I came to Mount Lantoy to die.
Flooded with confusion, misery, and sadness, I was a man deprived of hope, lost in a labyrinth with no exit and prize.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been going through a storm, bombarded by endless downpours of adversities.
The covid aftermath.
It has been an absolute shit show. And the worst part is, I don’t see any silver lining.
There’s no light in this dark tunnel. It’s a darkness that stretches to infinity.
But, I have an escape plan and a solution that ends all miseries and pain.
The great French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus believed that the universe is irrational, and life is a cosmic joke and utterly meaningless.
Life is meaningless and absurd.
I know the philosophy of absurdism by Albert Camus doesn’t encourage suicide. But, somehow, his philosophy is giving me this idea.
If life is meaningless and a joke, then why prolong it?
Why prolong pain when an eternal and harmonious sleep awaits?
And, if ever there’s life after death, at least I’d be hanging out with the greatest men in history.
Finally, the time has arrived to bid adieu to all this nonsense and fuckfest.
Perched on a cliff in Mount Lantoy, I was mesmerized by the verdant scenery of Argao’s highlands.
And, this is my favorite place in Argao.
For a second, I thought the world overflowed with serenity and beauty.
The sight left me speechless and in awe.
The exquisite views of emerald mountains and crisp blue skies were the polar opposite of the dull, decaying concrete jungles of Cebu City.
It’s a slice of nirvana, free from the muddy, dirty, chocolate-brown floods of Metro Cebu.
If only life was this beautiful and simple.
If only I could flick through the bad parts, and jump to the good ones.
I just want to live in a world where there’s no pain, suffering, and wars.
While intoxicated, I was drenched in my own sweat, nervous about falling from the cliff on Mount Lantoy.
Wounded and dripping with blood, my right hand gripped tightly to the sharp twigs and vines.
With all the strength left in my body, I climbed my way back to a flat part of the area, huffing, and puffing.
I came to Mount Lantoy to die, but I was a coward. Not even a copious amount of alcohol could give me the courage to face death.
It’s time to jump. What a fitting way to die. It’s a meaningless death in a meaningless world.
I closed my eyes, ready to face the inevitable.
Uno. Dos. Tres.
But, just as I was about to jump, I suddenly sensed a shift in the atmosphere on Mount Lantoy.
The scent of alluring, sweet, floral, and pleasant cocoa permeated the air.
Then, I felt a fresh, rejuvenating, and spine-tingling breeze.
A statuesque, majestic, and gorgeous woman appeared right in front of me.
I’ve never seen a woman as radiant, graceful, elegant, and beautiful as her.
She has long flowing, brown hair, sparkling hazelnut eyes, a celestial nose, rosy cheeks, and glowing porcelain skin.
Wearing a long silky white dress, she is the epitome of a mestiza.
She’s an enchantress, a queen, and a goddess.
My eyes scanned her from head to toe. Every inch of her is perfection and a thing of beauty.
“What’s the matter, young man?” asked the enchantress. “What brings you to my kingdom, Mount Lantoy?”
Her voice was haunting, ethereal, light, and delicate. She wasn’t human. And, from the moment she spoke, I knew she was a diwata.
“I came to Mount Lantoy…to kill myself”, I replied. “Are you here to harvest my soul? Am I already dead?”
“I’m not Mangwayen, and I’m not here to bring you to Sulad and Saad.”
Bewildered, I took a step back and stared blankly into her eyes. Slowly, I moved to the edges, and to the cliff, facing the verdant landscapes of Argao, and the mighty river flowing from Conalum.
“I…just want to fucking die”, I said. “And, I don’t have the guts to do it on my own. You seem to possess some kind of supernatural ability. Can you help me kill myself?”
“What’s so terrible about your world that you badly want to escape it? Aren’t you happy with all your technological advancements? We’ve sacrificed a great deal to make your lives convenient, easy, and full of bliss.“
“You’ve paved our paradise, destroyed our mountains, raped our forests, poisoned our seas, and desecrated our rivers. You did it all because you want an easy and spectacular life full of bright lights and noises.”
“Your thirst for destruction is unquenchable.”
“And, now, almost every one of your kind seems depressed and unhappy. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
“What’s so nice about it? I want to live in a world where there’s no hunger, diabetes, blindness, two-faced friends, jerks, corruption, and death. Success is extremely hard in this world, and life is nothing, but a never-ending painful flood.”
