SPiMC1999
 
Bakit ba kami umaakyat? Bakit ba kami nagpapakapagod na bumyahe ng pagkalayu-layo para lang sa sakit ng katawan? Bakit ba kami gumagastos para kinabukasan ay mahirapang pumasok sa opisina? Bakit nga ba?

Minsan sa gitna ng init ng araw at kawalang ng magpapaginhawang hangin, naiisip namin ang iba pang mga magagawa sa buhay; ibang bagay ng pwedeng paggugulan ng oras. Minsan sa haba ng iniaakyat o nilalakad, tumitigil nalang at nagiisip kung itutuloy pa ba o bababa nalang.

Unti unting naiibsan ang hirap kapag nagpapahinga sa gitna ng damuhan o kakahuyan at nakikipagkwentuhan sa mga kasama. Marami kang malalaman sa mga kasama mo na sa bundok mo lang makikita. Pero minsan, kahit anung pagpapasaya ng mga kasama mo ay pagod ka parin at pinagninilaynilay kung babaguhin nalang ang isip at maghahanap nalang ng ibang pagkakaabalahan sa susunod. 

Ngunit lahat ng mga agam-agam na ito ay napapawi kapag nakita na and nasa taas ng bundok; mga tanawing hindi mapapantayan ng kahit anung postcard o litrato. Kahit anung kwento ay hindi maipipinta ang ganda ng paligid. Sa dami ng mga lugar na aming napuntahan, sa dami ng mga hirap at tuwa na aming naranasan, mahirap isipin na may igaganda pa. Pero ika nga nila, “it just gets better and better!” 

Sa unang dalawang akyat ng SPiMC ngayong taon, binalikan namin ang mga lugar na dati na naming napuntahan. Nagsama kami ng mga baguhan at mga hindi pa nakakarating duon. Kahit na napuntahan na naming ang lugar na iyon, masasabi parin namin na marami kaming nakitang bago. Nagbabago ang bawat bundok sa bawat bisita namin. May nagiiba. At ang nadatnan naming sa Maculot at GB ay sadyang hindi malilimutan. Ang pagkaasul ng dagat na kitangkita mula sa tuktok at Rockies, and liwanag ng araw na napapalitan ng milyung-milyong bitwin sa gabi, ang linis ng hanging pagkalamig-lamig, yan ang hindi kayang makalimutan. 

Bukod sa kalikasang nagpapakita ng ganda ng mundo, iba rin ang pakiramdam ng may mga kasamang talagang nanjan sa hirap at ginhawa. Pag may nahihirapan,  pasapasa ng gamit para maiakyat lahat. Pag may nasaktan, todo alalay ang iba. Pag may nalimutan ang isa, maraming pwedeng magbigay o magpahiram. 

Sa bundok natin natalaga makikita ang tunay na ugali ng tao. Pag nagdadaan sa hirap, jan lumalabas ang tunay na pagkatao. Sa pagakyat namin sa iba’t-ibang lugar, marami kaming natutunan tungkol sa ibang tao at sa aming mga sarili. Hindi biro ang umakyat, kailangang magsimula muna sa madali para masanay ang katawan at mahasa para sa mag mahirap na bundok. Pero sa bawat bundok na aming natatahak, unti unti naming nakikita kung gaano kaganda ang mundo at gaano katibay ang aming pagsasama bilang isang grupo. 

Ang pagakyat ay hindi para sa lahat. Pero paanu mo malalaman kung hindi mo susubukan? Tara na! Subukan nating puntahan ang mga lugar na sadyang natatangi ang ganda! Kahit magisa ka lang, ok lang. Kasi dito sa SPiMC, walang OP. Lahat ay kaibigan! 
 
