Sep 23, 2017

Notes of a Female Solo Hiker

Back in the day, I was one of the lucky female hikers that were interviewed by a fellow hiker-blogger Adonis Lloren. Here are my answers to few of his interesting questions:

When was your first climb and where?
A co-worker invited me to join her in pursuing her mountaineering dream. I gladly obliged, and we did a research on her target mountain—Mt Maculot. With my naivete, I proposed that we climb Mt. Manabu for the sunrise, pass the idle afternoon trekking Gulugod Baboy (with visits to Lipa tourist spots), and finally spend the sunset hours in Mt. Maculot. I thought it was that easy even for a sedentary person like me.

As expected and out of excitement, I didn’t sleep early and woke up late. We ended up climbing only Mt. Maculot! Start trek was at 1500H, with little water (I’ve got less than 250ml), little food (3 garlic bread sticks, I was on a diet that time), no headlamps (my friend has a lipstick-size flashlight), no proper information, and we were two female trekkers with no mountain guide.

Up there, I witnessed the sunset for the first time, the tangerine-turning-crimson sun setting across the side of Taal Lake. At 1800H, we were set to making the descent when other campers discouraged us. They were so persistent in providing us with food and shelter that we decided to stay. Truth was we wanted to spend a little more time with the mountain. It was May 2007 and we were young and naive.

Nov 8, 2013

Undas 2013 Trip Summary

trip documentation can be tedious at times

Nothing quenches the thirst of a wanderlust soul better than a multi-day, out-of-town road (food) trip. The year 2013 witnessed a halt in my travel and outdoor life, and a few days of travel is like raindrops on hot and humid desert for me. I crave the airport scene, the plane rides, commute with the locals, the inquisitive looks and conversations and of course new food fares to explore.

Oct 20, 2013

Undas Trip 2013 and some updates

hope my trip will be as colorful

I haven't been as active as I was before in outdoor, online and offline. I'm still struggling to stabilize balance between work and recreation by focusing more time and resources with work and myself... which I have neglected for so long because of my love affair for the outdoor that almost consumed me.

Apr 20, 2013

My Less Than 15 Minute of Fame on National TV

Not to be presumptuous or anything, but while walking on the Roxas Boulevard sidewalks on my way home sometime middle of March, a "what-if" scenario entered my mind. What if some of my stories get media attention? What if I get exposure as the first Filipina climber to do the 7 summits? (Ok, that was over the top already lols).

You could imagine my surprise and suspicion when I received this message via my FB page, dated March 21:

After a few calls, text messages, correspondences, back ground checks (lelz!) and confirmation, I was finally set to do the interview at the GMA 7 office along EDSA. I was picked up by the GMA van at our office last March 26. With me were some of my mountaineering stuff and a laptop just in case they want to highlight my blogging stints.

We arrived at the office around 7pm, and I finally get to meet Ram Cheng and the rest of the camera crew. We were delayed by a few minutes because the building admin issued concurrent interview permits for the Mezzanine area. I was told that the ongoing interview was for Imbestigador on the ATM scams.

They set up the lights, and the camera rolled. Nervousness crept on me, an emotion I didn't feel a few minutes before the actual interview. This is my 2nd time on camera, first being an interview by Knowledge Power for PUP Quizzer's Circle  members during my college years.

Activity sequence for their segment was that they will interview me, then they will go to the site. Few days after Holyweek I was contacted again by Ram, asking for more photos. Then I was informed of the date and time it was going to be aired.

Being part of this segment gives me a glimpse of the effort that our comrades in media are exerting just to produce a video segment that's going to be aired for less than 3 minutes. Such dedication they have!

I am thankful to Ram and the rest of GMA 7 for letting me share one of my climb experiences. The interview clip aired may be too short, but I enjoyed retelling my story and sharing my thoughts with them behind the scenes.

Disclaimer: I allowed myself to get exposed on national television for my mother. So that she can see me on TV and have some conversation piece with our relatives. Lols.

PS: I watched it once, shuddered, and promised myself not to watch it again.

Dec 1, 2012

Mt. Isarog Chronicles #1: Wrong Turn

Shivering and feebly coherent... I heard him say:

"Napanuod mo na yung Wrong Turn? Grabe yun no..."

I could hear the chill in his voice, and I can hear them in mine too as I answered back:

"Oo, napanuod ko na"

He continued: "Ilan kayong magkakapatid?"

