Half-Measured

And just like that, we’re on the second half of the year. In a few more weeks, I’ll be hearing that Jose Mari Chan song blaring from the mall speakers.

June was wonderful. And I may have found the perfect resolve to do a No-Rice diet as a lifestyle choice. (Gasp. A Filipina who doesn’t eat rice? That’s unheard of!)

Why? Because I realize from a 20-hour hike (round-trip) in Zambales that this love of mine is not going to fade anytime soon and I consider this major hike a gateway and breakthrough to the more challenging mountains Philippines has to offer. And in order to do that without crawling on the way to work the next day dependent on Salonpas, I must a) lose weight to have a leaner frame and b) build muscle strength. So for an indefinite time being, I shall bid rice adieu.

On a totally unrelated note, it feels weird to have someone greet you good morning and/or ask if you’ve eaten, got home safe, etc. It feels pleasantly unnerving. Unnervingly pleasant. And truth be told,  I like (having beer with) you. Even if you have such strange social media habits (Stop liking your own posts and using an alias like a jejemon haha), I’m glad you’re talkative like me. And just as secretive. Hehe. 🙂

I hope the second semester of the year will be fun.

5 Months

I’ve started on a new (cool) job recently but ‘recently’ might not be the word as it was 5 months ago. In a span of 12 weeks, I had measles, performed at a staff meeting too embarrassing to forget, attended a wedding from a different faith (I’ve always been curious about the interior of their churches!), cosplayed a well-loved fictional character, rode an alimak for the first time to see the heat of the action in construction, got a bit more knowledgeable about stone now, have better grasping of the jargon of the design and construction industry, and well, hiked a lot of mountains. Rizal has become a well-loved playground for a couple of wanderlusts that included a high school student, a millenial and a young-at-heart godmother. And this was just all in the latter part of 2016! Regrets include not doing this sooner but then again, no matter because 2017 is already ripe with places, faces and experiences so… there’s that to look forward to! 😀

This is a very short update.

Commitments

It’s been said that the more you keep your goals to yourself, the more it will happen. And I believe that. But at the same time, I want to say it to a few friends and well, strangers. To have someone tell me that, yes I can totally see you doing just that.

So, I’ll lay my cards and say it straight.

Someday, I will climb Guiting-Guiting (or fondly called G2) in Sibuyan Island, Rombon.

I have finally articulated why I want to do this so badly.

There are no shortcuts, no cheats, no easy-breezy path for the coveted summit. Unless there’s helicopter involved but hello, where’s the fun and struggle in that. This dream of mine requires commitment more than anything else. And I want to rise up to that challenge. As I’ve said to a good friend, 20 or so mountains will make me cry first before I can even deem myself worthy to set foot on Sibuyan’s soils. And it’s not really about conquering the giants because they are not the one who’ll do the adjusting right? It’s more on conquering my own limitations and knowing just how far I’m willing to go to for a sliver of chance.

We’ll see each other soon, G2.

Bataan Rising

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. 🙂

Stranger Things

Dear Self,

You know it’s a bad idea to binge-watch a show on a weekday but you still did it anyway. And it’s painfully obvious there’s no regret whatsoever because let’s face it, the show is frigging awesome. You didn’t grow up in the 80s so your knowledge of their pop culture is severely limited. But you enjoyed it. And that’s all that matters. For someone who loves her precious sleep, staying up until a little past 3am means the show deserves all the praise and hype!

You’ve watched it for curiosity’s sake, and have stayed for the genuinely good plot!

 

Trekking Merrily

I bought something from my wish list for so long last June. It was a pair of trekking shoes from Merrell that I got on sale in the mall near my office. For the past 7 weeks, it’s been sitting under my chair, waiting for the perfect opportunity to prove its worth.

So, last Sunday, my cousin, my kinakapatid (which is akin to a cousin, really), ninang and I went to Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez, Rizal for some fresh air, exercise and of course, waterfalls. It was a cloudy day so the trek was pleasant. I didn’t even have to wear my usual head “gear” consisting of a headware, shades, and hat to combat the punishing heat. Mt. Balagbag is an easy trek up to the summit fondly called Helipad but with its open trail coupled with the summer heat, it can be unbearable. Lucky huh? Whew!

So how did the trekking shoes fare? The onset of the rainy season made the wide trails muddy so now, my shoes didn’t look like it’s been used for the first time. The cushions kept my feet comfortable and there are no blisters as well. When I tried walking on the shallower parts of the water, it was waterproof and quick-drying. P2,900 well-spent! (I’m a sucker for good deals! I don’t usually buy stuff just because it’s sale but when I’m set on buying something, it gives me tremendous joy to know it’s discounted as well!)

It was foggy at the summit and we had a sumptuous lunch of tapa, lechon kawali and nilagang baka and copious amounts of rice. I made tuna sandwiches for our tiny group and there’s even chocolate! It’s Sundays like this that I love the most. It was the perfect ending to July and a great respite from the restlessness in our hearts.

We enjoyed it so much that we’re plotting another climb sometime soon. We’re thinking Mt. Binacayan and Wawa Dam because why not?  🙂

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At the summit of Mt. Balagbag, Rodriguez, Rizal

Trekking Shoes-5 Stars Experience-Priceless  😀

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