5 Love Lessons I Learned in Mt. Manabu

Before I get into the details of our Mt. Manabu Climb last December14, I would just like to share on how most of our conversations in this climb boiled down into just one topic, love and relationship. Yes, as clear as it gets, and for some reason, every move that we would make were seemed like related to the things that were going through the hearts and minds of the girls that I climbed with. Haha! I hope to get more entries on this once the Valentine season comes. I compiled everything that they said and came up with some wisdom on it.

1.) Yang ambon na yan, parang mga lalake lang yan, susulpot pero ndi ka seseryosohin

I could smell some bitterness in here. Haha! True enough, that ambon just passed by and didn’t really pour on us. But I do hope that boys are really not like these drizzles. I’ve seen a lot of girls getting into heartaches after a guy gets into a move that misled them. Guys, please do take note that girls are emotional human beings and that every move you make speaks VOLUMES into their minds. Every words you speak, every touch you give, and every compliments she receives from you are valuable. If you’re not planning to take her seriously, do not flirt with her and confuse her. Otherwise, be a man and just tell her what you really feel towards her, pursue her. Well, fine, I know that’s not as easy as it may sound. But the bottomline is, commit when you’re ready. 😉

2.) Kala mo matibay ung kinapitan mo, marupok na pala. Bawal kasi mag-assume!

This one’s related to #1 I guess and is applicable for both boys and girls. Although I admit that girls are the ones who usually fall into this trap of assumption. It gets really tempting to assume isn’t it? That whenever a guy texted us with “Ingat ka pag-uwi!” or “Pagaling ka!”, we would automatically presume that he’s into us. Let’s just admit it, we love the thought that someone likes us, or that somebody appreciates our beauty. But girls, we’re setting our hearts into some pitfalls whenever we assume. If a guy is nice towards you, never assume that he likes you unless he says so. It could be that he’s just being friendly or just really being nice to everyone. Guys, do your part as well and do not pull the “never assume card” on us by not being a jerk.

3.) Pag sobrang maputik na, dapat alam mo kung kailan ka kakapit o magpapadulas na lang

So here comes the “when to let go of a love that is not working anymore”. Hmm.. If you think that your relationship with your partner doesn’t grow anymore or doesn’t go any further, then you might have to think twice. Assess both sides and a sincere talk about this matter with your partner would really help. Both of you should decide if it’s already time to let go of it and move on, or still work it out. Love conquers anything anyway. Whew! So I sounded like a real love expert in there. Hehe 😉

4.) Ingat ka sa mga teka-teka, masakit yan pag natinik ka!

The teka-teka plant

The teka-teka plant

If you guys haven’t seen a teka-teka plant, then look at the picture at the right side. Be very wary of it because it really got lots of thorns! Perhaps on why it’s called teka-teka wherein teka means to stop, or to bring something to stop. It can pierce through skin and even clothing. We associated this plant with the jerks, two-timers, and heartbreakers. Haha! Yes, that’s how mean we were. Girls, be very wary of these kinds of guys. If you’re not sure if what he’s showing you is the real him, then you would have to observe on how he treats the girls in his family. Once I’ve read on a book that how a man treats the women in his life, that’s likely the same way on how he would treat you once you guys already tie the knot. You are precious and worth all the love, don’t waste your time and energy for someone who doesn’t even know how to value you.

5.) You’re not scared of heights, you’re just afraid to fall and get hurt

Whew! That was deep and really striking! Falling is indeed painful especially if no one’s there to catch you. More painful if you’re expecting someone else to catch you, but didn’t, or just can’t. I’m talking about the literal falling! Haha you guys! 😀 But seriously, a lot of us are missing the thrill of things just because we’re afraid to take the risk. We always love the thought of love, or being in love. That’s how love songs were made anyway. But a lot are afraid to fall for it because of the pain that is usually associated with it. If you think that it’s a love worth fighting for, then go and fight for it. Do not be a coward and just stay on the safe side. Perfect love casts out fear.

