Sunday, September 26, 2010


I am not a fan of any Survivor program. Interestingly, I know how reality TV works. Yes, that's because I used to work in a reality TV program. So more or more, I have an idea how the story evolves and how it is scripted to make impact and gets profit for a network. However, in our hiking at Bukit Shabandar, I realized how "we" were realistically put in an ala-survivor test as our friend Michele had an accident.

Days before we hiked at Bukit Shabandar heavy rains occupied most of the nights. With that, the trails at Bukit Shabandar were wet, slippery and muddy. Michele didn’t escape the traps of the jungle that hit her unprepared “legs” for the unexpected.

What happened to Michele? According to her “Dapat madudulas ako pero pinigilan ko. So parang yung muscle ko, nabanat.  Parang natapilok.” 

Michele’s case worsened as she walked further. Imagine, we were walking for almost five hours (9 mountains, for everyone's information) with her legs in pain. As Michele said “Actually, akala ko kasi malapit na tayo, so pinilit kong maglakad ng mabilis. Yon pala hindi pa.” With this, Michele soon sought for help. Thankfully, my father helped out. He assisted Michele while walking. Using my camera holder's strap and a towel, a support on Michele's knee was made.

However, things got even worse for Michele when she reached the stairs. That time, she already called her friend Gerald to drive in the car at the end of the cemented stairs. Unfortunately, since it was a holiday, the gates were closed and driving the car inside was impossible. With no choice to make, Gerald had to walk in and assist Michele.

When Gerald came to assist Michele, my father and I confidently assumed that we will just wait for them to reach the parking area for us to eat. We were wrong.

Upon reaching the parking lot, I got a call from Carem. Michele couldn’t walk anymore. Fear surfaced. Everyone was jolted. Lunch time was fed with anxiety and fear.

Thankfully, upon seeing the trolley inside the Avanza, Cecil made a brilliant suggestion. It was shameful that we laughed at Cecil’s suggestion of using the trolley to bring over Michele in the parking lot. Cecil was smart. The trolley was a saving tool.

My father and I walked back to the end of the cemented stairs. From the parking lot, it would take 30 minutes. I was clueless with how can we bring Michele over.

Someone attempted to call Brunei’s emergency hotline. No one answered. And to some inquiry, a rescue operation costs BND500 or 15,000 pesos. With our pockets tight, resourcefulness and camaraderie came in.

There were three challenges in rescuing Michele. First, we had to carry him in a path wherein we couldn’t use the trolley. The path way was piled with rocks. The Second challenge was to bring the trolley carefully in a cemented path. And the third challenged was to put a support at Michele’s head because the trolley was short. Given all these challenges, it was indeed a SURVIVOR PHILIPPINES in BRUNEI episode.

Despite the call of fear and anxiety, our group was optimistic enough that safety and cure will be delivered to Michele. With this, we even documented the whole scenario with pictures taking and yes, an ala-TV patrol report by Carem. At least, such witty acts calmed down our racing hearts for Michele’s condition.

At last, after one hour and 30 minutes of walk, we finally had Michele in the safe zone. We placed her inside the car, fed her, entertained her, and hoped for her fast recovery. A medicine was also handed over by Cecil.

here is the video coverage of the rescue operations! Pak!

Aside from “okay ka na?” or “kamusta na ang pakiramdam mo?” banters to Michele, the statement “Ang sarap ng potato salad mo!” topped Michele’s comment’s list! Surely, that compliment alleviated Michele's suffering.

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