 
Someone once said that "there is nothing to fear but fear itself."
I climbed up an almost 90-degree wall and couldn't look down. Going up is not a problem. Going down is! Upon reaching the top, I went straight to the center of the peak. There was about a meter space between me and the edge. It was a windy place. My second time there. My heart was pounding so hard. My fear of heights started to ruin the fun for others. I was constantly reminding people to stop going to the edge to have their pictures taken. But my reminders fell on deaf ears. It was their second time in 24 hours to be up that spot. The day before, they already summitted the rockies.
Back in the office, I looked at the pictures and couldn't help feel a tinge of envy. Most had pictures of themselves in dangerous but utterly beautiful spots, the setting sun behind them with the dark waters of Laguna Lake down below. The pictures were truly amazing! But alas, I was not brave enough to have my pictures taken in those spots. The best I could muster was go down the other edge halfway.
It is truly weird for a mountaineer to be afraid of heights, but that is the reality for me! :( I am slowly getting over it. I believe I have gone a long way but there is much to see beyond the middle of the peak. There is much to appreciate at the edge of the summit!
 
 
I had a not so exciting life back then in SPI, used to work as a records processing asst. for HR. My daily routine was work from 6am to 2pm – 1st shift, then work extra hours after 2 pm until late evening, then go home, sleep and wake up the next morning to do the same thing again. The only fun and excitement I would have in our daily office life was during break times at the canteen spent with my friends/colleagues in HR. I did not have any social life out of the HR circle as interactions with other employees would be only during times when they would approach me on certain requests regarding their benefits and employee status concerns…until one uneventful day, one colleague mentioned that she’s joined a group of employees in Pre-press dept, that they had a great time, experiencing the outdoors and mountaineering. They we’re recruiting new members back then, being so bored with the monotonous routine, I signed-up with my best friend, who was the HR director’s secretary that time.

The first time we we’re introduced with the head of the group and members for our orientation, I had no idea that my life was going to change big-time! We were so excited for the first climb to Mt. Romelo in Laguna the 21st October 2000. 

We were all prepared in every aspect that we we’re told to prepare for during the pre-climb orientation…well I thought I was, but then there was one thing I was not  prepared for, which was the unexpected and it has brought about one of the most beautiful and most significant change in my life.

The first climb for me was the greatest of all the climbs I have joined, amidst the struggle we had climbing such a muddy trail, it did not break our spirits, for the first time I was doing something exciting. What an extraordinary experience, got to know great people who became very special friends, almost like brothers and sisters to me, who up to now are still the best of friends I ever had, wherever they may be now, even the great distance can’t alter the friendship we all share.

Amazing how your life can change. Some may call it fate but I see it more as my destiny. After almost a decade of climbing mountains, appreciating nature’s beauty and living the life of a true mountaineer, we are now blessed with 2 nature loving “offsprings”, Daniel and DJ. Daniel has started mountaineering when he was 2y/o and has summited Mt. Pulag at the age of 5 while DJ will be making his first climb soon. 

I may not be climbing mountains where I am now but the heart of a mountaineer is within me and memories of those times will forever be cherished and remembered always!