I despised his confidence in that particular question. I hate being asked brutally about things I don't want to answer. Despite, I said "Bakit mo gustong malaman?"

"Wala lang... kasi ako, me kapatid ako. Namatay siya, nasabugan ng granada. Hinostage nya kasi yung family namin, tapos nagpakamatay cia. Tatay ko rin wala na, nasagasaan ng truck. Parang basketbol nga na walang hangin yung pagkakapisa sa ulo, flat talaga."

I fell silent, I could hear his laboured breathing behind my neck. This must be the thoughts of a person dying. His memories flashing right before his eyes. I panicked, and tried to talk to him to keep him awake. I myself is having a hard time staying awake... staying sane... and staying alive. I have read about this before, I said to myself. I need to keep us both awake, or we'll never wake up again. Ever.

Jul 21, 2012

Bundokera Notes: Mountain Dreams

Mountains have certain unique ways of reaching out to climbers. It could take the form of dreams, visions, or signs. Sometime in 2010, I have documented 4 dreams (there were more, but not transcribed) involving mountains in a span of 8 days.  Below were 4 original/unedited entries that I have posted in my Multiply blog.

Dead snake on Mt. Talamitam

#1: Snakes and the Mountains

Not a week pass that I don't dream of the mountains. So I decided to chronicle it to keep tabs.
I am climbing a mountain with a female friend when she suddenly said don't move. That's when I heard a hissing sound and found a snake on the trail right in front of me. I didn't move and placed a plastic bag in front of it, to which it bit and bit until I scared it away. So we continue the journey. I forgot how I came out with the next scene but this time we encountered a snake threatening to bite us but can be easily scared away.

Last last week I dreamt of Mt. Manabu. I guess it is calling out on me.

May 29, 2010

Mt. Malipunyo range as viewed from Manabu Peak

#2: Mt. Malipunyo and the Endless Clouds

Mt. Malipunyo shaped like Mt. Matutum, and forever surrounded by clouds. I find it curious that there is a force down in our village spraying clouds to Mt.Malipunyo’s summit, and that my hopes of having a clearing died down.

In this dream I am still at the plains, waiting for the proper time to ascend, and it is also odd that my family resides on the village at the foot of Mt. Malipunyo.

Family house scenes ensued, then by the doorway a man in a motorcycle entered without warning.

There is blood on the door, we checked if any of us were injured. Gladly none.

Then a crime scene investigation follows, taking samples of the blood on the doorway, probably from the tires of the motorcycle.

Weird. I never get to climb.

June 2, 2010

Pantingan Peak

#3: Mt. Pantingan and the Fun Run

I dreamt about this Bataan mountain, and the fun run that is being held on its spacious trail.

I specifically remembered my friend Liz wearing an all blue jersey, lying on the ground resting just before the run.

Then I deliberated whether what mountain it is, and I remembered that I compared the 3, Natib, Pantingan and Tarak.

It doesn’t feel like Natib, nor Tarak. So I concluded the mountain must be Pantingan.

This also might be because June 5 is the date of our Company Fun Run in the Grove near Tiendesitas.

June 4, 2010

Mt. Makiling Los Banos side

#4: Mt. Makiling, Bovines, Snake Bites and Me

This is as fresh as it gets. I just woke up, after a bottle of booze and dinner pasta, and a nightmare.

The scenes that I can remember well started with before mountain climbing is a conversation with an acquaintance Avhet about Dannish’ new guy whom I just saw in Facebook earlier in my sober state. Then came the mall scenes where it is raining hard and I have no umbrella so I was forced to stay outside with minimal protection from the rain, standing on an area with a teeny weeny shelter hence my feet and all the strangers with me in that area are dripping wet. The rain receded and I braved an alley which looks like a hillside road… steep and concreted. Upper parts have broken concrete with little water pools which in my sober state, one of my pet peeve. A vehicle behind honked at me.

For some unknown reason… I found myself on my way to Mt. Makiling. I’ve met several kids beforehand, all of them alike in appearance. The first part of the trail is mountain of sand to which I struggle only to find that to the right of me there is a rope and a concrete step trail, with minimal sand on the steps. I traversed towards it… climbed until I got to another concreted alley trail with metal fence railings to the left. Road was enough for one vehicle to pass. I contracted a kid as a guide, and he merrily agreed for a price of Php150.

