Two weeks ago, I decided to join an open climb in Tarak Ridge. The mountaineering group that organized the open climb seems like a very meticulous, lighthearted and responsible type of people (Edit: Yes they are! And the best chefs, too if I may add!) so hooray to random, intelligent choices. Asking permission from my parents was a breeze, especially my mom. She’s probably excited that I will finally get to use the bag and sleeping bag she bought me for actual camping. (Thoughts: Me too!) My decisions felt random. Maybe it’s because I was rearing to go somewhere that would take my mind off the following things: the godawful traffic of Manila, my responsibilities from my current work before I start on a new one, and staying put in August because of the ghost month. Lots of reasons, really. So when an opportunity presented itself and the schedule permitted it, why not, coconuts. Nothing to lose anyway, and besides, my tent has yet to have her baptism of fire. (She survived with flying colors! And I’ve put my raincoat on top the whole time we were there. #BagyoProofYourHome)
The greatest thing was, the whole time I was there, was realizing that nothing was random about it. I am usually very awkward around people I don’t know yet, since I have the heart of an introvert but I was immediately at ease even if my body was sore and bone-tired from all the trekking I’m not sure I was up for! But hey, I wouldn’t be here typing this entry if I wasn’t up for it now, would I? 🙂
The entire trek itself was the hardest I’ve done so far. Seriously, how can people walk so briskly on a 45 degree slope trail?!? And with, like 15 kilos on their back?! I was a tall turtle. Bumping my head on thick branches, crouching lower on even more branches, playing luksong baka on fallen trees, and surprisingly, not swearing this whole endeavor off. But yes, I do make uninformed decisions all the time.
After three hours of hiking, we finally set camp in Papaya River. After setting up my tent and eating lunch with the gang, I rested for an hour in “my house”. You wouldn’t believe the amount of giddiness I had setting up my home in the forest. It looked like a mess, but hey, my house, my rules. 🙂 I almost regret not bringing matching curtains, and a chair. Hahahaha! I’ve also bought a ground sheet after this for future camping endeavors. Thank you, Pulag parents (Sasha and Boss Joy) for the tip! 😀
I took a nap before heading to the more punishing part of the trail, the 2-hour assault to Tarak Ridge! It was definitely harder, since the slopes are steeper, and I really went all jelly-kneed. Daig pa crossfit ah. And to think, the only thing I brought for the assault was a small bag for my water and phone. And here’s the amazing part, hardcore people camp on the ridge itself. Seriously, you guys deserve all the medals in the world because I would cry rocks for even thinking of attempting to do that in my current state.
After a sumptuous dinner of sinigang and leche flan (!!!) in the forest, we had what they call are socials. Truly, they are the most amazing people you could possibly meet! I think that’s the secret in truly enjoying life, to not take it too seriously. I’m not saying you should go all buwis-buhay yolo, but more on adjusting accordingly to the situation, not overthinking, and being kind always.
After that, I took a dip in Papaya river just to wash off the worse of my smell hahaha! Brrr. So cold! Bukas na ako maliligo ng maayos! I got the chills at 1 in the morning because I haven’t really thought about layering since I’m just tired lol but hey, here’s a real proud adult moment, I was confident that I got this. I grabbed my socks, my gloves, my blanket and had a good sleep. 🙂
The trek back to the town proper was equally exciting because it was raining hard. So everything was 10x more difficult. The same crouching position on some parts, this steep muddy trail we had to negotiate for like the longest time because it was slippery, this wall of rock that we had to cross where the trickle fall that suddenly became a raging waterfall just after an hour of nonstop rains. I didn’t bother getting my water bottle because the moment I opened my mouth, I can take a sip from it. It was sweet. Like I said, exciting. Thank you Ma’am Lai for being my amazing partner in this whole thing! And my sigh of relief knowing you have climbed Mt. Apo! Singing rain-related songs in the middle of the forest while the rain was relentlessly falling would always be a surreal memory! Also, thank you Nanay Cording for being the sweet guardian of Tarak Ridge. Taking a breather in your yard plus the turon sold was the sustenance we needed after daydreaming of champorado and arroz caldo while trekking in the rain. 🙂
Anyway, the greatest thing was we all enjoyed this activity, no mishaps (thank you Lord!) and despite the body pain, I would be willing to do this again. They often said that not everyone understand why they go through all lengths for this, it’s tiring, expensive, and time-consuming but for the next 48 hours, I completely understood why and I want to enter that world someday.
Most of all, thank you to Metropolitan Mountaineering Society for chances like this. 🙂