I’m back again, and I’m very excited to announce that I have added a new mountain to my list of conquered trails! Two mountains in a month? Just about a week apart? That’s right! Last Saturday, June 19, I had yet another opportunity to climb my second mountain.
A few questions might pop in your head.
Honestly, who has the time to hike a mountain every weekend?
Where do I get the budget?
Which mountain did you climb?
Sadly, I won’t be answering any of those questions directly. But once you finish reading, you won’t even be thinking of finding the answers — you will just want to GO! As soon as you can!
Even if you’ve tried hiking before and decided it “wasn’t your forte”, you will definitely think twice. Believe me, I never thought I would want to hike another mountain after my first, semi-awful experience at Mount Sembrano. It was all a matter of preparation and hitting those girl scout skills that made me enjoy a lot more this time. In my previous article, I’ve complained about what I failed to do and the lessons I’ve gotten from all my mistakes. This time, I came up with several things that I was truly thankful about, the things that kept me going in the long run.
1. Six hours of sleep.
Sweet dreams look like this.
I picked up my own advice from last hike’s error, and I completely willed myself to sleep at 9pm on the dot, in time to rise at 3am. Sleep has never been much of a hindrance to my performance on the trail — I never really felt fatigue because of my lack of sleep, but it was good to not have insomnia that night (and to not be singing Despacito till the wee hours of the morning).
2. Getting warmed up.
Yam, a first time hiker.
Last hike, the team failed to do this crucial step, which is why one of us got a cramp along the way. I led the dynamic stretching routine before we headed up, to which Jecel commented that it was harder than the actual hike. I think it paid off in the end — the first timers, the ones who haven’t hiked in a few months and everyone who joined the mystery hike were all in good condition and didn’t get any cramps along the way (although someone got cramps during the warmup and after the hike).
Nel, an experienced hiker.
At the top, safe and sound.
3. My outfit.
When fellow hikers would look at my so-called costume, they would scratch their heads and ask me if I was feeling hot. My reply: I would feel much hotter without all these protection. I was equipped with a cap, the most comfortable and baggy jogging pants, socks, my Track and Field spikes, arm warmers that looked like they came from iCarly, fluffy gloves, and my Tralulu shirt. It really paid off in the end because I was not getting irritated from any sunburns. I was able to focus on larger problems of the hike (which, in reality, weren’t a lot).
Me, the Pokemon Hunter Bunny and my master.
My wardrobe was also borrowed by Jecel. Here she is wearing my raincoat as protection from the deadly UV rays transmitted from the sun.
4. My 3 liters of water.
Yam has a stick in her hand. I have a water bottle.
I now brought 3 instead of 2! It made all the difference, even if it weighed more. There was a store along the way that sold water though, so I could have still gone without an extra liter. I was also thankful that I didn’t feel the urge to pee even after 7 hours of the hike. When I got a chance to use the bathroom, I didn’t expel much fluid; it was probably because I lost most of the fluid in my body through my sweat.
5. My sunblock.
I finally added this necessity to my backpack! Even though I was already fully covered, the rays of the sun were still fatal and could lead to skin cancer, so I made sure to reapply every so often. I didn’t mind having to take off my gloves every time I needed to reapply because the gloves kept my hands clean and saved the use of wet wipes or alcohol. My sunblock was a big help for those who didn’t even bring caps.
Jecel and I wearing matching skin tones, with Nel in the background.
6. The friends.
Proof that we made it to the summit together!
To be honest, I never expected to vibe with any of the new people I met. I thought we were going to be pure strangers throughout the hike, only interacting with the people we already knew. I was, fortunately, wrong about that. Even if all of us were amateurs at singing, we kept each other alive with our voices. Most of them were also way older than me and although we just met on the same day, but we bonded like we were childhood friends of the same age.
Tralulu airplane symbol!
Since we missed the other interns who weren’t present, Paolo decided to photoshop Micha and himself.
7. The photographer.
Being a photographer sounds like no big deal — especially since every millennial is easily associated with a camera or at least a smartphone camera wherever they go. Add a mountain to the equation and you will realize that this type of skill is no easy feat. Unfortunately, even my fellow photographer intern, Paolo, couldn’t join this week’s mystery hike. I was so thankful that one of our mystery hikers brought a DSLR all the way to the summit. Only a few of us were willing to take pictures with our iPhones, which we could retract when we didn’t need them, but Zaine had to carry an average of 800 grams of camera all the way up, 627 meters to be exact. Although she is not new to photography, she never had any classes in the specific field of mountain photography, yet she took all the awesome pictures featured on this post!
He is present all around us.
Now, I am not trying to advertise my religion or anything like that, but I felt God’s presence among me, especially during the times when I was alone. There were times during the hike where I had no one with me — no guide, no friends, no dogs. There was a group that was advanced and too forward while there was another group that was way too far behind. I
God’s beautiful creation.
was in the middle, yet I was with God. I found myself making the sign of the cross, whenever I would come upon a steep slope or a very narrow path that could cost you your life if you made one wrong move. It wasn’t that this certain mountain was hard, but anything could happen. I wouldn’t have made it without Him.
One of the dogs in the community, Darna.
The tradition of a before and after prayer.
9. The guides.
Kuya Rolan and Ate Mel.
Happy Ate Mel.
Serious Kuya Rolan.
We were so lucky to have this set of guides. They are senior guides who have been going up and down the mountain ever since they were children. Kuya Rolan was at the start of the pack, leading us towards the summit. Ate Mel on the other hand was the sweeper, making sure nobody got injured or left behind. They made a dynamic duo, and they also made us a more efficient team. I felt safe with their presence, especially whenever they would lend a hand (literally) so we could make it up safely. I would just stare in awe when I would see them running down the mountain like it was a flat surface.
Unlike Mount Sembrano, I didn’t think twice about wanting to return here. The only bad experiences I had during this trip were coincidentally all related to the van. Going to the place, I couldn’t sleep soundly and my head kept bobbing backwards. On the way home, I ate a pack of Stickos and ended up vomiting because fast moving cars and undigested food don’t go well together. That event aside, this was the best hike I have ever been on. I wonder where I will go next. I really do.
Have you guessed the mountain yet?