An unforgettable night and day on top of a mountain

In a world full of pandemic-related problems, it’s quite refreshing that we had the chance to spend a night and a day on top of a mountain. The place is called “Camp with Me” and it is about one hour drive from our home in Davao City.

Our trip was part of my son’s therapy program organized by Skill Up. The theme was “Nurturing Capabilities Through Exploring Possibilities.” It took place from September 25-26, 2021.

Since September 25 was a Saturday, we joined Sabbath services first and waited for sunset to leave.

An unexpected downpour

As we were traveling to the campsite, it started to rain. I knew from the weather forecast that it would rain but I didn’t expect that it would REALLY rain hard.

The campsite was a forested area and located on top of the mountain. So, you can expect that the road going there was not that developed yet.

It was my first time going to this venue. So, I’m not too familiar with the terrain. 

To my surprise, the river started to overflow and it overtook the bridge. The water brought thick mud and the road isn’t visible anymore because of the floodwater.

I stepped out of the car into the rain. I surveyed the road and asked other drivers if we could still go through. They said it is still possible but as we were talking, one truck tried to traverse the flooded bridge and got stuck!

To move forward or go back

“It’s time to turn back.”

I told myself.

I went back to the car and told my wife we might not make it. 

As we were trying to figure out what we must do next, I stepped out again and just checked the bridge. Again, to my surprise, the flood wasn’t that too bad anymore. It was low enough to make the bridge visible

We followed a truck and we simply followed the tire tracks through the mud so our small car could go through. 

(If you want to watch our video going through the flooded bridge, here’s a Facebook video.)

Thank God, our Father, that we were able to reach our destination. 

As we continued with our journey, the road just gave us more signs of how strong the rain was. There were fallen trees and big rocks on the road. As I can just imagine, if we drove there earlier, we might have been hit by one of those trees and rocks.

We reached the campsite and it was still raining.

God sent help at the right time

We finally reached our destination. The place was too dark. Armed with our flashlight, we were told that we have to climb up the mountain. The problem was that we have a few things that we can’t bring all at the same time.

Thankfully, there were three men who appeared out of nowhere and helped us. I carried Caleb on my back and started to climb up. The rain fell down on our backs and it felt really cold.

The strange thing about this is that when we looked for the men who helped us, they couldn’t be found. Even our coordinator was asking us who helped us. 

Anyway, I know they are random people from around the place. Whether they are angels or not, I’m glad God sent them because it was really a difficult path to take going up the campsite.

Breathtaking view, joyful company

This is the night view from the campsite. It’s overlooking Davao City.

As we reached the top of the mountain, I looked back and the view was just breathtaking. The mountaintop gave us a night view of the entirety of Davao City.

As we talked to the people who came first, they were telling me stories of how strong the rain was. All their stuff was wet. Rainwater entered their tent and they are all cold. Thankfully, we all enjoyed a restful sleep that night.

I woke up at 5 AM. I was blessed to enjoy the beautiful sunrise. A little bit later, my lovely wife woke up and joined me.

Enjoying the sunrise. Here’s my time lapse video of the sunrise.

We had our breakfast and morning exercise together with other kids and other parents. It was such a great experience. Before, we were simply seeing parents come and go to the Skill Up therapy center. But now, we had the opportunity to really sit down and talk to some parents.

We had a lot of fun. They were team-building activities, tug of war, chicken egg catching, and so much more.

The moon is still visible during the sunrise.
Our campsite. 🙂

Sharing the same struggles

All of us in the camp share one common thing. We have a child/children who need occupational therapy because of developmental delay. 

Our Caleb enjoying the warm mini-bonfire.

As a parent surrounded by other parents with the same struggles, I think it is quite refreshing because you know that they know how you feel. You know that they experience the same problems. You know that they can understand your child as well when he still can’t speak when he doesn’t know how to socialize yet, and when he is not like other kids.

Caleb enjoying the view.

There’s no judgmental look, but only eyes with compassion and care.

I believe one of the reasons God allowed us to go through difficult trials is that he wants us to learn how to sympathize with others. He is placing us in a unique position where we learn how to understand other people going through the same problems in life.

We can let our trials make us bitter or feel sorry about ourselves. However, we also have the choice to let our trials become a tool to make us better bearers of God’s love. 

We let our test become our testimony.

We let our mess become our message.

At the end of the day, we must always remember Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Saved from the fall

Because of the heavy rain the night before, the road going down the mountain became too slippery. One truck slipped and the driver lost control. Thankfully, there was this one big rotten log that stopped the truck from tumbling over.

Who would have thought that a lifeless log would save the life if not the truck from getting damaged? Talk about how God has planned already ahead of time how He will save our friends on that day!

We went home and took the same road that we used to get to our campsite. The problem was that the flooded bridge accumulated so much mud that we decided to take another route.

Thankfully, we are all safe and sound.

My lovely wife with our ever-energetic son — on our way down, going home.

We reached home tired but fulfilled. Muddy but happy. Sleepy but with a brand new story to share.

We bring with us happy memories that we spent not just with our kids, but with other parents.

Today, we are looking for our next adventure!