I AM NOT JOINING THE FREEDOM CLIMB BECAUSE:
1. If I want to honor the heroes, I don’t need a companion to honor them. I don’t need a particular date or place to thank them for their sacrifices and noble deeds. In this write-up I honor all the heroes of the Philippines. Because of them I am FREE! I can blog for as long as I want. We can only imagine what Tandang Sora and the rest of the Katipuneros were doing at this time of day during the Revolution. You have no idea how it is to be constantly on the look-out and always in hiding. We are all lucky we live in this time in this united country. Tandang Sora never lived to see the McDonald’s and the Jollibee in the avenue named after her. And that’s a sad reality! Most of us only know Tandang Sora as a place in Quezon City. Don’t wait for the 12th of June to celebrate Independence Day. Celebrate it anytime. Celebrate it now! Remember the heroes, their deeds and their sacrifices. Let’s protect the freedom that they never had.
2. I don’t want to be a part of a record-breaking stampede of climbers on the mountains across the country. And besides, who really cares about the Guinness Book of World Records?! Do you know the current holder of the record that this Freedom Climb wants to set? Or for that matter, do you know any record in the Guinness Book? You don’t even know what record Junko Tabei holds! And her record is even easier to pronounce than the record for the most number of climbers to simultaneously summit different mountains in a country in a period of 24 hours...It’s a little too long dude! I am not even sure if the wording is legalistically correct. And perhaps nobody will dare correct me because most of you are just as ignorant as I am as to what the actual name of the record for this climb is. That’s the problem with Filipinos! We all hunger for world recognition. We all clamor for RECORDS! If you really want a good record, set it in school and company records. Records like the most productive employee of the year and the 2011 ten most outstanding students of the country are probably more significant and worthwhile than records like the longest suman in the world and the most number of people eating together on the street! Let’s protect our FREEDOM. Let’s not be a slave to this Western Book of Records. You’re paying a lot of money to Guinness just to have a title—a piece of trivia. Before using the people’s money to buy a piece of foreign merchandise, you may first want to look up the meaning of the word trivia and its adjectival form trivial in your dictionaries.
3. I don’t believe in that tree-planting gimmick! Tree planting doesn’t end in just planting seedlings. You have to see these seedlings through. It’s just a waste of time and effort if you just bury it in the ground and leave it for animals and irresponsible climbers to trample on. And your seedlings don’t stand a chance against the tractors and bulldozers of big mining companies. If you really want more trees, protect the old and strong ones. There is widespread mining in different parts of the country and some unsung heroes like Dr. Gerry Ortega and the botanist Leonard Co have died trying to save the rainforests of Palawan and Leyte respectively. And do you really think Mt Halcon is closed for the rehabilitation of the mountain and the education and training of the authorized guides? It was due to be opened in 2010 but perhaps the senator operating widespread illegal logging in the mountains of Mindoro and Samar is still not satisfied with his 10-year-or-longer ‘livelihood program’. Mt Marami is supposed to be a part Mataas na Gulod National Park but which spot in that barren area deserves the title National Park? Mt Tabayoc is slowly becoming Mt Timbak. The locals are encroaching upon its rainforests! And Ms Emerita Tamiray is single-handedly fighting for the preservation of the Mt Pulag National Park, which covers the area of Mt Tabayoc. Open your eyes guys! FREE your mind! There are better projects to focus our resources on.
Before you think of planting, deal with the cutters first!
4. It’s all BIG BULLSHIT! Let’s start with the title. FREEDOM CLIMB. Nationalism is a TREND in the country. It started with the rise of the people’s champ Manny Pacquiao. The Philippine National Anthem and the Sun and Stars became perennial guests on American boxing arenas. Then nationalism became an even more popular trend with the death of Francis M and the birth of FrancisM. This rapper hoped to enkindle amongst his fellow countrymen the spirit that is PINOY PRIDE. And everyone has seen Three Stars and a Sun worn buy teenage boys with caps worn backwards and baggy shorts that desperately reach for the ground! The death of Corazon Aquino also intensified nationalism. And the map of the Philippines became a proud emblem on shirts and just about any piece of clothing article in the country. These days, anything with the map of the Philippines and the three stars and a sun, or just about anything related to love of country is an instant hit. And this didn’t escape the minds of the entrepreneurs behind the FREEDOM CLIMB. They chose Freedom Climb instead of Climbapalooza to set a world record because of this trend.
