Thursday, May 17, 2007

Casaroro Water

Dilemma: when you come upon something wondrous and new, do you jealously guard the secret in the hopes of personal gain? Or do you spread the word to one and all that they too might enjoy its benefits? The answer, I suppose, depends on the nature of the discovery.

After some thought, I've decided to take the latter course. It's nothing earthshaking, after all, simply a heretofore unarticulated observation. And that is: there's something special about the waters of Casaroro Falls.

Now, Casaroro Falls itself is no secret. It's a well-known destination for trekkers and tourists, though its popularity is hampered somewhat by its relative inaccessibility. Even if one rides all the way up to its gateway, one still has to descend a 330-step staircase. Oh, and one has to ascend, too, eventually.

I went on my third trip to Casaroro Falls last Sunday and I can attest that the trek has not gotten any easier. I played host to some Fellows from the Writers Workshop. We parked the car at Forest Camp, then proceeded to walk up to the "Y" junction between the Falls and the Japanese Shrine, then onwards to the grass hut which formed the entrance to the ravine. All in all, a four-kilometer uphill trek under the blazing sun.

By the time we got to the heart of the falls, the waters of the pool were simply too tempting to resist for my companions. They eagerly dived in. Old goat that I am, I resisted the urge, content to dip my bare feet into the shallow streamlets and simply listen to the roar of the water.

"My skin feels so soft," commented one of my friends roughly after we had gone back to the city. I shrugged it off as simple perceptual bias. Except, when I took off my shoes and socks some hours later, there was none of that usual sticky feeling. My feet, the only part of my body to dip into the waters, felt smooth and soft.

The following day, I asked my friends if they felt any body aches. I know I did, despite all my regular exercise. "Not at all!" was the common response, "in fact, we feel so refreshed." Another perceptual bias? Maybe, except for the fact that two of the girls I was with had never gone trekking that far before.

Perhaps it was just as well that I didn't swim in the pool, if only to serve as a control element in the impromptu experiment. Bears further investigation? Surely!

Now, I'm not easily given to mystical credulity so the first thing I did was to search for possible scientific explanations. Unfortunately, no one as yet seems to have written about Casaroro except as tourist destination. I'm simply left to make some conjectures.

In one of my trips to Malaysia, I travelled to a small town called Ipoh. Ipoh boasted the freshest vegetables, the smoothest noodles, and the fairest-skinned women -- and the locals attributed it all to their water. Ipoh water is said to have a high mineral content owing to the limestone deposits through which their supply flows. It's not such a stretch to hypothesize similar principles at work at Casaroro.

My curiosity would be mighty gratified if some proper chemists could undertake some experiments regarding Casaroro's water composition and how it might affect the human body, if it hasn't been done already.

Back to the original tangent: now that I've mentioned it, I wonder if there's going to be an upsurge in the number of trekkers to Casaroro? After all, it's these types of revelations that can spoil a site by the sheer volume of visitors. I'm hoping the 330-step descent provides an adequate deterrent.

Of course, if some greedy wise guys decide to put up a spa with cable car and dollar entrance fees, that would just spell ruin.