So I proceeded, worried that I started a bit late, and that if I ever have spare torch for my kid guide. Then I found myself climbing a flight of stairs, just going round and round and up and up. Then I saw some climbers behind me scrambling to get a colleague up. They took a rest outside the rounding staircase, and I took a rest too on the steps. I conversed with Jasper who is with the resting group outside, in a store. A girl overtook me. She doesn’t have any packs with her. I called on to my kid guide but he was nowhere to be found.

I decided to move on without my kid guide. I endured the stairs, and overtook the girl who previously overtook me. I ended up in a concrete alley again with metal railings, third time, this time it is almost dark. But I can see the silhouette of the mountain. It is still far. I got worried because of my seeming lack of provisions and my daypack and the oncoming night. I thought I should have checked my things before I went to trek.

So I walked on, with the dying lights in my headlamp. A vehicle whirred past me without honking, and a chilling voice whispered something in my ear as the vehicle passed me by. The voice is cold and it made me shudder, the vehicle slows down a bit. I figured it was a truck with a person on the back, and I got my hopes that they will invite me to hitch a ride. This will save my lights, so I thought. I asked them what did the guy in the passenger seat whispered to me, if they are inviting me for a ride. Then they just left.

So I walked on, with my dying lights. I saw that behind me were farmers going home after a hard days work. They were with their cows and buffaloes. I stopped to let them pass. One buffalo got curious and tried coming near me. I screamed at the farmers to get them away from me. I realized that the one who went near me was in a rope that I myself must have dragged it closer.

So I let them pass, standing on the side until a farmer who turned on his lights with presumably yellow bulbs, which shone ever so bright, noticed my dying light and tried to exchange his with mine. Before the exchange can happen, I felt a strange pain at the back of my legs, knee level. Then I noticed that I was standing near a pond with vegetation and that my pants is zipped open on the legs (the one that can be converted to a short, with zippers). When I took a peak, I saw the head of a small green snake bobbing, inside my leg pants. I don’t know what to do so I lay down, took the convertible part of my pants away, covered the opening of my upper shorts to prevent it  from entering, and there the snake goes to the ground, slithering towards me who is on the floor. It crawled beneath my back, as I was transcended back to reality. There is a smooth transition between dreams and as I woke up. No abrupt interruption which often held me perplexed upon awakening.

That was a right leg by the way.

June 5, 2010

Jul 17, 2012

So Much Fun Indeed!

Fun sleeping moments from the notorious former "hilata sa trail/trip" queen....

Mt. Lobo/Bakun Trio (Dec. 2008). Definitely my favorite shot.

More pictures for upload once I have browsed all my climb albums. So do you have your own favorite "hilata" moment?

Jun 2, 2012

I know What I Did Last Holyweek....

... was jumping out on mountains with my good friend May in Mt. Tagapo as a spontaneous climb trip. This year might not be as fabulously grand as my last year's Batanes, but it was still filled with various laughs and deep talks and ... my favorite night boatride while stargazing and spotting "hot air balloons". Lols.

My first time here was with my friend Ian. My first ever jump-shot was captured here.

Both awkward, as always the case. Lols.

Apr 22, 2012

I was a Certified Mountain Addict.

You're a certified mountain addict if :

These words keep ringing inside your head: Barlig-Batad, Hungduan-Hapao, Kayapa-Itogon, Atok-Kabayan, Yumbing-Ardent, Magalang-Bano, Sibulan-Kidapawan, Sibuyan, Limatik, Kabunian, Bulusan, Dayhike Traverse, Mayon, Bangiiinnnn...

Reading climb itineraries is your comfort when you are lonely.

You daydream of every mountain you have summited, and of those you haven’t yet.

You keep a journal of your mountain plans.

Your jaws drop each time you pass by a small rocky hill on the road and you salivate as you stare at it in awe.

Your bonus ends up nil, you spent it all on your dream climb.

You have more mountain clothes in your wardrobe than normal office/casual clothes.

You climb solo because you really want that mountain so bad.

You dance crossing landslides.

You plan mountain climbs like there is no tomorrow.

You are always envious of hardcores.

You always check out vertical structures and assess if they are “climbable”.

You feel giddy at every jumpoff.

And last but not the least... your friends shut you off during lunch talks because you cant stop blabbering about the mountain.

.... tamad na ako dagdagan nyo na lang.

"Originally posted in Multiply, December 10, 2008. To be young and restless, it was priceless"