“Tell me, hijo”, she replied. “What kind of world do you want to live in?”
“A world without sadness, ugliness, hardships, heartbreak, and conflict. I want to live in a world where there are no manic Mondays, no rainy Tuesdays, no mean taxi drivers, and no traffic.”
“I want to live in a world where the days are always sunny, where everyone is smiling, and everything feels like a lazy, smooth, and easy Sunday morning. I just want a life filled with peace, love, and happiness. A life that’s always easy and fun.”
“Everything is perfect in that world, and I would never want to jump off Mount Lantoy and leave it.”
I noticed she was getting closer to the cliff where I was standing on Mount Lantoy.
“Is that the paradise you seek?”, asked the diwata.
I turned to face her and gazed at her piercing brown eyes.
“Yes”, I replied gently.
With her two soft and delicate hands, she gently touched my shoulders. It felt comforting.
“I’m here to make your dream world a reality. Why won’t you come to my hacienda? It’s a utopia where no one’s sad, a place where no one bleeds, and a world where no man grieves.”
“I guess”, I replied. “Maybe. I don’t know. One thing is for sure, though. I don’t want to live in this awful reality.”
Then, she pushed me, throwing me off the cliff on Mount Lantoy. I screamed my lungs out, with tears rolling down my cheek, as I was falling backward off the cliff, and into oblivion.
Goodbye world. My heart-wrenching days are finally over. Hello, afterlife.
One year later in Mount Lantoy
A year ago, I came to Mount Lantoy to die. Today, I’m perched on a cliff in Mount Lantoy overlooking the river and the mountains in Argao.
The diwata gave me the life I’ve longed for. It’s a life free of pain, sadness, and ugliness. It’s a magical world where everyone’s beautiful and always smiling.
Am I in heaven?
Every day feels like a lazy and easy-going Sunday morning in this hidden paradise in Mount Lantoy.
Every day, I wake up to the melodic sounds of chirping birds and the fragrant scent of sikwate (hot chocolate). Afterward, I start my day with a plate of creamy, spongy, and sweet torta.
And, I don’t have to worry about my sugar levels in this world.
There’s no diabetes, heartbreak, ugliness, conflict, death, cancer, covid, and pain in the diwata’s haven.
After a sweet and satisfying meal, I wander around the diwata’s hacienda.
It’s a magical, verdant wonderland full of charming, beautiful, flawless, statuesque, fair-skinned, and blue-eyed people.
No one’s bitter, sad, angry, depressed, or anxious in this town.
Everyone here is loved and beaming with joy.
On some days, I venture into the diwata’s cave and admire her splendid collection of glittering jewels, gold, china, and diamonds.
There are days when the diwata and I sail her golden ship and travel the world.
We’d visit Biringan, climb Mount Makiling, and savor the beauty of Maria Christina Falls.
We’d go to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, China, and South America to buy silverware, gold, and exquisite furniture.
Every moment is spellbinding. It’s a highlight reel, with more fascinating moments than my entire life.
The sunsets in this world are also alluring.
Sometimes, I climb to the top of Mount Lantoy to cherish the vibrant pinks, reds, and oranges dotting the sky, as the day is about to end.
And, it doesn’t rain in this world.
It has no floods, no clogged drainages, and no muddy streets.
The nights are as captivating and enthralling as the sunsets, afternoons, and breezy mornings.
With no light and air pollution, I can clearly see the stars sparkle at night.
This world is perfect.
It’s a dream come true.
It’s the garden of Eden, a lost paradise, and a serene, otherworldly haven untouched by greedy human hands.
But, it’s too perfect for me.
And, I don’t want to live in a utopia.
Today, I’m standing at the top of Mount Lantoy savoring the beauty of the awe-inspiring emerald landscapes of this realm.
And, I come to Mount Lantoy to once again die.
Death beckons me. And, this time, I’m not letting this chance pass by.
The air feels cold, and I can sense the queen of Mount Lantoy arriving at her throne.
The Diwata looks normal to me, this time. She still has that radiant smile, porcelain skin, tantalizing eyes, sparkling hazel eyes, and brown hair.
But, everyone in this world is just as stunning as her.
I can’t distinguish beauty without ugliness.
And, I can’t appreciate happiness without pain.