So there you go! I hope I made sense in here and that these things helped if you’re currently going into something now. Or perhaps you could tell me how one of your climbs made you reflect your view about love. Feel free to share it via the comment box! Thank you for taking the time to read this! Hihi! Love love love! 😀

Perfect love casts out fear. :)

Perfect love casts out fear. 🙂

Tales From The Sweeper

“Congrats TL!”, “Galing ng TL!”. Words that we always hear right after a climbing event. Thus, commending the team leader is already a mainstream, why not put the spotlight this time to the often neglected role in a climbing event which I believe also plays a very vital role, the sweeper. I want to share how I appreciate sweepers the more the moment I experienced being one during our Mt. Pulag climb. But of course, I do also recognize the efforts of our gwapong gwapong Team Leader, Mau Romarate. 😉

Sweepers may come in a group or an individual, it depends on the team leader. As a sweeper, you are tasked to be at the tail-end. That also means you’d be the last to reach the campsite and the summit and you have to stay behind the others who are climbing.

Looking into it at first, you’d think that it is an easy job since your primary objective is just to have everyone be able to complete the climb. It has both its pros and cons. Even though you wanted to have your pace faster than the usual, you just can’t because you have to keep up with the slowest climber’s pace. It gives you the advantage to get more rest and less pressure as well! But in cases that there would be a “fallen” climber, you’re supposed to buffer their inadequacy in order for them to complete the climb. Thus, sweepers must be sacrificial, patient, and competent at the same time. You have to prepare yourself physically as well or you don’t want to sweep yourself, would you? That’s gonna be hard! He must also be self contained so that in cases that an emergency camp is needed, his group can survive. He has to ensure that there are no items left in the campsite, else he would have to take them with him.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend Ms. Ruwen Libato, who was at the sweeper group last Mt. Pulag climb. Her big heart glamored as she guided the slowest and newbie climbers. And how she used her background in the medical industry to assist others just totally amazed me. She would ask us if we’re feeling okay and she had her ready medical kit just in case you’re already feeling weary because of altitude sickness. I swear, I told her that if I have a brother, I would definitely wanted to be her sister-in-law. Best Sweeper award goes to her! Haha! 😀

I believe that as a sweeper, you don’t need to give those fiery look just to scare off people and have them climb faster. That’s not gonna be the case. Instead, you have to encourage them to push for more, that they can do it. Give them the utmost help that you can give. Offer them your trail foods or spare them your Gatorade to boost their energy. Talk to them, tell them your success stories. Allow them to pause for a while to catch their breath if they’re already panting. Take five! Inspire them instead to relieve their stress. I believe that more than the established system of do’s and dont’s of the itinerary, the welfare of the guests and members is still more important.

I’ve written this in my previous post, 10 Life Lessons I learned through Mountain Climbing, and I want to reiterate it again. The greatest fulfillment in life is not on climbing your own summit but on helping others achieve theirs. If you haven’t tried being a sweeper, volunteer to be one. It is one of the hardest and most rewarding role in a climb at the same time. If I’m the team leader, I would definitely reserve the best spot in the campsite for the sweeper. Kudos to all the sweepers and would be sweepers! Good job! 😀

Day 2 Sweepers

Day 2 Sweepers

Mt. Pulag sweepers

Day 3 sweepers

10 Life Lessons I Learned through Mountain Climbing

Once, I’ve read an article about life lessons in running. So I thought of coming up with an article that equates life to mountain climbing this time. I love how I was able to know first hand on why mountains are being used as a metaphor in life as I’ve been so curious about it.

1.) Live life at your own pace.

I do believe that each one of us has our own natural pace. Some are fast, some are slow, and some are in between. Oftentimes, we miss to savor the great things that life offers, simply because we are in a rush of things just to be at par with the others. Take your time and taste every delight that this world brings. Life is beautiful, don’t be too hard on it, take it easy. 🙂

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2.) To climb steep hills require a slow pace at first.

Whenever the slope gets steeper, the rule of thumb has always been to shorten your stride. It normally requires several breaths per step. If you know you’re up for a steep hill in your life, do as how we do it in mountain climbing. Slow down and take deep breaths. Tip toe if needed. Just keep on moving and be patient enough. For your every step, every breath, every sweat, takes you to your most awaited summit!

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3.) Getting to the summit is optional, but the descent is mandatory.

Life always offer us choices. And it’s up to us whether we work on the things that we want or just leave them all up hanging. Make your own summit, and once you’re there, never neglect the things that put you up there. Reach for the highest mountains but always keep your feet on the ground.

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4.) It’s not just about the destination, the journey matters and whom you share it with.

As they say, life is a journey and not just a destination. Make the most of it by sharing it with the people you love and who are as passionate as you are. Be it on uphills or downhills, embrace the fullness of life with them! The memories that you create with them matters more!

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5.) Mountains are like people, never underestimate them.

Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man. Know that the mental and emotional strength of a person are as equally important as the physical strength. Never let other people tell you, you are less than what you really are, for nobody knows you better than you know yourself.

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6.) When you’re tired, rest. Take five!

Resting doesn’t make you less of a mountaineer. Likewise in life, taking a break doesn’t make you less of a man. When you find yourself exhausted and feeling helpless and life has become unbearable, pause for a while and lay your back. Pray to God for renewed strength. Remember that in your most triumphant victories and in your darkest cries for help, God is always there.

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7.) The rockier the road gets, the more that you have to focus.

Or else, you’ll end up sprained. These stumbling blocks add spice to our lives. They prune us to make us better and stronger. Be brave and embrace them with positivity. Focus on the solutions and techniques to get through it rather than complain how difficult it is.

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8.) Never fully trust the signs, wait for the guide.

I’m not saying that you should not believe the trail signs that you see for indeed they are helpful especially when you’ve reached a divided trail. Likewise, I’ve seen how some signs are altered by other campers just to get you lost. I’ve experienced getting misled because of the wrong signals. So I’ve learned to wait for the guide’s direction instead and confirm the path that I’m about to take. In life, I’ve seen many who keep on seeking signs and wonders in their lives that never come. I do not know what my future holds, but I’m certain of the one who holds my future. And I have learned to entrust it to Him, my ultimate guide.

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9.) Sometimes, life reroutes lead you to a better post.

Have you noticed that most of the mountains got more than just one trail? You may choose the trail that you want to take from those that are available, which depends on the level of thrill that you wanted. And it wouldn’t be possible if not for the courage of the trailblazers who sought these trails beforehand. Sometimes, life reroutes us to a different trail. Different from what we expected and planned. We would complain about it only to find out at the end that the trail got better views: waterfalls, rich floras and faunas, sea of clouds. Take a leap of faith and be the courageous trailblazer. If life is pushing you to take a reroute, be brave and believe that something wonderful is about to come your way.

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10.) The greatest fulfillment in life is not on climbing your own summit, but on helping others achieve theirs.

In a world that sees everything as a great competition, it is already hard to find people whose aim is to help others achieve their success. Little do they know that the most lasting and fulfilling achievement is when they help others fulfill their biggest dreams. Another’s success doesn’t mean less opportunity for you. Know that you’ve been designed to live something greater than yourself. Encourage and enable others achieve theirs too!

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The Genesis of my Exodus

It has been 10 months since I’ve started with my mountaineering career. Naks! It was through a random invite by my officemate Lea for me to join the MMS Orientation last January. Like what I’ve mentioned with my first post, I was honestly not into strenuous physical activities. I would often decline my friends’ invite to join them with jogging or even badminton. I do not even have a pair of running shoes that time. Talk about the lazy lifestyle of just fb-ing the whole day, that was me. Add up the fact maybe that I was asthmatic and could easily get tired.

Likewise, I’ve been fond of beaches and nature ever since. Having been a grown up of the city I guess puts me in deep amazement of the things that I can only see in the province: mountains, hills, rivers, lakes, etc. My friends could attest to this ‘cos whenever we’re on a long trip, they would find me just staring at the window of the bus, gazing at the view of the outside. It was during our Coron trip last year however that I started to entertain the thought of pursuing mountaineering when we climbed Mt. Tapyas. No, it wasn’t even a hike ‘cos it was a stair climb. A looong and tiring stair climb but the view atop was really amaaaazing. Well, I would be exaggerating things but that was really it for me.

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At the summit of Mt. Tapyas

Meanwhile, I would often see posts from some of my friends in Facebook of them climbing mountains. I would even inquire and tell them to invite me when they have their scheduled climbs. But the thing that was holding me back was my aforementioned physical condition, thus there’s a little bit of confidence in me. So I thought of getting a training on this but I don’t know what organization could offer it, a good and reliable one. I would even prefer that I know at least one from the group beforehand.