My name is Lily Reyes-Macayan, batch Alpha, employee number AH09 and this is my story as an SPI mountaineer.
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Hi, I am Rogelio Bohol Ramos just call me "Sir Roger" this is new global expression ha ha ha...anyway I am 51 years old, born in Pasay City, Manila..  
First of all....Hindi ko akalain na mapasama ako dito sa activities ng SPIMC Mountaineering...I know it has been a long time ago... marami na sa akin nag-invite na sumali dito, I said no...kasi natatakot ako, at ayaw ko maki-share sa tent at nahihiya ako kasi, malakas ako maghilik ha ha, eh nakaka awa naman ang makakasama ko...at wala pa ako gamit para sa mountaineering....at wala rin experience it is first time....pero noong bata pa ako sa province namin sa Leyte, ang mga relatives ko doon ay may malapit sila sa bundok, lagi ako isinama sa pag-akyat kumuha ng Kamoting kahoy, para gawin suman at iba pa. kaya sanay ako sa mahirap na tao, kahit ano ulam inia-ahin sa amin kinakain, parang dito sa mga mahirap sa maynila, kaya nadama ko, pero sumasama ako sa tree planting doon sa Quezon city...hangang doon lang, kahit may naka post sa bulletin, deadma lang ako, but I am proud of them nakarating sila  sa mga matataas na bundok...  
Last April 3,4,5, 2009 I don't know na, nagdecide akong sumama, lahat ng friend ko dito nagtatanong kung bakit ndi ako sumama, masaya daw yun, ang sabi ko wala ako sarili tent at nakahiyang sumama sa kanila...I said pag-isipan ko...aba at that time may dumating na email about sagada-banaue SPI Mountaineering, parang gusto ko sumama, at the next day...si Earl nag-fill up ng form, Tinanong ko sya ano yan, form para sa Sagada-Banaue sabi hindi mahirap umakyat? pati sa pagtulog, sabi ni earl hindi marami sumama, I said, sige sama ako, 'di fill up ako ng form din I paid...tapos na balitaan nila na kasama ako, di lalo sila natuwa, pati ako kasi kasama sila Dang, Osang...sa isip ko ok ito pareho kami malalaki katawan ha ha ha mga kasama ko, pati pagnapagud nakapahinga rin ako ha ha ha ha at pag maiwan man ako at list my kasama ako he he he...   Before that, we have a meeting si Ms. Pia, So attend ako, pasalamat ako by grouping, at sabi bahala na sila kung gusto nila ako maging kasama sa group, kasi this is my first time wala pa experience nito...so excited na ako nag-isip ako ano kaya madadala, mga pagkain pa, ok lang kahit biscuit or others....ako ay napunta sa group nila Ms. Osang...alam mo ang sarap na ganito, at list nakilala mo sila, sa mukha kilala mo, pero sa name hindi, at ako naman natuwa din, kasi makikita mo ang ibang ibang ugali ng tao, my Bad at Good person...most important attitude or makisama, dito ay pantay wala mayaman or mahirap, kung ano man ang nandya dapat sharing, doon mo makita ang unity,   Anyway...ang saya ko sa experience sa Banaue doon sa Rice terraces, ang ganda ng view, tapos ang sarap at hirap equal, alam mo bakit? una sa pagbaba ang bilis puntahan ganda ng view at nakita mo sa actual, hindi lang sa TV or advertise...2nd yung hirap pagbalik kasi po uma-akyat ka pataas, kaya ang ginawa ko dahan dahan lang, hangang nakarating sa taas, may kasabay ako si Ms. Osang dalawa kami ang winner kasi na huli ng dating ha ha ha ha...   Sagada naman....super successful at " I survived"... Unang tour sa mga kabaong or cementery...medyo work up yun...ok...pero sa Sagada Cave, alam ninyo ang feeling ko ay Takot at saya, kaya parati ako nag pray na walang masamang mangyari sa group pati sa ibang groups...lahat ay ligtas at matapos ang saya...pero noong pababa na kami, ako sumusunod lang sa sasabihin ni Ms. Osang, ako ang inaalay nila, di sunod lang ako, pero nanginig na ang tuhod ko...pero sa pagdating sa baba, nakita ko na ang bato sa Postcard or picture nila...ang sarap ng lamig, habang kami nag-picture picture, kahit sa sobrang ginaw...lalo na sa pababa doon sa isang baitang, ang galing ng guide, ang lakas kahit tuhod lang ang tibay sa pagamit nya ng hagdan pababa, pero sila Sir Balan uma-lalay, pati kaming lahat....at nagulat ako mayroon pala pababa akala ko wala na, nagkasya ako sa small hole, pero sila Ms. Osang and Ms. Dang mona pagnagkasya sila.. 'di kasya rin ako ha ha ha...lahat kami dahan dahan lang sumusunod lang kami sa utos ng guidlady si precious, hangang nakarating kami sa hanging cave, noong nakita ko parang natakot ako...nag-isip ako tumuloy ba or hindi, paghindi ako tumuloy di ako lang babalik, parang nakahiya ha ha ha...di prayer ako, na wala sa amin mahulog, pag mayroon man bahala na amg Dios..pag ako nahulog naku hindi panaman marunong masyado, ok go go go, nakita namin si Dang, doon sya nahulog sa small hole, ok, tapos si Precious ok good...tapos Ms. Osang...sa gitna na out balance plok!!! nahulog si Ms. Osang... sigawan ang lahat kami, talon agad ang guide...mamaya lumutang na si Ms. Osang she is ok...sigaw kami "Thanks God" she is ok...tapos ako na next, but so easy to go there, kasi the new guide taught me kung saan ako aapak, hangang sa baba, nakahinga ako ng malaki...at pasalamat sa Dios...   Ito naman the next trail paakyat, tao lang umabot ng kamay sa akin munti na ako mahulog, lakas loob ako kumapit sa bato, sabi mama' help, lumapit agad ang mama', sa tali naman, so easy lang kasi sila jay at iba pa nandoon...medyo easy kunti ako naka-akyat...sa paglabas, ang mga kasama sa group sa mukha nila puro saya, dahil success, at lalo na kami talaga success kasi may nahulog ha ha ha...joke lang...Thanks God everyone fine wala nasaktan gaano...wala accident until sa pagbalik namin sa Maynila. When I meet at the SPi Office everyone happy...When I see him/her all smiling, and kwentuhan sa bawat isa sa mga experience nila...lahat sinabi masaya ang saya saya...   Ms. Pia "Congratulations" and all SPIMC members for the great activity! :)
 