Then they threw in the flavor of environmentalism, which is a global trend. They included in their itinerary the planting of trees. And who won’t be lured by the promise of being identified with the righteous and concerned environmentalists? Al Gore already did most of the conversion and evangelization part for the organizers. Everyone wants to be green now!
Third they mixed in the promotion of tourism in the country with the aim of generating income for the locals. Why can’t they, for once, promote responsible and fee-free travelling? They’re just poisoning the minds of the locals and introducing them to what the organizers do best—capitalism! Some travellers who travel alone just want to experience real kindness from locals. But these organizers have put a price tag on every bit of kindness the locals can offer.
And there’s the ultimate catch—the Guinness Book of World Records! No tool in commerce is more effective than VANITY! And Filipinos are great hitch-hikers of vanity! We hitch upon the accomplishments of a fellow Filipino and consider them our own. Everyone feels as if he were a brother of Pacquiao when talking about him! Can’t we, for once, take a step to build our own names?!
And all these bullets cater to the great majority of commoners—the gullible ones! And at the end of it all, IT”S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! You say P400 is nothing, but multiply it by the number of fools joining the climb—voila! It’s a magnificent gravy train for the organizers!
5. Lastly, I am not joining the Freedom Climb simply because I don’t like being organized by others! I have my own definition of ‘climb’ and ‘adventure’. I won’t buy that shirt just to be seen—just to be identified! Who needs identity when you’re a fan of anonymity?! And there is nothing wrong in criticizing an event before it happens. This is a part of a campaign to give everybody informed choices and decisions. You’re a fool if you criticize it afterwards. You stop a wrongdoing before it gets full- blown!
I AM JOINING THE FREEDOM CLIMB BECAUSE:
1. I want to honor the heroes and I want to celebrate Freedom Day on June 12. You probably haven’t taken part in any revolution. Well, I was in EDSA II and I’m telling ya, I had goose-bumps when I saw the movers and shakers of the country joining the multitude in the fight for Truth and Freedom. The spirit of any undertaking is intensified when two or more people gather. You will never know this when you’re a loner! And yes I want to protect the freedom that our heroes died for! The empire of Spain is gone! Do you know what empire is quietly enslaving all of us? Look at yourself in the mirror, you’re all covered in Columbia from neck to toes and you’re topped with that TNF cap! You speak of supporting local merchandise but you, a local mountaineer, voluntarily fall prey to this omnipresent Leviathan that is the American Imperialism. And if you think that only one organization will benefit from this freedom climb, you’re wrong. Outdoors shops hope to increase their sales after this event. The organizers have a vision that mountaineering will become a lifestyle very soon! And with our support, the local outdoors companies may have enough resources to fund their R&D so that someday they may be able to compete with your Columbia and The North Face. That is my idea of protecting our Freedom!
2. I want to be a part of a record-breaking undertaking of Filipino climbers who stand united. It is not the record that I am after. It is the ideals of the organizers that I will go there for! You probably have not been oriented by the organizers of the real itinerary of the event. Before you put the word stampede anywhere close to the title 2011 Freedom Climb, know first that the environmentally-concerned organizers have set a limit to the number of climbers in the mountains that will be covered by the event. And before you start throwing accusations of the participants leaving their trash behind, let the event finish first and go check for yourself if there is really garbage left behind! I trust the good judgment of the organizers and being mountaineers themselves I know they will never let the environment be abused. Remember we’re there to save the environment. I trust and support the cause and ideals of the organizers and I will encourage more because I know the cause is noble!
