Monday, December 26, 2011

Sweeper




                                                                                                                                    Are you going?

                                                                                          Yup, Paul volunteered as a sweeper.

                                                                                                   Yeah, that would be very hard.

                                                                                                 I’m saving   my patience already.

                                                                                                                                   I wanna go too.

                                                                       Why not? You have a lot there to take care of.

               Yeah, I see 6 of them.But  that’s fine.I’m happy to see I’ve made them up  

                                                                                                                  and down the mountain.







Thursday, December 22, 2011

Balay Outdoor Equipment

To my fellow outdoor enthusiasts, here's one of the humble shops that offers variety of your outdoor needs.


This shop was created by the deep passion to mountaineering of the guys behind Society of Mountaineering Berks. Rest assured the prices are considerably affordable and items are of best quality. So, check out their latest offerings!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gift Giving: Our Lady of La Salette

Last December 17,2011, I volunteered myself to be with 45 kids at Our Lady of La Salatte, shared my time, laughed and played with them. And what a blessed day it was...






Truly, this activity just gave back something undescribable only volunteers could understand=)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Volunteerism: Hospicio de San Jose

Date: December 2011
Location: Hospicio de San Jose, Manila




Kids

Audit Volunteers in Action








Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mt. Pulag - A New Pride of Experience



I never anticipated that I will be able to join the Pulag Climb because of schedule conflicts. Well, until it was changed to November 25-27. I was glorious amidst all the hassles I went through. Yes, I was literally cramming even on the day of departure. Thankfully, the universe conspires with my heart’s desire.

I made it 10:55pm to Victory Liner Pasay and was able to stabilize the panic I have had hours before.  There I met my team, get into our reserved seats and on our way I was contemplating if the climb was for me, I’ve been into a lot of hassles. Isn’t that a sign?

BUT on the brighter side, isn’t all struggles awaits victory and triumph? I will be climbing Philippines’ third highest mountain, and that alone are all worth it. Just by thinking that way gets me more excited, and oh, I HAVE BEEN EXCITED ever since I heard first hand stories of what awaits us in Mt. Pulag. Bragged as the rooftop and the highest one can get in Luzon at 2922 ASL, Mt. Pulag offers a magnificent view at the top while one will truly feel enchanted for its fabled sea of clouds. And right then and there I pictured myself doing a jump shot above the clouds! Few hours Mt. Pulag, just few more hours…

As we were nearing Baguio, I get fascinated by the welcoming cold, the alighting sunrise, pine trees and mountains that are beautifully lighted like a live Christmas tree. I could only smile and savor the novelty of a good weather for yet another dream wish list will soon knocked down.

In a little while our group of thirteen,  of which six are couples namely S’ Jim & M’ Lot, S’Leo & M’ Do and  Melskie & his wife while Riz, Andrea, Odhie, Lenzi, MikeA, Jovy and me  were the remaining seven, deposited ourselves in our rented jeepney after we disembarked from the bus. It was more than five hours before we reached DENR, approximately thirty minutes was spent in a stopover at a bridge overlooking Ambuklao Dam for picture taking, almost an hour was spent in a carinderia where we met a flooding number of mountaineers which put our group in a long queue.

At DENR we were required to sit for a mini presentation covering crucial reminders on climbing Mt. Pulag. From do’s and dont’s, present flora and fauna to its legendary tale as it is claimed as the playground of Gods. We also took our lunch in an adjacent store after paying the requisite climbing fee of P200 per head.

We then headed to Badabak Ranger Station. Man, we travelled beside deep ravines and one wrong move could mean fatal.  It was another less than two hours arduous roller-coaster-ride-like as we get higher. In fact, there’s this moment when I forgot to hold on to the hand rails and in one quick second I really look so stupid! It was like I gave myself a free fall, only this time I was in a jeep. Each bounce just gave the team a boisterous laughter.

We started trekking around 2:30pm. Did I forget to say that the DENR staff mentioned that it was raining in the summit? Yes, IT WAS RAINING! I get a bit nervous not because I can’t climb with such weather, I admit I hate muddy and slippery trail but more than that because of paranoia, of how negative temperature could behave? Apparently, the temperature could drop even below subzero. I am not a person who can’t stand long in such conditions, what if I caught hypothermia?

As we trudged into the trail, I checked myself from time to time if I was feelin’ different; paranoid was the word for it. The rain, the overrun trail, dropping temperature and thinning air just made the executive trail a little difficult. Along the trail we met our friends, who took the Akiki-Ambangeg trail, with them a story falling short in reaching the summit because of the weather. According to them, flood was already evident in the saddle camp, where we plan to stay for the night as it is just 15 minutes away from the summit. Then it strikes me, will we make it for the anticipated sea of clouds?  BUT they say, the beauty of Mt. Pulag comes from after a dramatic weather. Yes, I’m still hoping…

How could a good 7.5 kilometers and so doable for over three hours seem twice longer than usual? It was the longest trek I made in my entire life. At times, I constantly find myself asking for strength and guidance because each second on the trail seems eternity. By that time we reached Camp 2, my face and hands were almost numb. The camp was covered with fog and darkness. There was zero visibility. I waited for Lenzi to arrive for us to start another challenge. Odd though, I don’t know how to pitch a tent but tried anyway. One thing was clear that time, if no help came from S’ Jim and S’ Leo that moment I’d probably fall off in the next minute.

Nobody from the team dare go outside, not anyone even mentioned for dinner. Our tent was moistened every corner. Good thing we have our earth pad and some garbage bag, it saved us from moist underneath. Before I close my eyes that night I could only mumble prayers of survival. True enough, in the face of immeasurable odds, only faith can get you far.

The sea of clouds was the head turner for me in joining this climb. Obviously, that one and the dwarf bamboos, the anticipated jump shot above the clouds and the summit are but a dream still uncrossed in my list. But hey, nothing is comparable for all is well and managed to brace fierce winds and equally chilling weather the next morning. And for such, one is imperative: SAFETY should always be the top priority.

We have a great time going down Ambangeg. We made ourselves drooling ( oa lang, hahaha ) over with eat-all-you-can pinikpikang manok and savor the goodness of a great meal we missed at the campsite. Who says we will end the climb without socials? Right there on the jeep transpired a social bursting with euphoria. Fun, was an understatement. I was overjoyed with how it was held, how it lifted our spirits, how it brings a good laugh and content into each faces. How it bridged for a great bonding and camaraderie. Kudos Sir Jovy!

As for me, with summit or not, with sea of clouds or not, the climb was no less than a success. For this climb brings forth a new story (each climb actually), new strength, new lessons and realizations. Moreover, this climb for all thirteen of us could perceive each a different story altogether but still it boils down into one bottom line: we all have new pride of experiences to share just the same.

I still am fervently wishing that sooner the omnipotent GUY through SMB will grant me again the opportunity to face this majestic mountain, hoping for another addition to my treasured box of memories. SMB, please make it happen for me?