I was lucky to have been able to join a company outing last week to an island south of Luzon. Mindoro hosts a pretty decent place called Puerto Galera which is known for its beaches. I managed to join up with a hiking group from our company and ended up trekking through a forested and hilly area to a place called Aninuan Falls. I believe the closest translation from Tagalog would be 'Falls of the Ancestors'.
Being rather out of shape after an extended bout of chronic respiratory infections, I found the pace climbing up the hills rather tiring. I did not help that my companions just recently completed a 17-hour mountain trek near Subic Bay. In any case, I luckily made my constitution check and survived the trek over rather challenging terrain.
Completing the trek was worth it as a wonderfully secluded and refreshing natural waterfall greeted us at the end.
What really got my attention was a group of ruins off to one side of the small lake formed by the cascading stream of water. This appeared to be the concrete and rebar foundations of some long crumbled bridge. The bridge itself seems to have eroded away long ago but the supports are still evident.
The structure does not seem to be a contemporary or near-contemporary construction. I'm betting it was set up during the American Commonwealth period, sometime in the 1920s or 30s.
For some reason, the upper portion seems like it was blown up. I have to do some more research on this. Maybe this was blown up by guerillas who were fighting the japanese between 1942-1945. Or maybe it was the work of some communist rebels who were quite active in the area in the 1980s. Then again, maybe I'm just letting my imagination run away from me this time.
Even more intriguing is how the locals managed to use some of what remained of the crumbling concrete supports as a frame for a hut they managed to cobble up.
Seeing all this through a roleplaying umpire's eyes gave me an idea how the survivors of the Mutant Future could set themselves up in terms of shelter amidst the Ruins of the Ancients. Seeing concrete ruins all moss-covered and crumbling is one thing but beholding them up close is quite an inspiration for a gamer!
Also, I do believe I'll be paying more attention to those ability checks from now on when I'm adjudicating wilderness movement and exploration. Most of the terrain we traversed was boulder-strewn dried river beds. Apart from being out of shape, I had all I could do by just keeping my attention on the ground. Tripping and falling on the rocks is not a nice thing to happen to a trekker. And yes, difficult terrain tends to slow down travel. Having a trail to follow is such a Godsend when you're traversing jungle terrain in them thar hills.
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