Sunshine; the boscage of vibrant green trees; birds perching and cantillating on twigs; wading through mud; hiking for hours….then there we go….DC Comics’ Nanda Parbat equivalent of Camarines Sur.
I grew up near the river. This ties my affinity up to the beach since the travel bug “itched” those feet. My father was a fisherman during my formative years. (He was also a collector but, ultimately, an expert tricycle driver.) He had always relied on me for the bait’s original accessory: earthworms. We were a “fishing” team for a while back in the day. That affinity is so apparent that one of father’s cardinal rules is to never go the river without him or Nana. I and my brothers, of course, broke that rule so many times especially when we were already teenagers.
Fast forward several years, our family’s first adventure trip to the beach in Atulayan Island (“Regeneration Day in Atulayan Island“) in February 2020 and to the sinuous landscape of Albay (“Communing with Nature in the Tourist Spots Filled Province of Albay“) were fairly easy to handle because getting to those respective places did not require hiking. Pandemic protocols were also out of the equation.
Ms. Wonderwall and I had visited this blog post’s featured place in 2019 (“Healing with Nature at the Cove and in the Mountains of Siruma in Camarines Sur“). That blog post explains why it became our version of DC Comic’s Nanda Parbat for this one. We fell in love with it so much so that we vowed to bring our now teens the next time around—for its enlightening and healing magic.
Realistically though, for its challenging but certainly fun part that is the hiking (“Why Do I Love Hiking?”). We were certain that the teens will love the beach. The hiking part? We were excited to know.
Another major reason why we chose this sanctum again is because the travel requirements for it were “greatly” facilitated by the organizers: Kaddlagan Outdoor Adventure Tour headed by Sir Jojo Villareal—a fellow hippie! All we had to do was to register in the event.
Back when the kids were a lot younger, we just had to pack extra clothes and a lot of food to ensure a vacation trip goes smoothly. With teens though, it is different. A day at the beach, maybe, would be okay but with their now shorter attention span, it is impossible to contain tantrums by finger snapping. Gone are the days when building sand castles are as entertaining as when they were still a little more naive.
The eldest (Brad) is the only teen, actually. The youngest (Ethan) between the two is nearly 10 as we speak. However, their long-time bonding since the Stephen King-like days in 2020 put them on the same page—interests and attention span wise.
Prior to the adventure’s day, Brad and Ethan were, I say, electrified. They had their bags ready the night before. They also slept early to make sure they are conditioned for it. They were repeatedly briefed about the activities involved from how to behave when mingling with people from different walks of life (being polite is the key); what to do when nature calls in the middle of the hiking part (inform us about it if they are too shy to ask the organizers for a take 5); educating them in the Leave No Trace Principles…to respecting the general rules and appreciating by joining in all the activities the organizers came up or come up with…this and that.
The reason behind that is this weekend getaway would be their first ever vacation since lockdown days or in March 2020; it should be epic. They deserved it. I did everything I could to push on with it in spite of some unexpected hindrances. With this break, I am anticipating a great time to connect with them without the hectic schedules. Finding activities that, they, I mean the two of them together, did not do yet (hiking for more than an hour) and have not been doing for a long time (swimming at the beach) are sure solid ideas.
The eldest had his travel debut (“Time Stands Still at Trinity Islands in Oas, Albay“) in 2017. He did well.
It is about time to officially include them both in these travel endeavors.
So I and my better half were expecting the lads to get bored and depleted of gusto after 30 minutes of hiking. That they may also behaved rowdily at some point.
On the 4th of December 2021, Saturday, the family, together with 20 other guests for this adventure travel, reached the refreshing view of Siruma’s Camurawayan Cove after a two-hour hike.
Ideally, it only takes approximately 30 minutes to get here from the jump-off point if all guests are in good shape and with only a backpack.
Surprisingly, there was no bad mood, arguments, or untimely requests for food during the entire course of the journey. The bottles of water they both carried from their respective backpacks did the trick and, for the most part, the clear set expectations of what activities and scenarios await them.
The first time we had this undertaking as a family in 2020 made me discover that both of the teens are not afraid of giant waves slapping the boat while sailing for Atulayan Island. The ultimate discovery: they both love swimming in the sea for hours…
This travel adventure with our teens taught me and Ms. Wonderwall three great lessons.
The first is, informing them of what to expect (i.e., challenges and activities down to basic safety measures) is as game-changing as bringing a lot of food for the trip. The latter works best for keeping not just them but us, parents, in the best of moods—when things get difficult, boring, and unpredictable along the way.
The second is, forget about the expectations but expect appropriate behavior. There are, of course, moments when the two misbehaved. Teens are teens; kids are kids. They are nowhere near perfect as travel companions…yet. The only thing we would not want to happen is a misbehavior that could cause making a scene. Thank goodness they did not press that button.
And the third is, it is a must to let them tread their way through on their own. This is coupled with clear ground rules of course. We gave them this opportunity during the hike back to the camping ground when we were not able to cross the seaside for it because of the unpredicted high tide movements. They went ahead of us during the final leg of the descent and the next thing we knew, we were all smiling back at the base—safe and sound.
I would like to add the best of all, I do not worry about anyone drowning anymore.
In hindsight, teens are not that hard to put inside a behaved bubble as far as family vacations go. I can now say we did well in anticipating their supposed to be “outbreak” but did bad in how to take descent stolen shots of them. The thing is, they hate photo ops. But that is something I do not fret about.
With the amount of enthusiasm the teens had shown, I will see to it that both of them shall be involved in the planning process of our next vacation/adventure trip, especially the eldest.
A Beginner’s Guide For Backpacking With Teens (forbes.com)
14 Things to Do at the Beach with Teenagers (gulfshores.com)
Hiking Teens: What to Teach Your Kids About Hiking Safety (silvastraveltribe.com)
Hiking With Teens Can Build Lasting Bonds (braveskimom.com)
7 Life-changing Trips for Teenagers, According to T+L’s A-List Advisors (travelandleisure.com)
Ten Tips for Traveling with Teens (myfamilytravels.com)
19 family vacation ideas your teenager will love (today.com)