 
Mt Batulao
 I am excited also to go to Mt. Batulao, so I arrived at chowking on Taft avenue (the meeting place) early. After almost an hour I waiting for there, we were finally complete so we went straight to the bus terminal. We were going to ride a bus go to nasogbu, Batangas. Bumaba kami sa Everett's ba yun? After eating, we started to walk, nakahiya nga kay Mark, and Ms. Pia, kasi parang gusto ata magtrycicle, kaya lang ako naman gusto maglakad, so that they walked with me, ops akala ko malapit lang, paanan na agad ng bundok, pero ok sa akin, hindi ako gaano napagud, feeling ko nasa condisyon ako, kaya ang saya namin habang kami naglalakad, hindi ko pinansin ang layu, medyo may pahinga naman...grabe ang hirap, kahit hindi gaano katirikk and araw, grabe naman ang taas, hangang sa nakarating kami sa Camp 8, so beautiful. The view and the camp were so beautiful. After 1 hr of rest, mamaya nagyaya si Mark di sumama kami, mag-akyat sa dulo or summit. Grabe ok lang pagtingnan parang hindi mahirap, naku nandoon na kami sa bundok, hirap na hirap ako pagud na, every 10 step rest ako, si Aris ang sumusunod sa akin, baka ako mahulog, grabe ang bangin dinadaanan namin, hangang nakarating na sa top. Ang ganda ng view, kitang ang mga tanawin, lalo na Batangas City, pati ang pier. Ang ganda ng view, naku ito na babalik na kami, sa pababa na ako, opss sumakit ang tuhod ko at binti...'di dahan dahan akong bumaba, tapos si Aris umaalalay sa akin, parati sinasabi ni Aris malapit na.. kunti na lang, pati baywang ko sumakit na, hangang nakarating na kami doon...tapos binigyan ako ng gamot ni Mark...tumigas na ang binti ko...hangang nakakain na kami pahinga muna din bumili kami ng tubig. Pumunta kami sa ibang group taga healtcare, medyo sa taas sila nagcamp, hindi kami nagtagal at bumalik na kami sa tent, maaga ako nagising....sa pagbalik namin, umuna na ako pero sumasakit parin binti ko, pagpantay ang lupa hindi sya sumasakit, hangang nakarating na sa sakayan ng tricycle. sumakay kami, naka miss ang mga bata na tagabuhat ng mga dala namin.. ang babait nila..tapos dumaan kami sa tagaytay doon kami naglunch tapos nagsight seeing, tapos uwi na kami papunta ng terminal ng bus pabalik sa manila. ang saya namin kahit 7 lang kami...   "Congratulation" to all for another successful climb...
 
 

The weather was great, not too sunny, but it did not seem like it would rain. We left Manila quite late but the travel was smooth and quick. We were at the Evercrest Golf Course before 12nn. We ate lunch, stretched a bit then started our trip up the cool Mt. Batulao. We had a few kids helping us out as we gradually ascended the slopes of Batulao.

A few minutes into the climb, I got into an accident. I was walking a bit fast and tripped on a big rock. It did not move, held it's ground and instead, pulled me down to the ground. My whole body crashed and my right knee hit another rock. Blood started to form on my skin as my knee began to swell. This all happened as two horses walked behind me. Fearing they would walk over me, I, with some help, moved to the side of the path under the hot sun. My knee started to swell out of proportion. First aid was given, but I refused to let this stop me. I climbed still all the way up to the camp site. Though it took us a lot longer than planned, I still got to the camp site.

