Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Twelve (12) in Twenty Twelve (2012)

Dear SMB,

I don’t really make wishes in Christmas Days because I’ve been in 8 Christmases alone ( turning 9 this year ) nor do some New Year’s resolution for I only end up dragging myself to things vaguely written and a far-cry to be materialized.

I dunno why I am writing this in the first place. Is it the workload piled up in my table ( I hate cramming but hey, I can’t seem to organize my itinerary these days )? Or am I inspired of M’Abel’s blog about her 101 in 1001 entries ( 101 things to do in 1001 days)? Maybe yes for the latter..or I just wanted to set things I will be looking forward for the coming year, sort of… I guess.. Whatever the reason maybe I give the thought into writing anyway…

This is a no wish lists of must-have in my birthday, nor childish bubbles or something, I am 26 years old for that, hello? Not a wish to make everyone be responsible and kind, because that would mean a total clean up for the universe, just like what GOD did in Noah’s time, not even asking for a prince charming, well, I would be glad if it will be given ( in hilarious giggles, duh! who wouldn’t?).

It’s been quite a while since I embraced myself with outdoors. I believe even if I would have been years younger or some years ahead I will end up as a mountaineer just the same. Talk about passion, you know…( in Pacman’s way, yu no! hihihi ). So here I am after joining the training climb you have organized last September 10-11, 2011 at Mt. Natib in Orani Bataan I found myself dreaming of another 12 mountains I’d like to climb in 2012. Don’t ‘ya think it’s early? Maybe…But, I opt to write it here though.

After reading reviews after reviews (in between my busiest day ever!), I have listed down the following as my top picks for next year...

1. Mt. Ugo – was discovered in 1987 when a PAL plane crashed on one of its slopes
2. Mt.Amuyao - the summit shows a breathtaking panorama of the entire Cordillera range
3. Mt. Makiling –famous for its guardian fairy named Maria Makiling…sooooooooo Pinoy, talk about legends.
4. Mt. Pulag via Akiki Trail – has a very difficult trail but the more it calls my human quest for challenge
5. Mt. Banahaw – a home for Rizalistas and other cults and believe to be the "New Jerusalem"
6. Mt.Isarog - has a rich biodiversity and beautiful views
7. Mt. Pinatubo – just like to be part of this historical mountain, famous for its eruption which had put the Philippines in uproar
8. Mt. Tarak Ridge – has a rewarding view at the summit wherein you could see the whole view of Bataan, Manila Bay and the tall buildings in Metro Manila.
9. Mt. Asog- a majestic sun rise can be viewed from its summit.
10. Mt. Batulao – the summit of Mt. Batulao offers a spectacular 360-degree view of the Batangas landscape, including Taal Lake and Volcano, and Balayan Bay
11. Mt. Famy ( Romelo ) – famous getaway for mountaineers and commonly called as the "land of the falls" because of the countless waterfalls you can find there .
12. Mt.Halcon - provides a breathtaking view of landscapes in the municipality of Baco in Oriental Mindoro.

Twelve is only a handful compared to hundreds of mountains we have in the Philippines. To those that are not included in my picks, there are more years ahead…Needles to say, this only a miniscule near to life attempt of building a more solid camaraderie with you, of making myself look forward for next year…of getting more closer to HIM through mountains with you…

Suffice it to say, I would like to thank you SMB for sharing with my first climb…Good times, indeed!

Sincerely,

Ms. Gala

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Conquering Mt. Natib - My First Climb with SMB

"It’s been three months since I joined SMB. The moment I registered, I promised myself that I will dare go out of my comfort zone, test myself beyond my limits and at the same time explore the world behind what I could imagine."



So, that dawn of September 10, 2011 I challenged my thin and almost skinny frame through a 1255m steep climb to a mountain called Mt. Natib in Orani Bataan. This was my first ever climb that I didn’t have a decent sleep the night before.  Not that I have qualms of climbing but because of sheer excitement of what to expect curled the whole me.



Our team composed of fourteen outdoor enthusiasts headed by S’Jim and another thirteen namely: Takumi, Lenzi, Jann, Billy,April, JR,Nhan, Connie,Roshan, Albert and Mart,our guest climber Wreckz and me, was welcomed by the scorching heat of the sun as we arrived at the tricycle area at Brgy. Tala, Orani Bataan. It was raining hard the day before so I am not complaining with heat actually. Well, not yet.

We had our team pass through a military post to register, stopped at the first gate, rest a little and said some prayers for guidance. As usual I lost for any coherent sentence to say. Around 11:00am we started to trek.

Registration Area
Photo Credit: Rex Santos
I summoned myself with confidence and mental preparedness but honestly I was fighting with my courage not to complain in the first thirty-forty minutes. Back then I was starting to feel the strenuous gravity effect in my legs, the unbeatable heat and the feeling of vomiting anytime. I have myself to blame for not eating a breakfast beforehand. ( ako na excited!). All of that in the first half hour, still in an open trail and with an easy hike at that.


Open trail
Photo credit: Rex Santos
However, the character of fortitude and willpower never left me and so with the group who would suffer if I fail. I entertained myself with the thought of the beauty we were passing through and more. I slowly adapted myself and learned how to finally survive the ordeal. It’s a lot of convincing that there’s more ahead for us waiting to be explored. So why give up that early?


Mt. Natib view from The Gate
Photo Credit: Rex  Santos
The trekking continued, and it was a pure bliss when the pacer says take five or ten in between. Of course it would not be completed without flooding lenses of cute or wacky poses whenever there’s a picturesque background along the way. Well, except for Roshan who fascinated himself with limatik (ground leech), insects and anything that satisfies his quest for unfamiliar or something that just excites his adrenalin. Shudders at the thought.

