I had no experience in entering a thick forest prior to my visit to Phukhieo Wildlife Sanctuary. I actually live on the top of the mountain in a province near Metro Manila but the forest is gone. The trees were cut down for the sake of “development”.
Entering the forest is the last activity that we did in Phukhieo Wildlife Sanctuary. The forest trail is about 3 kilometers long and passes through different features inside the forest. One of those features is the site where the smelly rafflesia flowers grow.
Unfortunately, we had little time left for our stay in the wildlife sanctuary. Our group decided to just enter the forest and look at one the gigantic trees of Phukhieo, which is just a short walk away from the road.
One of our rangers lead the way. Other rangers also joined our group to ensure our safety. Wild dogs and other ferocious animals still inhabit the forest, so we needed their protection.
I was in awe when I entered Phukhieo's forest. Being inside the forest is very different than merely watching about it in an environmental TV show. Inside the forest, the sunlight is blocked by trees and the view is obstructed by vegetation. Anyone can get lost easily inside a thick forest such as this.
Phukhieo Wildlife Sanctuary is a very cool place. I woke up in our room that is so cold as if somebody left the air conditioner at very low temperature. I also had to take a bath using nearly-freezing water. This cool weather of the wildlife sanctuary is perfect for those who want to escape the heat of the lowlands. Unfortunately, this cool weather is also perfect for that bloodsucking menace, the LEECH.
I suddenly felt something cold crawling up my left foot. I panicked and shook my feet frantically. This is the thing that fell off my pants:
This leech smelled our blood. I bet the leeches are following our group so they can feed on us.
I was so preoccupied with the leech that I lost the people in front of me.
I'm glad that the trail is clear enough to follow. I walked a little more and then I saw the most amazing sight in Phukhieo Wildlife Sanctuary.
So far, this is the tallest tree that I saw in my lifetime! It is so high that I can't see the top.
The base of the tree is wide that around five people are needed to fully “hug” this tree.
We linger a little time beside the giant tree until we felt that leeches are creeping up our legs. We ran as fast us we could to reach the safety of the road. I immediately checked my feet the moment I went out of the forest.
One way to remove the leech is by sprinkling salt on it. However, we didn't have salt so the alternative is by rubbing tobacco from cigarette. The leech got irritated so it left me in peace.
The wound left by the leech was bleeding so I had no choice but to cover it with tissue and cloth.
I am more fortunate because only one leech was sucking my blood. Other people in our group had three or more bloodsuckers on their legs.
The experience with the leeches dampened our group's desire for more adventures inside Phukhieo Wildlife Sanctuary. So, we packed our bags and hit the road again. Our destination, this time, is home.