On the early morning of my last day in Romblon, I stood facing you from the shores of a quiet beach. The thick clouds that usually cover you were not there yet. I could see your famous jagged peaks and the lush greenery of your forests. I remembered how just two days before, I walked, climbed, crawled and scrambled my way along your trails. It was tough. It was scary. But it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had and for that I will forever be grateful.
Thank you for letting me reach your summit. I never would have thought that I could cross those sharp rocks or maneuver through those narrow crevices considering that my rock climbing skills are virtually nonexistent. The nearly four hours of summit assault were not easy. You did not intend it to be easy. But you made it doable. For each step, I could find a solid foothold. Whenever I reached up, I could find a stable handhold. You are fiercely protective of your highest peak but you’re also generous enough to allow those who persevere to reach it.
Thank you for letting me see how enchanting you really are. I have never seen so many breathtakingly beautiful flowers and bugs in one place. The exhaustion and physical pain fade away whenever I look around and see the stunning flora and fauna surrounding me. The sight of a delicate flower or a funny-looking insect never fails to make me smile even when I’m dead tired and my feet are killing me. I am still in awe of all the wonderful things I saw and yet I’ve only seen so little of your vast natural riches.
Thank you for letting me achieve something I never thought would be possible. I’ve always been a wimp growing up. I had asthma as a kid. I was excused from sports and physical activities in grade school. I didn’t even have my own vegetable garden plot in home econ class because people thought I’d drop dead from the strenuous labor of turning over a scrap of soil. Never in my wildest dreams have I imagined that I could one day climb a mountain as tough as you. But I did. I’m no hardcore mountaineer, that’s for sure, but I may just be the luckiest wimp in the world.
My friend said mountain climbing is not just about physical skills but about having the desire and the heart to reach the summit. This rings true for me but not because I have such a strong will and unwavering determination to reach the peak no matter what. It’s because whenever I see a mountain, my heart drops and I fall in love with it. I saw you for the first time while we were on a boat approaching Sibuyan Island. You were terrifyingly beautiful and beautifully terrifying. You had me in a heartbeat. It was love at first sight and I knew then that I had to do this climb.
I’m now back in my room with only photos and the fading bruises on my legs as souvenirs of the time spent with you. The whole thing still feels surreal. I still can’t believe I got to experience you up close and saw such beauty that literally made me cry. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and I don’t know what else to say except that I hope I’d get to see you again.
- Maladies and Malaise on Mt. Kanlaon (Part 2) (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day Two (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day Four (misadventuresoftintin.com)