What is Christmas at this point of your life?

Babag, Cebu City
Being fast has its own advantage, but the satisfaction it brings also vanishes into thin air proportional to its speed.

I should have posted this on or before Christmas. I should have pressed my brain juices to come up with something special for this holiday season. Come to think of it, I have been doing nothing productive this vacation. But I choose not to. I opted to wait until my mind is clear for this year taught me a rather peculiar lesson – to slow down. Being fast has its own advantage, but the satisfaction it brings also vanishes into thin air proportional to its speed. This… is the Christmas message I received this year.

One of the many towers found on Babag Range (c) Dakilanglaagan

Contrary to the previous years, no yearend trips were scheduled despite the half a month long vacation this time. For no apparent reason, going somewhere and experiencing the discomfort of being on an unfamiliar territory no longer makes sense to me. Major hikes no longer entice me, camping no longer excites me. But fate played a rather life changing game this time. Debby bugged me for a weekend hike. I saw Sir Jude’s post on a Thanksgiving hike to Babag. And as if a coherently-woven chapters of a story, I found myself hiking one of my favorite trails once again.

Having been acquainted with the locals of Babag after years of hiking the area, Sir Jude initiated a thanksgiving hike by giving a little something to the locals who have been very accommodating to all the hikers trailing there. Together with other volunteers, we hiked from Napo to Babag and gave packs of milk to the households along the way. Though each one carried four to six kilos of milk, such load didn’t weigh much even with the steep ascends thanks to the freshly picked buko shared by the locals, the fun interaction we had with other hikers whom we’ve met for the first time, and the astounding view bestowed upon us.

Thanksgiving at Babag
What’s inside that Columbia drybag? Goodies.
Mandatory photo before the fog covered everything

Compared to other mountains in Cebu, Babag Range does not have a cinematic summit view. Its thick vegetation provides ample shade but does not spare any hiker from the raging heat of the sun. However, on this visit, because of the low pressure area building in the Philippine Area of Responsibility, no sunray infiltrated and thick fog began to cloud as we reached higher elevations. Babag Range totally looked different!

The meaning of Christmas differs as you age – all but necessary and equally significant in your lifetime. (L-R – Sir Dodong and Sir Jude)

The meaning of Christmas differs as we age. To a kid, it would always mean receiving gifts and enjoying the parties. To a teenager, it’s about the giddy feeling of being greeted by someone deeply admired and enjoying parties with friends. To young adult, it’s about traveling on holidays and preparing a little something for the dear ones. And you know you’ve aged enough when you’re the one financing the gifts and celebrations – and sleep is what you badly want instead of parties. All of these are equally significant through our lifetime. And however you choose to you celebrate yours, I hope you found your own Christmas message this year.
I’m glad Debby bugged me.
I’m grateful that Sir Jude initiated such activity even if he’s not feeling well.
I’m happy to have encountered those locals and fellow outdoor friends.
Truly, every Christmas is different.
And each year brings its own silver lining.

Such a Merry Christmas, everyone!