“What?! You’ll go to Luzon just to climb a mountain?!”
That was the initial reaction of my father upon asking permission for our trip to Batangas. I know. It’s outrageous. Though he knew my crazy plan of conquering ten mountains for this year, he wasn’t prepared for something as insane as the upcoming trip. I fairly understood him. Who on his right mind would allow his one and only (beautiful, gorgeous, intelligent HAHAHA :D :D :D) daughter go to a place he hasn’t set foot on and worse, go on climbing a mountain he hasn’t seen even in pictures. He neither agreed nor declined. I have been traveling for quite some time and he knew that when I want to do something, I’ll do all means to achieve it. I was the younger version of him – risk-taker, unstoppable, and crazy enough to think that anybody can conquer the world. But before I could give all the reasons on my long list for him to allow my journey, he asked something that somehow made me ponder.
“Why do you want to go to the mountains?”
Reflect. Life has become a little difficult the moment I started working. There are tons of workloads to finish, boss to satisfy with your work performance and other matters that are of less importance. I would just want to breathe, to take some time for nature and not just its by-products. To feel the wind drying up my sweat and to be embraced by the warmth of the stinging rays of the sun. To be present as of the moment. To witness God’s grace bestowed upon human beings. To be contented with what life has to give.
Find love. This does not necessarily mean finding that seemingly perfect guy. Love can be in the sweet exchange of smiles, friendly gestures of random strangers or simply the discovery of love among the natural resources around. Nature is romantic. It’s easy to weave the love story of the sun and the sea, the chase of moon and stars, and the sweet exchange of his and hellos of fellow travelers. It is discovering that amidst all the destructions that’s happening all around the world – poverty, war, racial discrimination, hunger, oppression, injustice, and the like – love still reigns in the heart of some people.
Get inspired. I grew up reading all the fairytale books my mom bought for me and watching anime series that taught me to be brutally crazy. HAHA. What I simply want to say is that, I love stories. I am even in love and left broken hearted by some book characters! And this is what makes every climb exciting. You get to meet a lot of people from different walks of life with different aspirations and stories to tell. It is in these meetings that I get a better picture of what really life is and that there are far more people who share the same sentiments or experience worse than I do.
Meet friends. I don’t have a lot of friends. I am not a people pleaser; neither do I force myself to get inside a circle where I feel that my presence is unwelcomed. However, traveling taught me that sometimes it’s good to have somebody to share your stories with and get crazy with. Because of travels I have come to meet a lot of individuals and learn a lot from them.
Learn lessons. The mountains can teach us a lot of things and climbing them opens our eyes on the reason why do we need to protect them. Climbing mountains made me realize a lot of things that I will never learn no matter how many books I’ll read and how many courses or degree I’ll achieve. It makes you see with clearer eyes the grace of God to human beings that has been long neglected. You will realize why mountain climbers and divers are the best people to talk when it comes to the Principles of Leave No Trace, environmental degradation, and climate change – for they see with their eyes the effects of human greed.
My dad looked at me intently. He didn’t agree with most of what I explained to him but his disposition told me that I have his blessing. I’m old enough. I need to face my own challenges, follow my dreams, and be the captain of my ship. But the most important thing that I should always need to keep in mind is his constant reminder to us, his children: Fix your own mess and come back safe.
Mt. Maculot Itinerary:
Day 1 – Fly from Cebu to Manila
3:00am – taxi to Buendia Bus Station
4:00am – ETD to Cuenca Batangas
5:00am – ETA Cuenca Batangas
5:00 – 7:00am – Breakfast/ Meet-up with fellow travelers
8:00am – Registration
9:00am – Start of trek
11:00am – Campsite/ Rockies
12:00pm – Backtrail
2:00pm – Late Lunch
P800.00 – whole trip (excluding airfare)