“So, you want to escape this eternal bliss?”, asked the diwata on Mount Lantoy. “Isn’t this what your heart desires? You can live in a universe where no one dies and has unlimited possibilities.
“You can move between realms, see the bakunawa, and be enthralled by the diwatas. Are you willing to give it up, and return to your crumbling, corrupted, and flawed world?”
“Yes”, I replied. “I don’t belong here.”
I see her piercing eyes stare deep into my soul. I can sense her fury.
Slowly, her face turns mellow, showing an expression of sympathy.
“You were drowning in the sea of doubts, confusion, and regrets”, said the diwata. “Your exhaustion was like a never-ending flood. And, you eventually hit rock bottom.”
“You wanted a life as sweet as my sikwates and tortas. You dream of living in a utopia where everyone is smiling and happily living. And, I gave you a world where there’s no pain, death, cancer, diabetes, and covid.”
“I thought you were different. Sadly, you’re just like the rest of your kind. You yearn for spectacular moments, and you want your life to be an endless series of happy moments.”
“But, human life doesn’t work that way. Happiness can’t exist without sadness. Without sadness, happiness has no meaning. And, sadness helps you appreciate happiness more.”
“You can’t appreciate lazy Sunday mornings without going through a manic Monday evening or a rainy Tuesday.”
“There’s no dichotomy if I never experience sadness”, I said. “That means I can’t understand and feel happiness if I’ve never experienced sadness.”
“Blind people don’t know what darkness is because all they see is darkness. Fish don’t know what wet is since wet is all they know.”
“So, what kind of life do you want? Do you want eternal bliss? Or, do you prefer to return to your crumbling reality?”
“I want a life that’s exciting, interesting, and has a feeling”, I reply. “I want to live in a world where some things are beautiful and some things are ugly.”
“I want to live in a world with a mix of jerks and nice people. I yearn for a life where some people are nice and some aren’t. At least, I know who to appreciate and who is special. And, I know who is worth keeping and cherishing.”
“I want to be in a world where I can be happy some of the time, but not endlessly. I yearn for a world where there’s saltiness, bitterness and not just sweetness from sugar and cacao. A world full of flavors.”
“I’d love to live in a world where I can be sad. That way, I’ll know the difference.”
“I dream of living in a world full of struggles, where success requires creativity, effort, and thought. That way, success feels so important when I finally have it.”
“I’ll never leave a life with storms and floods. When I go through a storm, I’ll just keep in mind that it doesn’t rain forever, and the sun will eventually come out again.”
“And, if I ever get back to that world, I’ll stop chasing extraordinary moments to find happiness. Life is beautiful, no matter where I am. I’ll pay attention and practice gratitude.”
“You finally get it”, whispered the diwata of Mount Lantoy. “But, I have a request, before you leave.”
“Anything”, I reply.
“Tell everyone you know about me. Tell them my story, and our adventures across the world. The new generation doesn’t know that I exist. Tell them that I didn’t cause the floods and the destruction of bridges.”
“Let them know that they are responsible for their own destruction.”
“And, lastly, Embrace the simple pleasures. Life is not a race, and stop consuming most of your time reaching for that six-figure salary. Learn to love yourself.”
Although those last sentences don’t seem relevant to one another, her message is powerful.
“Is that a cheat code?”
She smiled, and gently guided me to the cliff of Mount Lantoy.
I raise my arms toward the sky, soak up the refreshing breeze, and jump from the cliff on Mount Lantoy.
I opened my eyes and felt gentle sun rays touching my face.
Three figures were standing in front of me – two sporty girls, and a bearded man.
“Who are you?”, I asked.
“Are you okay, Ulrich?”, one of the young ladies replied. “You’ve been gone for a week. Don’t you remember us? It’s me, Naomie, and here are your friends, Lina and Berny.”
Confused, I stood up to tidy myself up. I know my name is Ulrich, but I don’t know these people. And, something is different about me.
My hair is long, and I have a tribal tattoo on my right forearm.
I never had these features before my encounter with the diwata of Mount Lantoy.
“Let’s go down”, said Naomie. “You must be starving.”
Eventually, we arrived at a local eatery where I devoured a whole plate of Lechon.
There, I shared my story.
Eager and intrigued, my newfound friends listened carefully as I detailed my encounter with the ethereal diwata.
Her name is Maria Cacao, and she is the enchanting diwata of Mount Lantoy.