Lea and I during our first minor climb at Mt. Buntis

Lea and I during our first minor climb at Mt. Buntis

It was I guess fate that brought me to MMS when Lea, whom I barely know that time, invited me that I quickly said yes to it. I joined the orientation, signed up for BMC (Basic Mountaineering Course), and the looong story goes on. Being the youngest in the group and probably the least experienced since most of my batchmates were able to attend the MMS Open Climbs prior, it put me in a challenge. It has been 10 months and I’m really convinced that my decision way back then to join this organization is right. It is fascinating to see how people would invest their time, money, and energy for this sport. The stories of the experienced mountaineers put me in deep awe. Doc Mai on how she conquered Mt. Kinabalu last year, the story of Ma’am Donna when she almost fell off the cliff and how she survived, the funny jokes and hirits of Papa Ding and Sir Al, the encouragements of Sir Tristan and Sir Jeff during our rock climbing training, and the rest of the gang who just kept on cheering for me whenever I feel like I can’t do it anymore . If you have that little spark in your heart about mountaineering, an organization related to it ignites it, even more fuels it. If you’re planning to join one, I would highly recommend (without bias 🙂 ) the Metropolitan Mountaineering Society. The training goes from January to May which includes Basic Mountaineering Course, First Aid and Rescue, Ropemanship, Map Reading and Orienteering, Indoor and Outdoor Rock Climbing, and of course the training climbs. For now, you can join in our Open Climbs for you to get a feel of it, it runs through July to December.

We’ve got a few months left for this year, but not a few climbs. My climbs have all lined up every month which will be concluded by our Mt. Apo climb this December. I’ve even said yes already to our Mt. Kinabalu climb next year, it took me a loooot of courage and motivation to say yes! And which also brings me to a conclusion that I have a lot more mountains to climb on to prepare for this. Whew!

To all of you who have been so supportive of this journey of mine, I want to thank you with all my heart. Keep those encouraging words coming, keep hitting those success stories, and keep showing us your fire in climbing burning. Kudos! 🙂

Date a Girl Who Climbs Mountains

Got this post from Gail’s Footprints blog. Reposted with her permission. 😀

Date a girl who climbs mountains. Date a girl who conquers steep slopes with a towering 60Liter backpack and muddy shoes. She will look at every challenging mountain with a smile on her face because she embraces adventure and she finds utmost exhilaration upon reaching every summit.

You will see how she loves and appreciates nature. Colorful floras and faunas delight her and will stop on the trail just to take its picture. Tell her you’re hungry. She will share her zip lock of assorted trail food: gummy bears, jell-O, Hershey’s kisses, granola bars and cookies. She will get her first aid kit when she sees a scratch on your arms.

Once she reaches the summit, she will spread her arms, close her eyes and lift her head up, breathing fresh air with a smile on her face. You will look at her and you will see bliss. She will sit there and wait for the sunset, gazing into the vast horizon. She will tell you stories about her first climb, when she encountered a spider in her tent and she will ask you questions about how you pack your backpack. Your conversation will suddenly stop when she sees the sunset. She will nail her eyes to the fiery sun as the sky ablaze with stunning shades of purple, pink, orange and red. Twilight bores you but you’ll notice that she still has this sweet smile on her face and you’ll wonder why…

She will surprise you with gourmet cooking in the mountains, just using a small burner, a small pot and limited spices and you’ll wonder how she made it so delicious. Sit with her on the grass and offer her a warm jacket while watching the moon and the stars. Make coffee on her Nalgene bottle. She will continue to share stories and will crack jokes about how funny you looked like when you slipped on a swampy trail. You envy her that after 8-10 grueling hours of trekking she still has this energy to make you laugh. When you ask why she’s still smiling after sunset, she will answer “Because I can’t wait to see the sunrise”

Propose while the sun is peeking from the East. Tie the ring on the shoelaces of her muddy shoes. Hold hands while walking down the mountain and take a side trip to a waterfall nearby.

When you marry a girl who climbs, the first time you see her walk elegantly on a flat ground is when she walks down the aisle towards you. She looks at you as if she’s looking at her long awaited sunrise…A lady of beauty, finesse and strength combined she will be. She will look gorgeous on her dress with flowers on her hair and a Suunto Altimeter watch on her arm. That’s the girl you will work up the mountains together, forever, literally and figuratively.

Expect a separate room for her outdoor stuffs. Get used to granola bars and jell-Os in the fridge and boxes of zip locks on the grocery list.

Love a girl who climbs mountains and she will share her positive outlook in life with you. Ask her why she climbs mountains and she will answer “Because it’s there”. Ask her why she married you and she’ll get your hand, put it on her heart and will say “Because you’re here”.

