Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rhovee Dadis on 'Is Mountaineering Sexist?'

'Mas gugustuin ko pang gamiting pambili ng pagkain at ipagluto ng masarap na pananghalian ang mga locals kesa sa ipambili ko ng shirt ang P400 na yan na ako lang ang makikinabang!'
Rhovee at Mt Kinabalu
And I just took the liberty to share to the public one of her text messages to me. I think that text message represents the serious and people-oriented mountaineer behind the cool and fun aura that Rhovee Dadis emanates. I share a lot of beliefs with Rhovee. She doesn’t preach but she does things! And they don’t have to be noticed. She just believes that things have to be done whether on her own or with groups. She has travelled far and wide and learned a lot of lessons from life. We never climbed together but we once crossed paths in Mt Batulao. Since then, we’ve communicated thru SMS and online. And we’ve made many common friends in Manila, Antique, Benguet and Mindanao. If I am very dedicated to preserving Mt Timbak in Benguet, she devotes her time dealing with the local authorities in Antique hoping that the mountaineering activities in Mt Madja-as may not be smeared by politics and commercialism. In spite of her time-consuming job, she has found the time to be involved in a lot of outreach activities in different places across the country including Benguet, Bicol and Antique. Many regard her as amasona for her vigor and fortitude. Some address her as vaklush for her lightheartedness and sense of humor. But I think her boyfriend is happy singing to her the same song that Melo Sanchez enjoys singing to Kat Ocol—She’s Always a Woman to Me.
Rhovee rocks!
Personal Information
Name: Rhovee Dadis
Alias (if any): Roby, Rudy or Manay Rudy
Age or Age range (optional): 26
City of Residence: San Jose del Monte, Bulacan
Hometown: Bicol
Profession: Technical Engineer/Specialist
Website/Blog (if any):

When was your first climb and where?
My first climb was in Isarog (Panicuason Trail) with my Dad and his friends when I was seven. However, I started getting hooked on this passion when I was a freshman in college. I joined the mountaineering club until 2004 and rested until 2007 to give way to my studies and to focus on swimming. When I left my dear alma mater to join the corporate world, I joined SYOUT (SYKES OUTDOOR) and that's when I got back on track. Even when I left the company (SYKES), I still continue to climb with SYOUT and with my new group EMRUCKS (Emerson Rucksacks).

Who and what inspired you to climb?
A lot of people inspire me every climb...From my Dad up to the people I meet along the trail who share their mountain stories and experiences. One of them is Ute Aytin, the humble Mangyan guide of HALMS who helped me make it to Halcon. His humility and aim to share his love with the passion struck me and showed me what mountaineering is all about. It is how you enjoy, respect and value mountaineering. It's not how many mountains you climb but how many people you helped to make it to the top and share the serenity of the summit. Another one is Pastour Emata, who keeps pushing me to my limits every time I climb with him. He said, he didn't make it to the summit of Mt Everest alone but he took with him the hope and support of the group who assisted him from the day he started training.

Why do you climb?
Mountaineering is my path to liberation. This motivated me not just to struggle to reach the summit but also to negotiate my freedom in a sport achieved usually by men. It's cool to get to the top of something you didn't think was possible. I love possibilities. Mountaineering made me find the little girl inside me and it introduced me to the woman I’ve become. This makes me feel alive! Just going through life is so boring and feels like I'm on the edge of nowhere. When I climb there is a growing spark inside me. I love to meet people from all walks of life and understand their culture. Mountaineering itself opens a door of amazing things and mystery in us.

Mt Mayon on the background

The adventurer Rhovee
What are the things that you’ve done that you think many men can’t do?
Climbing with my monthly period.

What has been the riskiest thing you’ve done?
Travelling alone in remote places

Do you sometimes wish you were a man because being a woman impedes you from doing what male backpackers can do?
Not at all, because being a woman does not hinder me from being a free-spirited adventurer. It’s just a matter of how you make things easier and manageable for you and not an issue of gender. 

What can women do in mountaineering that men can’t?
Everyone can do that whatever he/she wants as long as he/she is determined to do that! Both genders are equal from my own perspective.

In your opinion, are there gender-related risks in travelling/backpacking/trekking?
I won't deny that a woman travelling alone may put herself in great risk considering the crime rate nowadays. It's just up to you as to how you will secure and ready yourself at all times. I usually don't fall asleep while travelling alone. I usually sit either beside an old lady or beside the driver. I always take note of the travel time from one place to another. I don't forget to bring a whistle and a pocket knife. I also keep someone informed of my location wherever I am. I get all necessary information of the place I'll be heading to and make courtesy calls on the head of the municipality I'm visiting. Lastly, I keep a good faith with Him and never under estimate a situation.

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a backpacker/adventurer/trekker?
I was able to find happiness and beauty and test my own limits in the simplicity of the mountains. I was able to share my passion to some and they have come to love the passion I enjoy doing.
The mountains taught me and still continue to teach me a lot of things. It made me realize how trivial and petty my personal problems are and that life should not be taken for granted.
Another thing, I have gone to less travelled places and was able to reach out to the locals in my own little way.

What is your ultimate mountaineering dream?
Still climb and enjoy mountaineering until I get old. Bequeath this passion of loving the mountains to my children and grandchildren.

Who do you look up to or respect in the local mountaineering scene? (International if no one in the country satisfies your standards)
The three Pinays who made it to the summit of Mt Everest: and they never stopped doing adventures.
Another one is my good friend Pastour Emata.
International - Junko Tabei. She is perhaps best known as the first woman to summit Mt Everest (1975)

Quite a few male mountaineers have told me, they wouldn’t wanna marry a mountaineer (for varied reasons). Are you aware of any stereotypes on female mountaineers?
I’m not aware of any stereotypes on female mountaineers. I am one of the few lucky female mountaineers who fell in love with a MAN...correction...MALE, who shares the same passion I have. It's nice to share your adventure with the person who can understand what you are doing.

What should men know about women who climb?
They should know that even how feminine we are, we still feel valued when we are treated equal.

Do you think Mountaineering is Sexist?
No, not at all. For me, it's more of how an individual makes his/her climb easy and manageable. It's not a matter of masculinity but a matter of determination and passion. It's not a matter of strength but rather of one's ability and capability to subject his/her own self to the obstacles or challenges he/she will encounter. Mountaineering involves life-threatening risks and that there have been times when I considered quitting altogether. But the unseen beauty of nature and its unlimited healing power have lured me back each time I'm on the foot of the mountain.

What is your message (if any) to women who aspire to climb?
"Anyone with a pair of feet who can walk can climb. The most important thing is not being concerned about having the money, time or skills to climb, but the desire. Don't think too hard. Just do it."
Love what you are doing. Do not limit yourself. Try new things. Always keep a positive mindset. Lastly, make things enjoyable and never underestimate yourself from doing something you think is impossible!


  1. go vaklush...keep on climbing! see you again

  2. interesting species....

  3. love you rhovee..see you soon!thanks for everything.and yes, she is vaklush...:)-mylene lubina-enrile

  4. its a humbling experience that by the end of the day, it makes me a better person!! Mur blessing.

  5. oooh! si Rhovee! Small world :) Magkakilala pala kayo. Kasama ko sya dati sa mga climbs. Btw, thank you for your post on Timbak to Kabayan. We did it last December and we had the time of our lives. :)

  6. Yep, Rhovee is a good friend, but we have not climbed together. Thanks for visiting this site.

  7. rhovee-do, miss u na :) -jo annie

  8. c ma'am rhovee hardcore talaga yan! nakasama ko sya once sa majaas nung nov2010. :)
    angel p.


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