Not far away from the city proper of Olongapo, in a barrio to the north-east called Gordon Heights, a 2-hour arduous climb over a steep incline will bring you to the top of a hill where a little village stands: Sitio Tralala.
As part of Junior Chamber (Jaycees) of Olongapo’s activities, we woke up one early morning days before Christmas last year, to bring toys and snacks to more or less a hundred kids in Sitio Tralala. With a pick-up, a van and a car, we began our journey from a fastfood joint in Magsaysay Ave. and proceeded all the way to the end of the paved road in Gordon Heights.
The trek started comfortably, with a flowing river running alongside the trail. Tall and leafy trees protected us from the sun. A few minutes later, the trees were gone, replaced by talahib and/or cogon grass. The easy walk turned to climbing over a 45-degree slope, marked by just 2 brief stops – for catching breath and saving face, hehe -- until we reached the top. I was wondering which part of my body would give up first, my legs or my heart? Maybe pride got in the way and helped me survive.
And survive we did as we scanned the view unfolding before us: a meandering river, greeneries, the valley below, Subic Bay beyond, and the mountain range seemingly watching over the city.
The village had a half-completed church, nipa houses located few and far between, and dozens of wide-eyed and happy Aeta kids. Soothed by the gentle breeze and re-energized by bottles of water, we mingled with the kids, distributed spaghetti, bread and drinks. Then, on with the fun games and the awarding of prizes where everybody was a winner. All through out, their amused parents were watching and cheering.
Yes, indeed, Sitio Tralala is real.