The trails will introduce you to people you’ll never think you’d come across in your lifetime. This year, I was privileged to have met the legendary mambabatok of Kalinga, Apo Whang Od; the inspiring woman behind Girl Rising and P.S. I’m On My Way, Trisha Velarmino; phenomenal spoken poetry artist, Juan Miguel Severo; and some bloggers in the locale whom I have been long-fangirling with: Pinoy Apache, Chasing Potatoes, Jewel Clicks, Adrenaline Romance, Kara Santos of Traveling-Up, and many others.
But aside from those people whose impacts are known over the internet, I have also met seasoned hikers and trail runners whose love for adventure went beyond trails and spectacular views. While many of us have contented ourselves to embracing the wonderful experiences offered by nature, they’ve gone far ahead and extended their kindness and genuine concern to the mountains, most especially to its inhabitants.
Recap of Our Trip to Sambawan Island
During our visit to Biliran’s Sambawan Island, I was enthralled to meet a group of mountaineers who climbed Tres Marias the same day we did our canyoning activity at Sampao River and Ulan-ulan Falls. Back then, the idea of major climbs was something magical for me – a dream waiting to happen.
As if in perfect synchrony, we learned that they also hailed from Cebu and were friends with some of the people I know in the hiking community. They’ve introduced themselves as Sagoy – a familiar Visayan term that my mother used to call my brothers after getting messy from a whole day of playing and vagabonding around the neighborhood. In there case, they have fondly coined the term short for Saag nga Unggoy (Lost Monkeys).
Despite the short interaction (thank you for allowing me to invade your territory), social media allowed us to stay connected and learned more about each other’s niches.
WEEKEND WITH SAGOY
In between exchange of comments and chats, we were invited to join their scouting activity last November 13 in Calibasan, Toledo for their annual outreach program to be held on December 10. I was quite adamant to join because Glister and Idas have initially declined the invitation. But the group assured me that they’re fine to accommodate a piece of additional baggage (aka me).
As if becoming an extra baggage was not enough, I arrived late for our meetup at Cebu Bus Terminal. Ghad, Marjorie. We immediately embarked on a bus bound for Toledo City, and had a quick breakfast at Barangay Minos, before heading to the group’s destination: Calibasan. With us was the assigned coordinator and teacher of Calibasan Elementary School – where the outreach program will be held. Later did I found out that the very purpose of the scouting activity was to finalize the program and delegate tasks for the annual event. (Laag ragyud atong tuyo sa? HAHA)
Calibasan – derived from the Visayan term “libas” which means “herbs” – is a far-flung barangay located in the mountainous area of Toledo City, Cebu. It is neighbored by Balamban’s Transcentral Highway and city mountain ranges. The aforementioned school has a total population of less than a hundred with four teachers multi-grade teaching Grades 1 & 2, 3 & 4, and 5 & 6. These teachers have mastered the art of riding a horse in going to the school, as it is kilometers away from the highway and barely accessible by motorcycle upon this writing.
Though I have been frequently hiking the highlands of Cebu, going with them reminded me how noob I was. Note that most of them are trail runners, so imagine me with my worn out trek sandals (trek shoes were not a thing for me in this era), tailing behind the group, gasping for air, and complaining deep inside (HAHA). And it is in these moments that I realized what burden I have been – delaying the group and consuming most of their hiking resources.
But the thing is, Christmas dawned early on me. I never heard any of them complain about the delay; instead, they maximized their “waiting time” by playing basketball and taking numerous photographs of the beauty set before them. Moreover, having to witness them plan for the event allowed me to see boys transforming into grown and mature men, whose hearts are so kind and generous that the world can fit in. And I tell you, they are a thousand miles sensible compared to how I describe them here.
Indeed, Christmas is more than just giving financial aid and gifts to those who you think need them. It’s more than just joining an activity to take pictures and show the world how “generous” you are. In the end, the real essence of giving is not measured on the quantity of what has been given, but on the quality of what has been shared despite and in spite of.
To Sagoy Outdoor Club, my sincerest gratitude for the budol, trail run, and company you have given. It was worth pursuing even if I had to go alone with all of you guys. HAHA.
Special thanks to Koko for the invite and Chabz for sharing his talent and making the logo for this blog.
Share the love. Share your blessings. And have a blessed Christmas ‘ya all!