Around 1:00 pm we have reached the hut that was believed to be the last water source, had our lunch, filled our bottles and took a little rest we needed for the journey ahead. 

Lunch!
Photo credit: Rex Santos
After an hour the trek resumed. The trail was starting to get tougher and more punishing with its interchanging path by the side of the mountain with gradual up and down slope.But I’ve never seen someone from the group who’s about to give up, even at the time when we realized that we’re lost in the trail. But being lost doesn’t mean we’ve also lost the enthusiasm, it’s the falls at the dead end of the trail that rewarded our journey.

Lost
Photo Credit: Rex Santos
Not feeling defeated,we headed up for an emergency camp while, I simply entertained myself and amused with the presence of these thirteen people who shared my passion to savor the wonder of nature as we encountered interesting "friends" - limatiks, muddy and slippery trail, unknown insects, etc. who welcomed us to its vastness.The rain that seemed to christen us who were all newbies to Mt. Natib and the birds that sang hospitably as if we were welcome guests.It may not be a haven for city bums but it was indeed a heavenly experience. Ahhh, the beauty of living a simple life! And call it DIVINE protection or what…we accidentally set our camp in front of the right trail. Imagine how HE works. And HIS guidance sent to our team lead who stood firmly on his decision not to continue at the dead end.



During our breakfast the next morning, the group, in high spirits decided to go to the summit around 7:30 am.I was silently contemplating of going or not. For a first timer, I have already communed myself with the nature the past day, what else should I miss? Getting to the summit is rather optional but I will be experiencing only a fraction of true hiking experience if I won’t. So I jump in with gusto and followed the lead.












Trail
Photo Credit: Nhan Sulit












One missed step!
Photo Credit: Nhan Sulit




It was another one and a half hour of grueling paces, tramps, crawl and scramble through a slippery and muddy trek of 45-90 degrees elevation. It was HIS care and the determination to finish the climb the only gadgets we could hold unto.I won’t regret the moment I scrambled myself through the wall (with the rope), the time when S’Jim asked me, " Will you still climb?" With a growing passion though I was barely making it, I answered "Of course".
Rope Section
Photo Credit: Nhan Sulit

Hiking through a foot-wide trail alongside deep abyss wasn’t easy but we were rewarded with the panoramic view of the neighboring mountains at the summit. Everyone allowed themselves to be enraptured by the view and just merely enjoying while taking most of the moment at the peak. Honestly, I cannot get a hold of what I really felt that time. I was a planet of emotions. I felt like crying when we offered prayers for Adrian Alba, a fellow mountaineer who died in Wawa River a couple of weeks ago.
Summit
Photo Credit: Rex Santos
  

And even when we went down and on our way back to Manila, I was like floating. It’s a mixture of whew! I made it to the peak! And everything that happened just kept on circulating in my head. … Anyway, I was thankful for the group descended unscathed except for minor cramps and limatik bites that was bearable.




Thanks Mt. Natib Team
Photo Credit: Lenzi Macabeo




I’m also thankful for the support and patience from the group whenever I go too slow and  the camaraderie that was developed during the climb and at the socials. Moreover, I am truly grateful that  I've finally embarked on my first climb. Good times indeed!

So where’s the next stop? Yeah, Hi  Mt. Napulauan! Sixteen something enthusiasts will be dating you at the end of this month…so please be kind. Lol!




Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary SMB!

I met them one night last July 9,2011 as I tirelessly goofed myself through the world wide web...
...got myself hooked with the web's tagline that I ended up registering myself as a member...
...made my way to get involved with forums and posted topics...
...laugh some more through my paperworks as I tag along with them online on shout box..
...met a handful of them in flesh last August 11,2011 and shared a hefty laugh through french fries and coke float as the meeting went along...


That started it all...
They have this unfathomable image that I can't help myself get deeper with the group...my SMB family...Joining them is more of welcoming myself to the people who shares the same passion as I have...mountaineering..


I still have the vivid memories of our 7th year anniversary held at La Colina Resort last August 20-21, 2011.The event is an experience to treasure.The food, presentations, games and the program in general served its purpose. I have been into team buildings, outings, gimmicks before yet being with them gave me a profound idea that there is beauty of going out your comfort zone through joining and meeting new bunch of nice peeps like them for the first time...well,  with just yourself.And knowing them first hand was an added bonus.


And who wouldn't forget the part where newbies were introduced? To say cool was an understatement...Really...Yes, I have my fair share of being one of a newbie but I did enjoy laughing my heart's out for every joke and "green statements"  delivered that leads into an infectious laughter!


I enjoyed the company of M' Tine and M' Lenzi as they had their so-called swimming lessons. Sir Takumi's funny strokes that he seems to be a pro.The " habulan" game in the pool that eventually ended up into girl talk session per say. Man, sharing with them your thoughts and listening to theirs was just as great.


I enjoyed some more on M' Lenzi's angelic voice as she hits on OPM notes, S' Billy's soulful voice as he beats some Ogie Alcasid's top charts and hey! who wouldn't want to listen S' Jovy's rendition of back to the 80's songs.This lad ( or should I say lass?) seems to have been blessed with endless sense of humor, I just can't help myself laughing into his punch lines that just gave the night a night. And lastly, S' Jim's awesome performance as he rocked Bon Jovi's It's My Life! The song has been constantly playing in my phone since then. And to other who did just great, BRAVO!


Fun was written all throughout the event, I must say...
And before I lost the chance to say the things I needed to say, for who knows if I'll live past a hundred or tomorrow a meteor falls and blows me into smithereens ( sounds familiar? , yeah it's Chico Garcia's line ),   this will have to suffice... ( emo mode )...Thank you SMBerks for the warm welcome and for the laugh shared together..


'Til my first climb and as I share my first SMILE with you...
Seven years and still counting...
Happy Anniversary!!!