3. I want to plant trees and in my own little way help preserve and protect our environment! And you’re right! Some seedlings may die eventually. But only Mr. The-Glass-is-Half-Empty sees this as something bad and worthless! As for me, I’ll put your statement optimistically—Some of the seedlings will survive! And this is absolutely better than nothing! And if you wanna follow in the footsteps of Dr Gerry Ortega and Leonard Co, then go ahead! We will all thank you for that honorable endeavor. But in our case, we will fight this big mining companies and politicians by being bigger than them! They can continue cutting trees but our record-breaking number won’t stop planting! And you dare touch the issue of ancestral domain in Benguet! These people had been there long before Ms Emerita Tamiray saw Mt Pulag! The people of Mt Timbak and the vegetable farmers of Atok are the reason why you have on your table those cabbages, carrots, potatoes and broccoli that you thought were from Baguio! These people cultivate the land, they don’t destroy it! Only the ultra-conservatives label it as such. But do these conservatives give the locals any alternatives? They can’t go down to the cities as much as you can’t live up on the mountains because cultivating the land is what they do best! And as for you, sitting in front of that computer, and doing Facebook pretending to be productive is you best enterprise! There is more to LIFE than travelling—and that’s LIFE itself. Do you want to preserve these rainforests and leave the locals earning nothing just so you have a pleasant view during your travels?!
4. Yes it is all BIG BULLSHIT and only you are making a BIG DEAL out of this! Everything on Earth is Bullshit, ain’t it clear yet to you?! Facebook is bullshit, religion is bullshit Nike and McDonald’s are bullshit! But we all feed on this BULLSHIT! We are not in the time Adam and Eve. Some time in the history of the world, entrepreneurship was invented! And from then on, people have learned how to trade goods with goods and goods with money guided by mutual consent! And of all the entrepreneurial events organized, this Freedom Climb offers the clients a more agreeable deal than most other organized events. A much better offer than the promise of a healthy lifestyle by the record-breaking Run for Pasig. And P400 is nothing compared to the P3500 you paid for your race kit in the recent TNF100 Camsur. The effort-profit equation in this organized event leans heavily on the effort side. Whatever profit the organizers make out of this is nothing compared to the effort and time they sacrificed for this national event. And Jade of FIMO can totally get more profit from their family’s construction firm than from this petty event. I know a noble organizer who called off a Mt Pulag event after ending up with the equation EFFORT=P30,000 for the event. He just couldn’t sell his efforts and stress for P30,000. And that’s just a Mt Pulag climb involving around fifty climbers. A national event demands for much greater stress and effort! This is practically a pro bono from the organizers for the whole mountaineering community. And Jade and the other organizers know this. But they’re not giving up because they know that a bright future for the mountaineering community is pegged on this event. It is not the current profit that they’re calculating. It is the long term benefit for the outdoors shops and events organizers that they’re eyeing on. And this can only happen when you help them make mountaineering a national lifestyle—a much better lifestyle than running on hard concrete and breathing in the smog of Manila? But running has gained more support from people because they don’t pull each other down! Can’t we just for once stand united and emancipate ourselves from this crab mentality that has pervaded the mountaineering community?!
And thanks for that little piece of pop history. But I have to say, Nationalism should have been a trend long before Pacman’s rise to international phenomenon! The Philippines is a great country of talented and wise people! We deserve recognition! And the universe is conspiring for us to once again establish our presence on the world map!
5. Lastly, I am joining the Freedom Climb simply because I am not like you who can organize your own climbs. And I consider climbing synonymous with fun. And I can find more fun when I’m with people because, just like Alexander Supertramp, I believe happiness is only real when shared!
Thank you for taking time to read it through. As you can see, I can take any stand and defend it vehemently and steadfastly. And this argument could go on forever. The thing is, there is no right or wrong in making a decision. It is your heart that makes it right and your regret that makes it wrong. I hope, in my own little way as a mountaineer, I have helped you in coming up with an informed choice and decision. Whatever you think is right, FOLLOW YOUR HEART! And DON’T REGRET IT in the end. Instead learn and grow from it!