In life, nothing happens by coincidence or accident. Every person you meet serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things. From your true friends to your pessimistic, whining social media bashers, everyone has a purpose and role in your journey. Some will bring you unequivocal joy, while others are there to teach you lessons the hard and painful way. And, there are also random, seemingly insignificant, and barely-noticed people like Allan who make a profound impact in our life. Initially, you won’t notice these random passers-by, but eventually, you’ll notice that they all serve a big purpose in your life. As they say, life is a wondrous mystery of synchronicity.
If you’ve been following my adventures lately, you’ll notice that I’ve been mesmerized by the beauty of Naga City. With its picture-perfect peaks, verdant hills and sweeping panoramas, the City of Naga has been one of my favorite adventure playgrounds in Cebu.
This year, my friends and I have uncovered a ton of breathtaking places in this side of Cebu, including Mount Awayan, Lantawan Peak and Mount Balirong.
But, here’s the thing. These mind-blowing escapades wouldn’t be possible without one man – the mysterious Allan of Naga.
So, who exactly is Allan?
You might have seen his name just a couple of times on my blog. But, trust me, Allan is the key to some of our most thrilling escapades.
If my journey as a hiker was a video game, he’d be that special, unlockable, hard-to-find character that holds the map or puzzle pieces to the next levels.
And, even though our encounter with him was pretty brief, he was unconsciously leading us to a world of adventure.
How did we meet Allan?
We were lost and stuck in a remote community in Naga.
We just completed hike from Mount Badilaan to Mount Alpaco, and were looking for that mountain range we saw earlier.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a clear sign leading to that ridge. Not to mention, nobody was willing to give us a definite answer, as we were searching for it.
As a matter of fact, some of them gave us weird stares, thinking we were a strange group with a devious plan from the city. After all, it’s unusual for people here to see tourists and hikers.
To top it all off, we were all soaked and our shoes were covered in mud, thanks to the apparently non-stop rain.
After removing the thick layers of mud on our shoes, we decided to look for a different path or even call it a day.
And, on our way down, we caught a glimpse of a man standing in front of a nice house.
I, then, asked, him if there was a way up to that mountain range.
To my surprise, the man was more than willing to help us.
Not only did he show the trail to the top, but he also led us there.
We breathed a sigh of relief, when we reached the top.
We thanked the man, and asked his name.
“I’m Allan”, the man replied in a meek tone.
And, that’s why we call this part of Naga as “Allan’s mountain range” (we don’t know the official name of this place, though some say it’s “Takla”).
We asked Allan if we could take a picture of him, to capture this moment.
He, however, refused, saying he was camera shy.
“That’s okay”, we replied with a smile.
As we were about to descend, Allan gave us hints on how to get back to the city.
Originally, we were planning to take a different route (via Uling, Naga) back to the city, upon the recommendations of the locals.
But, thankfully, Allan gave us a better alternative, which also was an integral part of the bigger picture.
Furthermore, he showed us a shortcut, leading to the provincial road.
We, ultimately, arrived at the provincial road, and took a habal-habal ride to Naga-Toledo highway.
While heading down, we saw a gorgeous, lush and towering mountain.
And, the mountain was calling, luring with us with photogenic beauty.
We asked the drivers for tips on how to get there, and they gladly showed us the road that leads to this mountain.
The following week, my friends and I went to Balirong to hike this mountain. Afterwards, I wrote a blog about my hiking experience in Balirong and Lamac.
Soon after, sir Francis – an LGU employee of the city – read my blog, and gave us a suggestion on where to go in Naga.
And so, with his recommendations, we hiked the mountain he recommended, and unlocked a new trail for our adventures.
Sir Francis, soon, became a part of our growing family. Since then, we’ve been on a tear, exploring a plethora of offbeat trails and places in Cebu.
And, all of this was made possible by one mysterious man – Allan of Naga City.
What if we didn’t meet Allan?
What if I Allan wasn’t there on our hike?
What if he took a bathroom break, when we passed by his house?
What if Allan decided not to show us the shortcuts and trails to these ranges in Naga?
Things would have been pretty different without Allan.
If we didn’t see him that day, we might have taken a different exit point.
Plus, we might not have seen the trails connecting Allan’s mountain range to Balirong.
In turn, we might not have seen the majesty of Mount Balirong on that afternoon.
That means our Balirong to Lamac hike wouldn’t have taken place.
And, no Balirong blog means we didn’t meet sir Francis.