The rest of the climbers went up the peak as I stayed at camp, cooking and preparing for the climbers arrival. Good thing this wasn't my first time at Batulao. I had already reached the peak before. Being left behind wasn't a big deal to me. The next day, the bigger task of descending faced me. My knee had swelled a bit more and my wound was beginning to water. The bandage was sticking to my skin, making it really hard and painful to change. A few minutes into the descent, I agreed to ride a horse instead. Our porters' father had a horse who patiently brought me down the sometime steep slope. My fear level was beyond 100% while up behind the horse's back. The sometimes steep slopes made me hold tighter and pray harder.

We all thought it was a perfect climb until that very moment.  It still was a perfect climb... As my emergency physician has said, "just PRICE it...Protect, Rest, ICE.. and you'll be back to climbing in 2 weeks. Just take it slow."

For two days I was scared of going to the hospital, fearing what I would be told. But as with all things, prayer helps... Before climbing, make it a habit to ask Him for protection.

As with all experiences, lesson learned.

 
 

by Gideon Lasco

This annotated checklist, I hope, will help everyone planning a climb.

CAMPING + CLOTHING
For overnight climbs, a 40L backpack will do while multi-day trips may require larger packs; make sure to have a raincover with you to protect your pack from rain. Bring tents that would be exact for each group. Don't forget the pegs that would protect your tent from being collapsed or blown away by wind and the flysheet that will protect your tent from being rained down. A sleeping bag is not a necessity especially when the planned campsite is predictably flat; some tents may have a built-in groundsheet but bringing one is always recommended. An earthpad serves a dual purpose of scaffolding the items in your pack and providing insulation at night.

Sets of clothes: 1 set going up, 1 set in camp, 1 set going down: but actually you can just bring two sets, one going up, and the other at camp you can wear going down; just add a pajama or sweater for the camp itself if it will be cold. For multi-day, rainy climbs, you can have two sets: the wet set during climbing and dry set during camping.

Waterproofing. It is best to make sure everything, especially clothes, are protected from rain. You do not need fancy waterproof packs to achieve this; simply putting your clothes inside plastic bags can serve the purpose. However, items that are waterproof are always cool and useful; look for GORE-TEX fabric in clothes, jackets, and shoes as a mark of waterproofing. Otherwise, make you sure you bring a poncho or raincoat to protect your body in case of rain. Also, choose clothes that easily dry and does not get get heavy with rain. This is the reason why jeans are a no-no!

Cold protection. You can either go for quanity (many layers of clothes) or quality (just a few with the right fabrics and sufficient protection). Not all good fabrics vs. the cold are good against rain, however, such as jackets with goose feathers or those thick ones for winter. So in the setting of cold weather, it is best to have warm insides and a waterproof outside (a Gore-Tex jacket) to keep everything dry. Body warmers such as bonnets, gloves, socks, and thermal underwear are good items. Since tolerance to cold vary from person to person, only experience can definitively tell you how many layers you should bring for a Pulag climb. Three to four is enough on the average, though.

Thin, long-sleeved shirts or rashguards would also serve the purpose of protecting the skin vs. thorns and insects and they are worn with shirts in the same way that leggings are worn with shorts. They have the added benefit of some protection vs. the sun, although wearing sunblock (SPF > 30) is still recommended in exposed trails.

Other items you can bring is a pair of sunglasses/shades to shield your eyes from the intense sunlight at high elevations and a trekking pole (sometimes two) to assist you in steep trails. A trekking pole may not have a purpose at the start, but it could be a precious tool when you get a sprain.

