Not My Mother’s Daughter

Today is Mama’s birthday. I’ve written a few articles and blog posts (and one atrocious poem) about her over the years but each one always seems hollow or superfluous or just problematic in some way that I can’t quite pinpoint. So I try again and again. Here’s yet another attempt.

She’s the bravest and strongest person I know.

She climbed mountains and crossed rivers to provide basic healthcare to remote communities. She faced off with politicians, military men, communist and Muslim rebels, and run-of-the-mill bandits just to do her job.

She was my real-life example of feminism long before the concept became cool in college. She taught me about condoms and contraceptive pills when I was in grade school, long before the heated debates over the Reproductive Health bill.

I’m the daughter of a confident, determined and passionate woman but as a child, I often wished for a different mother.
Continue reading

About these ads

Date a Guy Who Climbs Mountains AND Hunts for UFOs

More than a year after posting, Date a Guy Who Climbs Mountains still gets a lot of attention. And I’m baffled that people actually took it seriously. Not that I’m complaining. I love the traffic it brings in. I haven’t written a new post in five months but the blog still gets decent hits mostly because of it (and this related article). So thank you, people who appreciate cheesy blog posts.

One mountaineer, however, was grumbling that it doesn’t fit him because there was no mention of aliens and UFOs. (He’s into that sort of thing, I don’t know why.) Well, that’s just the kind of statement that’ll make me go Barney Stinson on your ass. Challenge accepted!
Continue reading

Mt. Palali Day Hike: Anatomy of a Screwed Up Climb

Nung sinabing day hike, napangiti na lang ako,” our guide said, telling me how he found our idea of trekking Mt. Palali in a day mildly amusing and downright ridiculous. I was in no position to argue. It was pitch dark and I was lying on a plank of wood in the middle of the forest, swatting mosquitoes on my face while making a mental list of what we did wrong.

Kuya Roldan and I had been in the campsite for nearly an hour waiting for my three teammates. We still had a long walk ahead of us to get back to the jump-off. By my estimate, we’d complete the trek by 9pm, nearly four hours behind schedule.

Palali trail
Continue reading

Balingkilat Traverse: What You Need to Know

Mt. Balingkilat (1,100 meters above sea level) is one of the highest peaks among the mountains of Subic, Zambales. It’s in the same area and shares a common jump-off with Cinco Picos and Mt. Dayungan. The traverse to Nagsasa Cove can be done as a day hike or a two-day trek.

It’s an open trail throughout the climb. You can seek refuge from the sun in Kawayanan, a small campsite about an hour and a half away from the trailhead. It can get excruciatingly hot in the summer months so if you want to avoid the heat, schedule your climb during rainy season (June onwards). There are inherent risks in a rainy climb though (e.g. slippery trail, strong river current) so be cautious and prepare accordingly. If you’re climbing in the summer, make sure to bring adequate water for the entire trek since water sources may dry up. It’s also good to start trekking early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the scorching heat.
Continue reading

Balingkilat Traverse: An Unexpected Difficulty

I knew a day hike of Mt. Balingkilat was going to be a long trek. I didn’t count on having flashbacks of my climb in Guiting-Guiting while scrambling on its rocky trail.

At 1,100 meters above sea level, Mt. Balingkilat is among the highest peaks in the mountain ranges of Subic, Zambales. Its name means bahay ng kidlat (house of lightning) in the native language of the Kulot, the Aeta community in the area. Locals attest that during thunderstorms, lightning always strikes on the mountain, hence the ominous name.

Mt. Balingkilat as seen from Mt. Dayungan

Mt. Balingkilat as seen from Mt. Dayungan

Continue reading

Gulugod Baboy Climb: What You Need to Know

Gulugod Baboy, which literally means “pig’s spine,” is a range of minor peaks (525 meters above sea level) located in Barangay Anilao in Mabini, Batangas. Anilao is more famous for its dive spots but the nearby hills are also a popular hiking destination that’s easy enough to be tackled by newbie climbers.

Gulugod Baboy Continue reading

Getting Sappy on Gulugod Baboy

Life is easy on Gulugod Baboy. It takes an hour, a couple of hours on a slow pace, to get to the peak. The gentle slopes allow for a gradual climb without busting one’s lungs or knees. There are convenient stopovers for halo-halo and soft drinks along the trail. It gets hot on the open trail but you can choose to start hiking late in the afternoon to avoid the midday sun.

The rolling hills look like a rundown version of Rakuh a Payaman, a perfectly gorgeous pastureland in Batanes. The greenery is still beautiful but there are large patches of burnt grasslands and bare spots indicating that a few too many human feet have been there. Cow dung and pieces of garbage litter the sprawling campsites. The cows can get a little too friendly and may “knock” on your tent at night but a good whack on the tent wall or a shooing noise is enough to scare them away.
Continue reading

Kanlaon Climb: What You Need to Know

Contact persons:
Angelo Bibar, DENR Office Bacolod – 0917.301.1410, email: angelobibar[at]gmail.com
Jigz Santiago, Canlaon City Tourism Office* – 0921.560.6022 or 0907.7039.828

*Jigz can help you arrange the climb for the Mapot-Mananawin trail. If you’re taking the Wasay or Guintubdan trails, just contact Sir Angelo Bibar directly.

How to process the climb permit:
1. Get in touch with the contact persons and ask them to email you the pertinent documents which include the booking form, mountaineer information sheet and waiver.
Continue reading