A little further along the way, we came upon a noisy jeepload of climbers, with an equally lurid sounding scooter bringing up the rear of their happy little caravan. The trail was rough, and their jeep surged up and down the many craters and ruts that marred the road. It was a kind of slow, two-step dance for the jeep as it lost and gained footing repeatedly on the unstable ground. We ran alongside the slow moving motorcade, thankful for the light from the headlights. Soon, they had to stop again as the scooter finally quit! It was as if somebody had died on the roadside, we all stood there staring at the mechanical corpse of the once agile motorcycle. They decided that it was best to load the thing on to the jeep and continue on foot the rest of the way. They started unpacking their load hesitantly, each one grabbing a pack of assorted supplies and then, they pulled out a dog! It was dark, so I couldn't see very well, but the shiny black coat and the deadly stare told me not to mess around with the doberman.

I have a "thing" for dobermans ever since my grandfather was attacked by one of his own dogs. Then again, my grandfather has the tenderness of a drill sergeant when it comes to pets, farm animals, and livestock. The dog I met on Mt. Makiling was named "Diether"; and his human companion happened to own the jeep, so he got preferential treatment and got to snag a place on the lurching vehicle. The rest of us had to "bipedal" our way up the last kilometer to the campsite.

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