Without sir Francis, we wouldn’t have discovered Mount Awayan – the final piece to our Mount Naupa to Mount Calbasaan puzzle.
Obviously, there was no way we could have experienced these spots on our own, without sir Francis giving us a local’s perspective and tip.
Think the Allan effect is limited on Naga grounds only? Guess what?
Our hikes in Balirong and Mount Awayan weren’t just fun, but they also prepared us physically and mentally for our Alto Peak adventure.
The steep rocky trails on our way to Udlom Falls, the scorching open trail between Naupa and Calbasaan – our outdoor escapes in Naga served as our preparation climbs to Alto Peak.
Did I mention that Raul met someone special on our hike to Lamac from Balirong?
And, what about my readers?
Would they have hiked some of mountains and places that I’ve been to without Allan?
Would Shiekinah ever meet Team Baklag if the Balirong hike didn’t happen?
For sure, our hike for cause would be rather different if we didn’t see him that day.
Maybe, some of sponsors or hikers wouldn’t be around, without my blogs about Naga.
Essentially, Allan, in his own simple way, has sparked a chain of events that made tons of people happy.
The thing is, the Allan effect is still scratching the surface.
To me, it’s still light-years away from reaching its pinnacle.
The hikes mentioned above have toughened us up, and unlocked abilities that we didn’t know were there with us (ahem the hiker’s compass of Tatay Raul). And soon, we’ll be conquering steeper mountains, hosting more outreach programs and discovering more new places. And one day, we will remember fondly how a demure and introverted man from Naga has made us better and stronger.
What we can learn from our encounter with Allan
A small act of kindness can lead to greater things
There are a few valuable lessons we can learn from Allan. For one, one small act of kindness can somehow lead a series of events that may be beneficial to hundreds (if not thousands) of people.
Allan is a simple and no-frills dude.
He doesn’t have thousands of followers on Instagram or Facebook.
Heck, I don’t think he even has a social media account.
Even so, he has done something great and triggered a string of exciting and meaningful events.
He doesn’t know it yet, but he has already helped a community and groups of hikers in Cebu.
“Each smallest act of kindness, reverberates across great distances and spans of time –affecting lives unknown to the one who’s generous spirit, was the source of this good echo. Because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage, years later, and far away”, – Dean Koontz.
So, go ahead, and lend a hand to anyone who needs your help.
Who knows? It may lead to a life-changing moment for others.
Everything happens for a reason
The Universe put Allan in front of his house at that moment, for a reason. And, if for some reason he wasn’t there on our visit, the Universe will likely find a way to connect us, and led us to those mountain ranges.
As I’ve said before, I believe in fate.
The endless rain that day and sir Francis bumping into my blog – everything and everyone in this ongoing story has a purpose.
If things didn’t go as written, fate will find a way to take us to the right direction.
Let me give you another example of fate.
I officially met IDOL Reymund on a Spartan Trail hike. After his relentless plea, I finally gave him an opportunity to hike with my former team.
And, somehow, that became a turning point for him and a few people in our circle.
But, our Spartan Trail hike wasn’t my first encounter with IDOL.
Months earlier, I stumbled upon this guy, as we were about to embark on our ride to the base of O’Peak.
Back then, he was a solo traveler, and was looking for a travel buddy whom he can split the habal-habal fare with.
Unfortunately, there were already 12 of us, meaning there was no room for another rider. When it comes to habal-habal rides, we prefer to ride by pairs for safety purposes.
Later on, I wrote a blog about my experience in Casino Peak, and he made a comment on his post, saying he was there at that day.
I told him I was one of the guys he met in Dalaguete, and later on, became friends on Facebook. And that’s where the dominos began to fall.
Small moments matter
Our society tells us that only those big and spectacular moments matter. In history, for instance, the most talked about events include catastrophic volcanic eruptions and bloody World Wars.
But, small moments do matter too.
Remember, a small argument can lead to a chain of disputes and trigger a civil war.
And, in chaos theory, something as small and insignificant as a flap of a butterfly’s wing can cause a massive typhoon halfway around the world.
Even picking a color for your dress can have a big effect on so many lives.
And like Allan, you can also have a profound impact in someone’s life with your simple daily choices.
The truth is, you didn’t stumble upon this blog post by accident. Right now, you may be thinking I’m a crazy, dumb fool. But, once the dominos start falling, you’ll know exactly I’m talking about. Who knows? Maybe, you’re the Allan to someone else’s story.