On the night of June 6, 2012, I was cooped up in a P200/night hostel room in Puerto Princesa by myself. If things had gone according to plan, I should’ve been trying to sleep while feeling anxious, excited and scared out of my wits at the prospect of climbing Mt. Mantalingajan the next day. But as with all things in life, climbs don’t always go according to plan.
First, I started having joint pains on my knees which must’ve been caused by the onslaught of training climbs in preparation for Manta. I had to have them X-rayed but they turned out to be fine and I got medical clearance for the five-day hike. Then the rainy season started with Typhoon Ambo and a brewing low pressure area in Mindanao. The bad weather made us hesitant to push through but conditions started to improve as our climb dates neared. This gave me hope that we may still have a shot.
Then the final straw: my two climbing companions backed out three days before the climb. They had valid reasons for doing so and I knew that I had to be understanding about it. Still, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed and frustrated.
For a moment there, I seriously considered doing the Manta climb on my own. The wimpy scaredy-cat with bad knees wants to do a solo climb of one of the toughest mountains in the country. This was obviously one of the most idiotic ideas I’ve ever had but at the time, my misplaced doggedness was getting the better of me. Good thing I have friends who were determined to knock some sense into my deranged head.
I thought about how embarrassing it would be if something bad happened during the climb. I’ll forever be remembered as the moron who tried to climb Manta against all sound advice and got herself killed. Not exactly the line I’d want engraved on my tombstone. I’d also break my parents’ hearts for no good reason. I posted this on Twitter as I was mulling over the failed Manta climb: We go crazy and take risks for our own egos; we hold back and play it safe for the people we love.
Celebrating my birthday on top of a mountain looking at this:
And best of all, hanging out with a group of awesome mountaineers who made my stay in Palawan worthwhile despite the aborted Manta climb.
I may not have reached Mantalingajan this time but the kindness of strangers (turned newfound friends) and the blissful surprise of ending up in beautiful places I never knew existed are more than enough to make this trip just as memorable.
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day One (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day Two (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day Three (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Day Four (misadventuresoftintin.com)
- Mantalingajan Traverse: Epilogue, Lessons Learned and a Million Other Things I Want to Say (misadventuresoftintin.com)