Thank you Mount Pulag.

I never travel much. I am more of an indoor girl and very comfortable in my usual way of things.

I was working for a retail company and this activity is a requirement of the outdoor brand I was handling. They call it “immersion” so I’d experience first-hand our products or whatever.

I never thought I would go mountaineering in my lifetime but here are some facts – Mount Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines, next to Mt. Apo and Mt. Dulang-Dulang, it is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,926 meters (9,600 ft) above sea level and it sits in between Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya.

The realization that I am about to go there is terrifying. Snake bites, insect bites, diarrhea, e-coli from water, the worst, I could fall from cliff and die.

As the date was closing in, I see myself not joining the team. My participation shows responsibility for my role and I just had to join.

The jeepney ride going there was horrible from Benguet – imagine fast lane speed on slopes. The organic food was okay except when I almost died seeing a rooster’s head from the soup they served – yes it was organic. The weather was the worse, it was raining, it was muddy and when we got to base camp 3, the temperature dropped. The worst part was I got my period – no comfort rooms. I could not complain but I wanted to.

This trip was a nightmare. It was freezing.

By 3 am, the whole team was up and started walking. It was maybe an hour hike and the path were steep. I was very cold this time, but there is a sense of excitement I feel now.

The climb was hard, fogs hover on the fields. Our feet one step at a time and it was very icy.  Some of the boys started singing, some with their jokes, most of us, were simply quiet the whole time, we were saving our breath. This time my feet is tired, my head hurts from the lack of sleep and it was very cold now, I came to think of why people still go for hiking or mountaineering, and that this has been the worst experience for me now.

As we pass the last ascend and this part was sharp and slippery, I realized that when it comes to hiking, all you have is yourself. Going back to the basics, you come to realize that what you really have is yourself and this is your own battle. You must solve the problem in-front of you because nobody is going to do this for you. In my case, climb this freaking mountain

I can now say why hiking can be addictive. Because we comeback to be a different person after the hardship. I was a different person.

BY V.Diayon

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