The only difference is that male backpackers can take off their shirts when they want to cool down!
When I look back at my old pictures over the past six years of climbing, I always tell myself ‘Astig talaga ang batang lagataw na yun!’. With all honesty, I would always advise anybody against doing what I did during my ‘newbie’ years in mountaineering. If I had been there when the newbie me started doing all those solo climbs and unguided cross-country explorations, I would have chastised and discouraged him from challenging the dangers of the mountains. I was delving into the unknown oblivious of the risks the mountains posed and unmindful of the damage I could have caused Mother Nature! Thanks to beginner’s luck I’m still alive and climbing!
And such are the impediments and deterrents to climbing—youth and inexperience. Throw in womanhood and you’re testing your limits rather out of bounds!
Kaila Sharlene C. delos Reyes – Bedural more popularly known as SHA is young, inexperienced and is a woman! This twenty-year-young woman from San Pedro, Laguna has done things that could drive any dad, big brother or boyfriend mad!
What all started as a wishful thinking at People’s Park in Tagaytay became a challenge and a passion during her first official climb in Mt Sembrano on February 20, 2011. Before she knew it, she was already in photographs she used to just browse and drool over. Then when she became a part of the Nomads Peak Competition in April, she experienced some of those so-called ‘abnormal’ climbs involving multiple peaks in a day. And on her twentieth birthday (in May), after climbing and bushwhacking in Malipunyo, Susong-Dalaga and Manabu with her teammates, she braved the treacherous trails of Sto Tomas, Batangas and traversed Mt Makiling to Los Baños, Laguna on a thunderstormy day ALONE! That was just her second time in Mt Makiling and one of her knees was still in pain due to the strenuous three-peak climb the day before. But she did it anyway!
But she should not be mistaken for an amasona from birth! She confesses that back in elementary and high school, she was a loner with no sense of humor! Her friends were just books and when she was not home, she was either at church, work or school. And this CHANGE in lifestyle is what she considers as her greatest accomplishment as a mountaineer so far! Apart from being one with nature, she learned to socialize when she started climbing. And to top it all off, she found the man of her life in mountaineering. So she couldn’t care less about any prejudices or stereotypes against female mountaineers because she is now happily married to my good friend Eduardo Bedural! And with many years ahead of her and a hubby who shares a common passion with her, her dream to at least lay eyes on Mt Everest or K2 is not far from happening. But for now, she’ll content herself with climbing all the mountains in the country.
Sha’s story, just like those of Cheryl, Kat, Rhovee and Imelda, is a message to women and men alike. Nothing can keep you from doing what you like: not youth, inexperience nor gender! All you gotta do is make that first step and let it be followed by 30,000 feet above sea level or more! Do it now! Seize the day! And you’ll just be surprised you are actually already up there!