Mt. Pulag: a Blessing in Disguise

The mountain showed me something entirely different, something invincible yet so profound, something that took me time to realize…

It took me sometime to write this blog. I didn’t even know if I should write about it. Because if anything, my Mt. Pulag climb was a big disappointment. However, it dawned on me that the disappointment was self-inflicted, because I put too much expectations. What happened was I expected everything from what I’ve read and heard about Mt. Pulag: from the sea of clouds, astonishing sunrise to beautiful sceneries; all that was a no-show due to bad weather and almost zero visibility. 

Zero Visibility, Rain and Strong Wind

Rather, the mountain showed me something entirely different, something invincible yet so profound, something that took me time to realize… A lesson only the gods of Mt. Pulag can teach.

One step at a time

Now, this may seem cliche but Mt. Pulag didn’t allow me to see what was outside of me (the scenery, etc.), It wanted to let me see what was inside of myself. It was a wonderful realization:

-It made me see that I am still capable of loving, of giving love despite without returns. Not just of loving persons but of places, of events and of circumstances. It says be loving even if others are not, even if others will not, even if others cannot.

-It made me see that I am capable of doing things beyond what I thought was my limit. That I AM CAPABLE regardless of what other people may think.

-It made me see the good and bad side of people, that each has a story to tell and each has a unique upbringing, do not judge.

-It made me see the wrath of Nature – respect Nature. Respect begets Respect and lastly…

-It made me see what is truly important in our lives. It’s not our wealth, not our degrees or professions, not our associations with esteemed individuals nor even our archievements. What is truly important is our family and friends. And if your lucky enough that both you and your special someone found each other, keep that, that is important, not everyone is blessed with a lifetime partner.

Standing strong despite the cold

My realizations may seem out of the blue and totally unrelated to mountains but I did experience it; the mountain, or mother nature for that matter, did change my perspective for the better.

But no matter how grateful I am for this realization. I definitely STILL WANT to see that sea of clouds, astonishing sunrise and beautiful sceneries. So please Mt. Pulag let me see you next time. Be good to me. I’ll come visit you again. See you soon.
PS

We climbed Mt. Ulap the day after Mt. Pulag, its another story to tell 🙂

Meet the Gang :)….Photo credits: Ms. Norlyn Joy Escalicas

  

Alto Maldito

We shared our experiences of Mt. Aminduen over dinner, shared our laugther, shared our moments – we shared Life!

Maldito – a Spanish word for “cruel” – was how a friend of mine described the climb to Mt. Aminduen’s Summit – Alto Peak.  The mountain was indeed heartless and cruel but beneath that disguise lies a beauty that takes your breath away.

Our excursion began at the city of Ormoc, where we rented a monster multi-cab that took us to the jump-off area at the mountain Barangay of Cabingtan. A group of lively, entertaining and energetic local Tourism Officers greeted us with a very big “Mais” on their faces (Mais – a term used by the locals for smile 😊). And truly, I can say that the local barangay did a very good job at selecting their tourism officers – they were the best, they were fun people to be with. After an orientation of the mountain we were off on the trail.

We started on a gradual ascent on a mountain slope vegetable farm and then abruptly turned into an arduous continuous assault inside a fern-mossy forest. The trail was established although quite still untamed due to falling branches, toppled tree trunks and slippery rocks due to moisture from condensed air the night before. The almost unending assault finally ceased when we reached the shores of lake Janagdan, the sight was awe-inspiring. The locals mentioned that the lake was once a crater of an active volcano long time ago; and no doubt it once was, because the parameter of Mt. Aminduen is dotted with several geothermal plants, which only indicate that there is a strong geological activity happening inside the belly of the mountain.

We had our lunch by the lake, rested for about an hour and then started our trek towards the campsite. the trail became slightly less difficult and the view became more stunning. However, as with anything beautiful it has its price, the mountain collected its dues by way of injuring one of our female companions (Ms. Chai Navarro); she got her ankle sprained and it swelled really bad. Fortunately, our local guide (Kuya “ayuk” Danny) had contacts with the local rescue unit and they responded well and fast. The group, now less than one, decided to continue the hike to the campsite and rest for the night, in preparation for the big assault to the summit the following day.

 

The morning came fast, it was cold and gloomy but it was a sweet morning nonetheless. The smell of morning dews, the smell of breakfast and of the smell of adrenaline sweat made the new day something to really look forward to. The assault to the summit started off gradually and then eventually turned into one of the most challenging climb our group ever had. The terrain was steadily steep, loose soil and rocks falling; some sections require ropes to pass though and what made it even more exciting was that, we didn’t have any safety equipment but the improvised ropes that were prepared by the local guides. The terrain was indeed dangerous, one simple mistake could prove fatal but it was the perfect place to be at during that time, it was perilous but a mirthful experience to be in.

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After hours of climbing we reached Mt. Aminduen’s Summit – Alto Peak. Sadly, the mountain did not give us a clearing, there was almost zero visibility due to thick fog and rain was threatening to pour. But it was a rewarding feeling to be up there, it was more than enough to see the mountain’s forest, its fauna and its magic!

Going back down was a different challenge altogether, by the time we started to decent the rain was already pouring strongly, the mountain’s water ways was filling up. The mountain’s terrain was already slippery in normal conditions, so much more when its wet. Going down was twice the risk as going up and to make matters worse we were cold-drenched in the rain. But we managed to return back to the campsite alive and in one piece 😊

We camped our second night near lake Danao, there we met our injured companion, Ms. Chai. We shared our experiences of Mt. Aminduen over dinner, shared our laugther, shared our moments – we shared Life!

Cheers to Mt. Aminduen! till we meet again

 

Some of Mt. Aminduen’s Flora and Fauna:

Our Local Guide Kuya “ayuk” Danny and Ate Janneth

Meet the Gang #DimenEU

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