Prelude: Back in the North

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I always make it a point to become better, or at least, happier, at everything. Or Not. Truth is, I’m just perennially bored, and those things called mountains alleviate this fear called stagnation. 

With the ubiquity of slopes and hiking destinations scattered all over the archipelago, I think Philippines has become a mountain-mad country already, thus, this lot of hiking enthusiasts out there, and mountaineers, and those pretending to be one, that which includes me. Anyhow, after crossing-out at least 20 peaks off my list for the last two years, I finally had this golden chance to meet this fine, boisterous giant at the north last year, no less than the highest peak in Luzon, Mt. Pulag.

So we drove up to Baguio the night before the actual climb which means we won’t be having a good night sleep for the remainder of that day. And it’s hard climbing a mountain without enough of a rest to say the least. Nevertheless, I took every opportunity to snatch some nap while taking that long bus ride from Manila to Baguio in preparation for the rough day coming up. In no time, we arrived at a freezing Baguio City at around 3 AM, a little early than our scheduled trip. A little over an hour of waiting followed, then we rode off in a jeep bound to the jump-off point.

Not long after, we hit the road again and it was already the birth-stretch of the sun. I found myself on that reminiscent winding road of pines and ridges on the sidelines once again. I have been travelling the same road for a number of times already yet the travel high it caused me was still madly intensified. Every single time. I still had those little chills of excitement like it had always been the first time. And just before falling to a deep slumber off the jeep, the gloom towards the north perfectly matched with the darkness on the far south. So then I tried to capture on memory every twist of the road in awe with every turn of our wheels.

Few more turns and we stopped for a sumptuous breakfast at a local eatery along the way, then stopped for awhile at the DENR office for some reminders about respect through a quick briefing on how to rightly conduct ourselves while braving the chilly trek. We finally continued on our ride to the Rangers Station at the base of the mountain, had a quick lunch and proceeded to do the three-hour trek to the camp on top.

And that’s where it all began – right there on the playground of gods, ready to play some goddamn games of our lives.


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