Monday, June 18, 2018

A Facebook-free Life

photo taken during my talk at AkyatCon 2.0

It's been a week since I deactivated my two Facebook accounts. And I feel free. I no longer feel like I'm living a life that others wanted to see or that I wanted others to see. I can't say it had been a bad life. But I sure can say it had been a life preoccupied with vanity. Now I can feel more peace. The clamor in the audience has died down. The audience has disappeared. Now I can catch up on my reading and blog posts. 

Blogging is quite different. My audience is anonymous. And I like the thought that I am not actively drawing people into my blog. I love the idea that people who land on this page are those who are genuinely interested in the content of the post. And what a pleasure it would be to see authentic appreciation again through typed comments as opposed to the clicked 'like' button! I am aware that there are only a few of you who get to read this post because I can't link this on my Facebook page now. I like it that way. That's how Lagataw gained a good following in the past. This is also how I filtered the audience. 

But apart from giving vanity a very powerful blow (I have always had this long-standing war against vanity), the bigger reason I deactivated my two Facebook accounts is that I wanted to focus on the things I truly love--writing and farming. They have been continually back-burnered because I had to give way to the life that Facebook had dictated I should live. I'm not sure if it's just me but working from home, I would sometimes find myself letting Facebook occupy 8 straight hours of my day. Like many of you, I have become drawn to glib memes that offer temporary entertainment and tiny bits of wisdom and trivia. But once, I found myself in a bookstore and leafed through the pages of a World War 2 book and I felt that it was what reading was supposed to be. It should involve materials that are published by real publishers. And I am happy now that I find more time to read real books not just 'Facebooks'. And hey, this has been my second article for this month. In the past, I could barely write one article within a month. Farming will come real soon.

Along with the deactivation of my Facebook accounts was the deletion of thousands of photos, files and videos in my Drive C. There was one moment in Antique that made me realize that the value I put on my 'treasured' photos is not real value. Maybe I'm just like you. We're reluctant to delete photos because we think that someday we'd be needing a particular photo for a variety of reasons: it could be as proof for a precious moment in time; for reference in status posts or probably for a research. But about a week ago, I was having dinner with a very good friend. It was a special dinner because we both talked about deactivating our Facebook and going back to the old ways of keeping in touch-- through call or text or probably snail mail. And I realized, I was not taking any photo of that dinner. I did not feel the need for a proof or memory of that special dinner. I was just okay with it being a fleeting moment. You see, we often love to immortalize things. Why can't we just embrace our humanness--that we can't contain time? It's called 'past' for a reason. 

So there, I've so far freed about 5GB of space in my drive. And I'm planning to have a second or probably a third decluttering session with my computer. Doing this does not only declutter my drive but it also declutters my life. When I lose one file that's one less file to think about; when I lose 500 Facebook contacts, that's 500 less individuals to preoccupy myself with. As a result, I find more time for myself. I am able to channel more energy into more things that matter more.


I'm definitely loving the change, or shall I say this revival of my old ways. Now I don't have to keep monitoring likes and purposelessly scrolling down my news feed. I am able to cultivate new worthwhile habits.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mt Baloy: The First and The Last.

On my fourth attempt, this decade-old quest was finally fulfilled.
With my buddy and brother by choice Kevin Jauod
Photo by Mark IAL
I should be writing a great deal about my recent Mt Baloy climb. After all, Mt Baloy has been my toughest nemesis of a mountain. And we took a route that is less taken by hikers: the circuit from San Agustin to Busog. But I guess this is what they call retirement phase.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tracing Iraynon Bukidnon Trails (TIBT) 2018 Race Report


The top two finishers of the 50K distance teaming up to battle the sweltering summer heat of Antique and the unforgiving talahib of Laua-an.
(photo courtesy of Mark Ian Vescatcho)

The inaugural 50K of Tracing Iraynon-Bukidnon Trails has been a testimony of the struggle, fortitude, defeat and victory of the human spirit! Everyone came prepared, so they thought. But what transpired during the race proved to be an overwhelming shocker even to those who had reconnoitered the route before the race. In the end only seven of the pioneering twenty-two brave warriors crossed the finish line within the 15-hour cut-off time.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mountain Horror Stories You Never Heard

Fear of the unknown keeps us going.

