I’ve always wanted to climb a mountain. On December 2011, I posted a status message that I’d go mountain climbing once I get my job done to sh*t out the stress before entering the new year. Because my team mates are supportive, they wanted to join me. We made plans. We selected a mountain (Mt Maculot as the first option), then re-selected (Pico de Loro), and settled with a volcano instead of a mountain (Taal Crater). Like all elaborate plans, that trip never happened.
Two months later, Kris came to AMS and became a friend. What’s it gotta do with mountain climbing? A lot. She hikes as much as other girls party. She met her other half through common mountaineer friends. She can set up a tent, knows the best places to go to, first aid, and stuff. She breathes mountains.
On a regular day, thinking that she’s a mountain climber is quite impossible.
So while we were experiencing system downtime, we talked about her hobby. We ended up planning a hike up Mt Batulao the weekend after that. It’s all good and there’s no turning back! Ya-hey!
You know those stuff you used to see in TV about camping trips and life in the mountains? Some of them are true and some are not-so-true. Here I am to debunk some, based on what I have seen from the first mountain I’ve owned like a G6:
1. It’s possible to obtain cellphone signal on top of a mountain. Even access Wi-Fi!
2. Dora the explorer’s backpack is possible. Kris’s boyfriend, Jaycee has a backpack that spawns anything that you’ll ever need. Aside from the usual camper’s stuff, he’s got a kitchen, a tent, and an entertainment system inside!
3. You can’t not know anything and just say “Sorry, taga-bundok ako e”. They know better than us in some aspects.
4. There’s a store at the mountain’s summit!!! They’re selling–go on and guess–MOUNTAIN dew!!!
5. Sea Bears are avoidable if you stay in groups or inside your tent.
Thankfully, we’re Seabear-proof.
6. You can drink your own pee (a la Bear Grylls), but please avoid it at all costs.
7. You don’t really need a compass if ever you got lost. Just follow the horse poop and you’re on your way back home.
Going up a mountain to unwind from the harsh city is something I don’t regret. It restores pleasant vibes that the workplace robbed you of and reminds you how it good feels to be alive–as a living, breathing human being that you really are–more than just an 8-5 employee with no social life aside from Facebook.
Top stuff I loved:
1. The village locals. Before we started our hike, we passed by a residential area and the people that we come across say: “Ingat kayo!” (Take care!) and smile. Wishing others well is something that does not cost anyone anything, yet it is something that brings great joy. Sadly, it is also something that most of us have forgotten.
Here’s one of our well-wishers. He said “moo”, roughly translating to “ingat!”
2. Other campers. As we head off the new trail, we encountered campers on their way down. It’s like everyone knows everybody, it’s amazing! They face us with greetings, ask us questions (day hike?), and tell us to take care. Hikers are wonderful people.
3. Since everyone knows everyone, the people at the camp are in for a huge slumber party! People share food, lend each other stuff, drink all night, and share stories like they’ve known each other for so long. The people at the nearby tent shared their drink with us and we became friends. Going up a mountain to unwind is also a great way to meet new friends.
Kris and our new beki friend!
4. The food. We’re quite lucky that Jaycee enjoys cooking, which made us end up with superb gourmet meals instead of instant food. We had fried chicken, buttered baby potatoes and chinese cabbage for dinner (all freshly cooked, man!!) and toast, pizza omelette, and corned beef for breakfast. There’s been a little accident with the rice though, one of our mates Lean accidentally put gin instead of water as it boils. The result was drunken rice (not bad, but I’m not sure if someone got to eat it).
Breakfast like a sir!
5. The air. Fresh, cooool breeze gently touching your face!
My “Oh yes mahangin!” shot
6. The scenery. Just seeing the other mountains on the horizon is enough to break the monotony brought about by the tall city buildings.
Wash your face in the morning sun…
7. Tree branches and talahib grass. I never thought they’d be very useful.
8. Motivators. I’m too close to surrender our ascend to the summit, but my friends Jaycee and Nestor were too steady to agree. Even if it’s raining and we won’t really see anything up there, the rule is to never say never.
“See that? Just a few climbs and buttslides and we’re there…”
9. The dirt. I said that. I loved the dirt. I hugged dirt, lied in dirt, rolled in dirt, gripped dirt, and ate dirt (not as much as the people who follow me in the trail though), and I am still alive. It’s wonderful. I lost all remaining sosyal cell in my body.
10. The climb. I don’t like quoting Miley Freakin’ Cyrus but that’s what it’s really about. We reached the summit but did not see anything aside from mist, but the fact that you got up a mountain 800 meters above sea level is something that others do not readily achieve. It’s amazing. I can’t believe I’d be doing this but heck, I just did.
The Batulao Summit companions: Jaycee, Lean, Nestor, and Me
775~ meters above sea level. Eat that, ground-level people!
With how it brought me closer to the sky, Mt Batulao is definitely just the first of many mountains I’ll climb. 🙂