Thursday, January 20, 2011

WHAT IS ADVENTURE FOR A LAGATAW?


I don’t have a clear itinerary.
As a traveller, I usually don’t have an itinerary. Well, I have an ETD Manila and an ETA Manila, if you consider that an itinerary. As long as I can project the expenses, I’m good to go. That’s pretty much all I do—GO! I sometimes don’t have a clear destination. As I have said elsewhere on the internet, anywhere could be a destination. Every place has its own beauty. And with your obsession to reach your ‘planned destination’, you fail to see the beauty of the little things that greet you along the way.
I travel on impulse.  And it is during these spur-of-the-moment trips that I discover something other travelers would die for. Carabao Island, Mt Napulak, Mt Timbak, Nogas Island, Alto Peak, Samboan, Mt Tabayoc (which led to Luzon 3-2-1), Valderrama (which led to an attempt at Mt Baloy and my introduction to Igcuron), Badeo (which led to my discovery of a cross-country trail from Benguet to La Union) and a lot more were all out of caprice!
I used to say “I love getting lost!” but on second thought, I never get lost. I JUST FIND MYSELF IN A NEW PLACE. And then I find my way back home. It is really not the destination, never the itinerary and not even the journey anymore. It is simply GOING! The moment you GO, there your adventure begins!

I travel only with my equals or my betters. Otherwise, I travel alone.
A companion already diminishes the flavor of adventure in your trip! Make that companion slow, picky, clumsy and ‘windy’. Your trip becomes a disaster! How do you enjoy a trip when your buddy keeps looking for good food, a comfy bed and a nice hot shower? How do you enjoy a trip when someone beside you keeps asking ‘What time do we get back to Manila?’ My trek in Mt Marami and the four lakes of Ballay wouldn’t have been adventure-filled if I had not done it with a buddy as brave as Nixon Olbes (R.I.P.). My conquest of Mt Arayat and Mt Tenglawan would have turned out to be just another stroll around Quezon City Circle if me and my buddy Alvin Evangelista had not been able to steer clear of the services of a guide. I wouldn’t have seen Mt Baloy and Mt Napulak up close if it hadn’t been Myand Abao with me on the island of Panay! But when these daring individuals aren’t available, I prefer to travel alone. I love travelling alone primarily because the adventure is maximized. Until now, nothing beats my solo traverse trek in Mt Makiling. My solo climb up Mt Marami, during which I camped alone in the mountain, comes a close second! And my solo cross country trek from Benguet to La Union will remain a milestone in my ‘mountaineering’ life in the Philippines.
But more than the thrill of adventure, I love travelling alone because I want to meditate. I want to be one with nature. And I want to commune with the place and the people I visit. It is in this interaction with people that I find solace and learn more about LIFE. They’re more open when you’re alone. But when you come like an armada of hungry rhinos, they’re more aloof! And what could have been just a simple visit becomes either a stampede or an invasion or both! 

I avoid guides.
As long as they are not required, I don’t take the services of a guide. The more you rely on guides, the more your instincts fail you! Courage and adventure becomes synonymous with safety and fitness training programs. The first unguided trek I did was my Pico de Loro traverse. I had been trekking for less than a year then and it was only the second mountain I had climbed. I trekked Pico de Loro up the Ternate trail and descended via the Nasugbu trail. I was with my friend who was also not a hiker. Everyone in the campsite tried to talk us out of it! That’s the thing with old-school mountaineers. They think only they can do it! Then, with the same friend I climbed up Mt Timbak (for the first time) via KM 54 entry point and went down the KM 55 road. Four days later, we trekked from the peak of Mt Amuyao down to Pat-yay, Cambulo and Batad on our own. Our guide refused to accompany us on the traverse trail because he had never trodden that track! And almost all my other treks were accomplished without a guide! The only mountain I failed to summit without a guide was Mt Natib. I think that was because I climbed it with other people who interfered in the planning. It is always a good feeling to test and push your limits. You realize that Mother Nature really ain’t that tough! You just have to get to know her. And she will take care of you. She has left signs along the trail. It is for you to learn how to read them!

I survive
It’s never a perfect adventure if you never come back home! How I survive is not really an enigma! There are things I rely on to survive! And I will discuss them on my next post!

9 comments:

  1. Waiting...

    Keep the great stories coming Sir!

    - Borriz

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  2. Thanks very much Sir Borriz. The support of people like you is what motivates me to keep sharing stories about my travels!

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  3. Great! love your posts Sir! :)
    -IC

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  4. nice sir.. galing nyo akyat and traverse ng solo.. ingats sir.. tanong lang sir yung photo it mo sa mt.marami anung trail yun? thanks

    -gel

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  5. @IC: Thanks po. hope you continue viewing this site. I promise to deliver better stories and adventures.
    @ gel: yung photo IT na yun sa new trail po yun. At mga two years ago pa po yun, mejo nagbago ang mukha ng new trail, in the sense that may nadagdag na forks pero may nadagdag na mga locals na pwedeng mapagtanungan. thanks for viewing my site sir!

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  6. nice posts, sir... we share same sense of adventure. I usually don't take guides if it's optional. I just use the internet and friends' suggestions before going outdoors and I climb solo or just with a friend... hope you could share some more to my next climbs... thank you...

    -gem

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  7. ang cool ng trip mo sir!..gusto ko din sana mag.try ng solo trip kaya lang may takot pa kasi..hehehe..THANK YOU po sa mga posts niyo dito..it really meant a lot for me na newbie pa lang po..for sure..magagamit ko mga tips nyo dito!..ingat po lagi sa mga trip niyo..^_^

    -aiai

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  8. Travelling on impulse...I also do that, but i never really get to travel alone often..sometimes it is also good to share a good adventure with some friends :) I came across your blog while looking for a route similar to our guideless trek to Mt. Lanaya..funny because we trekked that same yellow lines (even the Lanaya-saag) hehe. Nice blog SIR. :)

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  9. Hi sir, came across your site as I;m looking for a mountain to do alone. Now I'm hooked. You have lots of quotable quotes here that's really worth reflecting. I'm a newbie relative to you but everything you said here is very true. I started climbing alone (having no mountaineering friends to tag along) but as I go with groups, my instincts and courage started to weaken. Now I don't think I can do a mountain alone. I need to find that adventurous spirit again, thanks for your words. Btw, I came from the town of Igbaras in Iloilo, and climbing Napulak as my home mountain is one of my targets now.

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