While most believed in the cliché that one must not judge a book by its cover; I, on the other hand, had taken this more specifically – thou shall not judge unless you went camping. The mountains have taught me a lot about life, but camping allowed me to get to know more about the people I hike with. In numerous occasions, I have seen how hunger, cold, fear, and anxiety during camping pressed people to show their real colors. I, too, have been guilty of this. But more than getting pissed with such range of emotions, somehow, these experiences forged camaraderie amongst many outdoorsmen. So even with its stakes, I still look forward for camping activities. Wanting to share these experiences, I urged my colleagues to go camping on one of the renowned camping sites near Cebu City – Mt. Naupa.
I know camping would be a great experience for them as it’d be the first time for the group to go camping; however, for someone who has been to the area for a number of times, it would somehow be a bore. In the words of Phil Kaye, when you repeat something over and over again, it would eventually lose its meaning. Good thing these companions are creative enough to come up with things that we can actually during our camping.
Chase sunrise and sunset
Nothing is as splendid as watching the sun going back to the waiting arms of the seas and seeing it rise the day after camping. Aside from the play of colors, it allows you to see that there’s still beauty in life even with all the crazy things that are happening around the world. It tells us that even worse days can end up so beautifully and that you can start anew on the days that follow.
Apply your culinary skills
With the growing number of fastfood chains around the city, cooking has become unnecessary these days. But when you are several altitudes away from 7/11, of course, you’d learn to befriend the cook set and burner. I’ve seen women practicing to perfection their rice recipe and men trying to win the hearts these girls through their mouth-watering adobo, tinolang manok, and nilagang baka. But more than anything else, nothing can beat an early breakfast meal, served with hot coffee whilst watching the fog thinning and the sun rising from the east.
Practice your Brandon Woelfel Skills
Okay. I’ll tell you a confession here: the real purpose of this camping is to take photographs with Ate Jing’s fairy lights. Having been swoon over with Brandon Woelfel’s IG photos, it’s difficult not to try them as well. So a plan to go camping has been conceptualized. But man, taking photos at night, with the absence of natural lighting, isn’t as easy as it seems! You have to seriously adjust a lot of stuff from the manual setting in order to avoid unnecessary flares but still make sure that the face of the subject can be captured. Good thing smartphones nowadays come with handy Ultra High Definition modes that set the tone and highlight of the subject. With the help of the glam team (they took turns in holding the lantern, arranging the fairy lights, directing the model, and fixing the hair), we were able to take the shots below which were then processed using Light Room.
Share life stories and get to know more your companions
Eventually, when we got tired of posing and taking photos, we then went back to the mat we strategically placed in the middle of the campsite to indulge in a tear-jerking life sharing activity. Joke. With the city lights in the background and the stars lighting the night, we began recounting the days when life was less complicated. We began to compare our childhood experiences and how the children of today were reared with technology – of how we enjoyed kite flying, playing hide and seek, and shouting siatong compared to DotA and Rules of Survival. Those good old days. I began to wonder how we would look back to this activity when… we’d be a little older.
Record Star trails
My best recollection of Mt. Naupa was when we decided to get out of our tent and sleep outside the tent. That was my first camping experience and the reason why I’d always look forward for more camping activities. The stars that night were so bright and so was the moon. But sometimes, no matter how much we wanted it… there are things we can never replay in real life. This time, the stars were still shining brightly, but all my companions were inside their tent, trying to feign sleep. So I decided to make the most of such opportunity to record the magnificence of the stars that night. Armed with a tripod, I’ve set my phone’s mode for star tracking. Sadly, long exposure shots take time. As I was just shooting outside my tent, I decided to lie down and do other things… errr… sleep. HAHA. I woke up almost an hour later and realized that I left my phone outside the tent! Good thing it’s still there and was able to record such beautiful movement of the stars in the night sky.
Ultimately, you’ll find more ways to enjoy every camping activity. And I guess no matter how many times I’ll visit Naupa, it will continue to surprise me with experiences that will help me understand more myself and other people. At the end of the day, outdoor activities will leave you with dirt on your feet, mess on your hair, sparkle on your eyes, and memories to keep forever. Treasure these moments for they will keep you sane amidst difficult days.
Everything is passing… thus, we have to enjoy its momentariness. See you on trails and make sure to keep the sanctity of the mountains as you camp. Avoid disturbing other campers with your noisy (and useless) late night chats and jeje music. Clean as you go. Enjoy!