THE CHECKLIST
Backpack / raincover
Tent / groundsheet / earthpad
Sleeping bag*
Hiking shoes / plus optional slippers/sandals
Trekking pants/light pants
Thermal/cotton/wool undershirt
Long sleeved trekking shirt
Sweater
Windbreaker/Jacket
Poncho / raincoat
Extra shirts
Gloves/bonnet/thick socks
Bush hat / cap
Trekking pole*

DRINKING + EATING + COOKING
Water. When bringing water, take the presence and interval of water sources as a guide on how much to bring. In general, 1 liter can last for two hours on mild to moderate sunlight on mild to moderate trails. So if the average interval of water sources for each climb is four hours, it is best to have at least 2-3L water in addition to what you will need in camp for cooking. A cool item is of course the hydration pack (sometimes referred to as a bladder) which can store water inside your pack; you can just sip it from a valve.

Trail food. It is entirely up to you what kind of trail food you want to bring. Personally, I always bring a mix of dried fruits (dried mangoes, raisins); energy bars (chocolate, oatmeal bars); the traditional gelatin (i.e. JellyAce -- but I love those with fruit bits or nata inside); and candies. Don't forget to keep track of your wrappers! Some climbers prepare their own trail food by filling Ziplocks with ChocNut, bits of Oreo and M&Ms, plus gummy bears, for their personal snack. Don't buy low-calorie stuff, though - you need the energy!

Meals. It has been mountaineering tradition to cook in camp - i.e. buy meat from the local market, rice, etcetera. However, don't feel embarrassed if you will resort to canned goods. The important thing is leaving nothing at the campsite, especially those tin cans. Cooking rice up in the mountains is just like doing it in town, but water boils faster in high altitudes so make adjustments. Pasta - or sotanghon - is advocated by some as an easier alternative to rice. Oil of course is very important and personally I always want something to spice things up like peppers or chili powder.

Stove. A majority of portable stoves in the Philippines are still butane-based although there is an emerging number of multi-fuel ones. Make sure you have enough fuel for the climb; one butane cylinder usually lasts for 1-2 meals. I usually bring 1 cylinder for each night, plus an extra. As for the stove, of course you have to bring one. Setting up a fire for cooking in campsites is not a recommended practice. Bring a ligher or matches just in case the igniter of your stove conks out.

Cooking and eating utensils. Your cooking utensils can double as your eating utensils. The higher-end ones are made of titanium although the classic Kovea cooker set is a very good deal. Bring spoons/forks/knives; they can all be combined in a camping Swiss knife so learn how to economize on space and items.

After meals. If water is limited, the utensils may be cleaned by a wet tissue/towel with alcohol. Don't leave utensils with food lest you attract mountain rats and other guests. If there is a water source, do your cleaning downstream so as not to contaminate the source.

THE CHECKLIST
2-3L water or liquids / hydration pack or water bottles
Trail food: could be energy bars, nuts, dried fruits
Rice / precooked/uncooked meat/
Noodles / instant coffee
Oil / garlic / pepper
Portable stove and fuel
COoking/eating utensils
Spoon/fork/knife/can opener
Lighter /matches
Garbage bags/Ziplocks

TOILETRIES
Needless to say, you have to mind your personal needs even when in the mountains. First on the checklist is a trowel (though one per group will do) which you will use to dig a hole for your waste; the rest are quite self-explanatory. You may not need these during the climb itself, but at the jumpoff, a postclimb shower may be a good reward -- and something you need to sleep all the more soundly on the bus back home.

THE CHECKLIST
Trowel /tissue paper
Soap/ Shampoo
Toothbrush / toothpaste
Alcohol
Mirror

GADGETRY
This is like a PC game in real life - you can actually use cool gadgets in real life as you climb. Of course, the most basic ones are a flashlight or headlamp (go for long battery life) and a camera. Virtually everybody has a digital camera by now and of course outdoor photography is best served by a dSLR. Navigation and expedition people, on the other hand, bring GPS / altimeter watches: these are vital on explorations. Otherwise, a compass is basic. In all these, don't forget to bring extra batteries because cold temperatures drain batteries. And, if it rains, make sure you have a waterproof solution.

THE CHECKLIST
Flashlight / headlamps
Camera / binoculars
Cellphone / Two-way radios
GPS / altimeter watches
Compass / Topographic maps
Extra batteries / memory

PROTECTION + EMERGENCY
I always bring a notebook with me and a pen to document the climb; but it can also be handy in emergencies. You can use ribbons to mark your path on an uncharted trail, and a whistle will spare you from the need to shout at the top of your voice. A utility rope is not really advised in most mountains, but a first aid kit is very important. If you have an existing condition like asthma, never ever forget your personal medications! And when somebody finds you unconscious, make sure a contact number can be found somewhere.