Our imagination is easily tickled by the story of the roving couple of Mt Cristobal; or Maricar, the lady who jumped off the 'dila' of Mt Maculot; or Taong Lumot of Mt Halcon and all other horror stories of many popular mountains in the country.


But I'm not gonna talk about them this time. Instead, I'll tell you of real-life horrors during treks. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

THE MOUNTAINEER, THE TRAIL RUNNER, AND THE ELEPHANT


As a man was passing by a group of elephants, he noticed that one of the elephants was leashed to a small stake on the ground using a flimsy rope tied around one of its legs. Surprisingly, however, it wouldn't attempt to break away even though it could pull out the stake with just a budge of its huge legs. Filled with wonder, he asked the trainer why it was so. The trainer told him that, when those elephants were younger, they were restrained using the same set-up. A few times  they tried to get away but they were still too young and too weak to break the leash. And they grew up conditioned to believe that they could not break loose.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

DON'T ASK; DON'T TELL Part 2 (ON ORGANIZERS)

Kagaya ng pag-ibig, wala ring forever na view...yung akala mong pure nature na panorama
biglang makikiapid si hand railings pagbalik mo (photo by Ed Glipa).


Many misconstrue Lagataw's 'Don't Ask; Don't Tell' Policy as greed -- that we don't want to share the experience to others. But in truth, it's quite the opposite! We don't disclose logistical information to others fearing that these others might take the wrong people to these treasured destinations.

You bring someone who panics when his substandard burner malfunctions, you burn Mt Pulag as a result. And all of a sudden everyone else may now be required to carry a portable fire extinguisher. The old experience is lost and can no longer be shared.

You organize a climb through the Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun route and you allow a fresh graduate of Mt Batulao to join you and she slips off Taktak or early on at the 'via ferrata' segment. All of a sudden Kibungan closes the route labeling it as 'not safe for TOURISTS'. And the qualified adventure-seekers can no longer experience the same thrill that the previous participants did.

This is the main reason why I reconsider many times over before I admit an organizer into the climbing party. Many organizers indiscriminately take guests to trekking destination oblivious of the technicality of the route.

As it is, this activity of climbing mountains is just not for everyone. The incapacity and ineptitude of many tourists fuel the pervasive Safety First dogma that consequently changes not just the landscape (via infrastructure that ensures the safety of selfie kings and queens) but the whole experience as well.

This photograph can no longer be replicated...


...because now, a fence has been constructed to ensure the safety of tourists (photo by Aris Aglupus)

Remember that when you cause a mishap on a climb, you're not only jeopardizing your group. You are affecting the whole industry! So I'm not sorry if I refuse you on my treks.


We don't ask and we don't tell because we want to share!


If you think others need to know this, don't hesitate to share it.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Project Onifa: A Mission; A Prophecy

I'm probably the creepiest stalker of Champion System (now The North Face Adventure Team) -- a team of elite adventure racers across Asia. And for a very long time, I had wanted to see a Filipino guy in their roster.



Ryan Blair at TNF100 Ph 2012

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Top Ten and one Hiking Stuff I No Longer Include on my Top Ten Hiking Stuff List



1. Bag Tags

Our climb ID during the first Lagataw Invitational Climb

I used to think climb bag tags were cool. We called them 'climb ID' . They were considered a validation for one’s being a ‘mountaineer’. I had two—one during my first Mt Pulag Climb in 2006 and another from the Mt Pulag invitational climb I organized in 2011. But these days, I see them as an indicator for hikers who have not outgrown their newbie fervor. I wonder if the likes of Romi Garduce still rave about bag tags. But bag tags are not solely for pormahan. They serve other meaningful purposes for others.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Lagataw Difference


Some of the destinations we take our friends to. (photo by Josh Pasia)

When I was kid I was the only child in the family who had roamed beyond the two-block radius around our home before reaching the age of six. In fourth grade, while everyone was using saw dust to show creativity in our map project, I used crushed egg shells for my map of Leyte. I have always had this thirst for uniqueness and discovery; to do what others do differently. And I’ve taken this principle even in my treks. Here are some of the things that make Lagataw treks different.

YOU deserve a holiday!

Booking.com
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