PEOPLE say I’m adventurous and brave. I say…. errrrr…

Let’s just say… errrr… okay… think… think…

It’s really like this. I don’t seek adventures but something else entices me that requires some effort to get it. In most cases the effort required is that of an adventure. As I wrote earlier, the photos the UP Mountaineers set up during my freshman orientation week were the enticement. It wasn’t about mountaineering, it was about being able to take photos of such views. Except that… in order to get such photos, you have to be somewhere up there, and that requires being a mountaineer. And so,  a mountaineer I became…

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Induction climb, Mt. Banahaw, November 1981: Top photo standing, Nilo Ocampo, Lormie Valino, errrrrr…, Bendie Aragon, Angel, errrrr…., and Ban Ibanez, and infront, Dondie, me, and Cleofe. Above, Binhi Santos-Cuyugan, Boboy Francisco, errrr and errrr… and Bendie Aragon.

Now up one of those mountains (Mt. Makiling to be exact), the peak was such a tiny space and there was vegetation all around, there wasn’t much to see. But there was a tree… And so let’s go back to the original equation: to get the photos you have to be up there. And so, up I went a tree with my mountain boots and all. I couldn’t dare remove my boots because Mt. Makiling is full of “limatik” (blood leeches) waiting in ambush on just about every leaf and branch.

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Up a tree on the peak of Mt. Makiling. Down there are (clockwise from guy in sweatpants), Luigi Gana, errrrr…., Bart Guingona, errrrr… (is that Lucas?), and Eric Acaylar.

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Angel (top) and Ellson (above) on Mt. Maculot.

Athletic? Nah. I huff and puff and get all scared all the time. But there’s always something that has to be done and so up I go.

Better opportunities await those who explore further, and so I trained for rock climbing as well. In all these, it wasn’t about the climbing, the bodybuilding, even the health benefits of climbing, it was all about what’s out and up there.

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Top photo: They’re not so clear, but those are Bobbit Palaganas and Bubut Tan Torres at the Montalban rockies; a portion of the rockies these guys called labia minora. And assisting me above is Eric Cadiz.

“Because it’s there” is mountaineering’s most famous three words, a quotation from George Herbert Leigh Mallory, who happens to have the same birthday as me although he was born a century ahead and who is an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the 1920s. He was supposed to have said this when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest.

I’m not Mallory, nor do I share his passion for climbing for climbing sake, but should you ever ask why I’m climbing, my reply would be, “Because there’s something there.” These days my climbs bring me to mountain communities where I learn from the villagers such that invitations to climb Mt. Apo fall flat, uninviting. There are no communities up there…

A score and a decade since I became a mountaineer what entices me to climb on now is more than just the view, beyond just what can be seen are those that has to be heard — the voices and the views of the people who are up there.


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4 Comments

  1. You have the burning passion to reach out to people. The climb may not be easy but you keep going because when you get to the top, you’ll enjoy euphoria. The voices of the people are music that soothes your spirit. The smiles that they put on their faces when they see you warms your heart and gives you joy beyond compare ❤

  2. Hello there! I’m Ina Pahati and I run a website http://www.climbphilippines.com…I‘m writing a blog about bolting, and trying to look for old pictures in Wawa, Montalban to include in it. While googling “Bubut Tan Torres” I came across this blog 🙂 I know it’s a huge favor….but would you happen to have other pictures of Bubut climbing/bolting in Montalban? I just had to ask. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi. I’m really sorry, but I don’t have any other photo. as you might have realized by now, these are very old photos, when the selfie world hasn’t even been imagined yet. you can ask around among UP Mountaineers. 😎

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