CHECKLIST
Ballpen / paper/ ribbons / whistle
Lighter /matches
Insect repellant / Sunscreen or sunblock (>SPF 30)
First aid kit / Personal medications
Utility rope*
ID with emergency phone numbers

 
BMC 1&2 05/16/2009
 

Why is it essential to take a BMC Course? Can't we just learn everything through experience just like most of the others have?

Well, it is good to learn by experience. They say learnings from experience stick more. But no one ever goes through all the necessary experiences that will fully prepare one for the uncertainties of the outdoors. It is alwasy good to gain other perspectives and best practices from seasoned and experienced climbers.

The SPi Mountaineering Club has not had any close encountered with severe harm because of careful planning and a lot of practice. Though we are still continuing to develop and be better, we know that we have experience and prayer on our side.

 
 

It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves
-Sir Edmund Hillary

Enough sleep, they say, is needed before a climb. You need the energy. I just realized a few minutes into the “fun” climb that I should have forced myself to sleep the night before, but how could I, the overflowing excitement in every inch of my body wouldn’t allow such sweet sleep.

I’ve been planning on conquering a mountain since my brother bought his first tent (that has been ages ago). I was intrigued by his dirty climbing shoes, his long hair and the unmistakable stench of his laundry (dried sweat and dirt embedded in every thread) when he would come home after a climb. My sisters and I dubbed his look the “ermitanyo” look, with a giant mountain pack at his back, a walking stick, his fatigue style clothing and his long unruly hair. I wanted to be a physically active person too, to do some things that my small built and weak knees would allow. I started small by trying out simple physical activities like mini-olympics and swimming classes, then went on to try wall climbing, rappelling and knee boarding. It has been all fun! But these are all simple activities. Nothing that would take long. So when I saw a teaser for the next climb of the mountaineering club, I had to join! I was the only one from the SPi support group who braved the climb. Thought they say that the activity was just a “fun” climb, I didn’t care less.

Buntot Palos  doesn’t seem like such a high climb from the bottom of our path. That is just from the bottom of the path but the path is winding and the hard reality struck me a few meters up. Climbing is not an easy thing. I’ve sweat more in the few minutes of climbing then I have ever had in my entire life. I should not have worn jeans and new shoes. I should have brought only the  bare necessities and left my extra shirts.  I should have brought more water. I could rant on and on but at the end of the day, all the bruises were well worth it!

It was the breathtaking sight of the fields down below that made me forget about my cramping legs and the hot sweat coming out of my pores. The trek up then down to the hidden waterfalls, watching the log-bearing Horses and Carabaos and eating those sumptuous meals are the things that I will never forget. It’s amazing how things so beautiful can be kept alive by nature. If pictures could keep the hidden water falls in pristine condition, I would have filled my phone with photos of the rainbow across the falls, the surrounding walls of trees and the other wonderful sights. There are so many things that I would gladly have done again. Among them are sitting far from the ledge onto a raging river, falling into the water (when I made a promise never to get my shirt wet), swimming across a small lake and taking a bath under a falls, walking through a half-foot wide path with a canal at one side and the deep falls on the other (that took some time and self persuasion to achieve). The many pictures that we took of the place will forever be stored in my phone and in my heart. 

I do not know what makes people want to climb mountains but for me, it’s not just the thrill of facing danger on uneven and dangerously angled paths or learning how to do butt-breaks and relying on a walking stick to keep balance. The terrain might be hard and unforgiving for a beginner like me, but every step of the way is an experience worth cherishing and reliving. One day I will be able to compare mountains and paths and elevations and one day I will be able to really say that I am a mountaineer.

Buntot Palos is my first climb. It will forever be etched in my heart and mind as the first time I  conquered a height. I have a list of things to do before I become too old to do anything and now one of them is climbing more mountains, the higher and more mysterious the better. I have not just conquered a mountain but I am now slowly overcoming my fear of heights. With that, I’m now dreaming of the next summit I can conquer.

 
First Post! 05/12/2009
 
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