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The Girls of Batch Trese from L-R: Rose, Cel, Aizel, Lea, Me, Cha

Much has been said so I’m not going to add anything more to that. 🙂 I just want to dedicate this post to my girl batchmates! Wiiii! 🙂

On Major Climbs

First, let me define what a major climb is. Pinoy Mountaineer simply defines it as a climb that requires an overnight stay. On my own understanding, a major climb is simply those climbs that have a difficulty of 5/9 and up. Pardon for my basic definition, probably as I get through with  more major climbs, I can define it more precisely. Haha 🙂

More than the self-fulfillment and the surreal moment of being victorious after a difficult challenge, I just totally love how Major Climbs can reveal the character of the climber- the best and the worst, the strengths and weaknesses. It is at that liberating moment that you’d get to know yourself more than anyone else. The things that piss you off, the way you deal with stress while hiking with that towering full pack backpack, and your reaction whenever you see somebody at a slower pace than you. Major climbs reveal your heart.

A major climb for me is a humbling experience. The weaker my body feels, the more that I depend on the Lord’s strength for endurance. I love how Paul said it in 2Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Isn’t it amazing how somebody desires weakness just so he can boast off the Lord’s strength? I’m not saying that one should desire to be weak on climbs but there will always come a point in time that you’ll feel weak. It would be unusual if your energy level is always on high. I admit that my Mt. Tapulao Climb which was my first major climb took its toll on both my knees on our way down. They were literally shaking and involuntarily bending. I was with our very patient sweeper of the climb and we would pause for a while and rest whenever that happens. I remember even closing my eyes and would pray for the strength to finish it. So ask how did I manage to be triumphant on that? By taking that one shaky step one after another, and another, and a thousands other. It was that determination to finish that I made it. It was also at that glorious moment that I’ve realized on why mountains are being compared to the bumps in life. That despite that long rocky terrain, you don’t just give up. You strive harder, move on, and manage to be a stronger you. I even learned the “Patience is a Virtue” motto by heart.  (I might document our Tapulao Climb on a separate article)

I don’t consider myself yet a professional hiker, an experienced one, or anything near it. Nor has a strong athletic physical body to climb one. Honestly, I was even asthmatic before joining and my weight plays within the line of being underweight and normal. But I can say that I’m a strong believer of grace that is enough and that can surpass all circumstances. Hiking for me is about faith and grace. It’s not just about depending on your own strength brought about by prior body workouts, but on drawing the endurance and motivation from the Source of everything.

For those who haven’t tried a major climb, I encourage you to do so. Push your limits. Yet you’ll never know your limits until you push them. A tinge of truth that you wouldn’t know how difficult or insurmountable something is unless you try. Every accomplishment ALWAYS starts with a decision to try. I’m hoping that you would experience it the way I’ve experienced it: fulfilling and life-changing.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.

-Habakkuk 3:19

My First Major Climb is at Mt. Tapulao located at Palauig, Zambales. Difficulty is 6/9.

My First Major Climb is at Mt. Tapulao located at Palauig, Zambales. Difficulty is 6/9.

The Kikay Mountaineer

I went through a loooot of names before coming up with The Kikay Mountaineer as a name for this blog. And as of this writing, I’m still not sure if I’m going to keep this name. I’m an avid fan of Noelle de Guzman, the Kikay Runner, her blog where she describes her active lifestyle in running while being posh and stylish.I remember when somebody told me that I’m the Kikay Mountaineer version for there was this climb that I looked like a fashionista. Also, if you know me personally, I doubt that you would think that I’m a mountaineer. Yes, my thin pale body doesn’t even looked like it’s fit for climbing. I would normally surprise people whenever I say so. For when I’m not in the mountains, you would see me in a girly fashion: floral dress, skirt, body hugging tees, skinny jeans, heels, wedges, and flats.

Likewise, I’m not really into writing. But I do believe that one doesn’t need to be a professional writer, a hit blogger, or even a journalist to express his or her thoughts. One just need a heart that got the freedom to speak out and say what it wanted to say. I would like to deviate as well from Pinoy Mountaineer‘s blog where Sir Gideon Lasco archives his climbs with the itineraries, do’s and donts’, as well as tips on climbing a certain mountain. I do admit that I’m also an avid fan of his blog. The Kikay Mountaineer however is an archive of the author’s heart for climbing: motivating and encouraging each and every aspiring mountaineer.

The Kikay Mountaineer believes in the idea that more than the physical strength, mental and emotional strength are as equally important as the prior. For whatever the mind believes, the body can achieve. And that motivation plays a big role in climbing: motivation to say yes to a climb, motivation to summit, and lastly the motivation to finish.

I am in the pursuit to have this blog active while my active lifestyle goes on. The Kikay Mountaineer is excited to share her journey with you. 🙂

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