Monday, January 14, 2019

Why Organize Hikes

Back in the day, I would only climb with the same buddies. But like everything else, hiking had to evolve.

Why Organize?

I once wrote an article on 'Why I Climb Alone'. This time I'll be telling you something quite the opposite. I organize hikes. Why?
First off. It's lucrative. You can earn as much as PhP30,000 over the weekend with just a full-van-capacity climb size of 12 pax. And that's after the costs. Did you know that there are organizers who charter a whole bus for their participants. Do the math. Pretty attractive, eh? One event every month is enough for you and your family to get by, you'd say. Well, at least you're well over the PhP10,000 poverty line income once set by NEDA for a family of five.

Secondly, there's no second reason! Let's face it, pera-pera lang yan. It could come from the event fee that you get directly from your guests or from the 10kg weed you bring down from your destination. Fame? Sex? I'm not the best person to ask.

However, while there's one big reason and plenty of other little reasons to organize hikes, it is not a walk in the park at all for an organizer. There are things that will make you think twice before organizing a hike.

The 'Backout Dancers'

Some hikers have coined the term 'backout dancer' to refer to those 'joiners' who back out at the last minute. Unless you have a non-refundable full prepayment policy, backout dancers will really hurt your income.

The 'Backout Drivers'

If there are backout dancers, me and my small-time organizer friends also find challenge among backout drivers. They'd commit but on Day 0 they'd give you a lot of lame excuses. The truth is they just want you to raise the price of their service. Nyeta!

Bad Trip Bad Weather

What happens when inclement weather hits your schedule and destination? You cancel. Bye-bye event fee. Or you can try to be bida-bida. WE SURVIVED TYPHOON INENG! But good luck! Don't get me wrong. Danger thrills me too. Where's the adventure when there's no risk? But that's just me. It's a different story when you're taking other people who trust that when you give them the go signal that means you've got everything figured out. They pay you to check the extended weather forecast; to plan an evac; to bring all the survival tools; essentially, to take them to hell and out of it.

The Risk

Just because your destination is Mt Ulap doesn't mean there are no risks. Risk is directly proportional to how 'pabebe' your guest is. Let's not judge them. Let's judge your promise: your sales pitch. WITH ME, YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE! I've had three near-death experiences myself. And I am not even counting those times when I was alone on a trail with little to no food and hydration, in the dark or under intense heat. I know my extents and limits but once I'm on a mountain, that means I've signed a probationary contract with death. How much more if you're with twelve other individuals whose capabilities you know little of?

The Whiner

I don't get a lot of these entitled dissatisfied guests but they could really hurt an organizer's business when they start talking on social media just because he/she didn't get to see the sea of clouds promised by the promotional materials.

The Anti-YOU

No matter how responsible or virtuous your enterprise is, you can't please everyone. There will always be people in the industry who will do everything to bring you down. But, like they say, no one will bring you down if you're not already up there!

The Politics

You'll see this in a lot of aspects in hiking.
You'll hear of a municipal ordinance requiring organizers to apply for a business permit at the destination's LGU.
You'll learn of a memorandum banning the entry of hired vehicles in an area unless the operator is from that area.
You'll get acquainted with a tourism officer who is more interested in knowing how much you're charging every guest than in providing you with capable guides.
There may also be a tourism officer who will give you the red tape because you don't kiss his ass.
There could be a park ranger who will also disallow you from trekking because the guide you hired is someone from the other side of a family feud.
It won't be long before TESDA comes on the scene. Believe me, they will.

So why do we still organize hikes? Well, some have learned how to deal with backout dancers, or to do away with backout drivers, to ignore the bashers, to mitigate risks, to pacify whiners and to get around the politics. And to most, the profit still outweighs the challenges so they carry on. Some of us also see hikes as an avenue for other social enterprises. You can spread awareness about causes and agenda you espouse. You can recruit people to a philosophy or principle. You can solicit help to help others in return, or you can also sell shirts and make your own brand.

So there, I've presented the motivation the deterrents and the reason in organizing hikes based on personal experience and observation. I'm sure you can share more. Feel free to comment below.

And if you find this post helpful or informative, don't forget to share it.


  1. THE WHINER!!!!
    pota, eto yung masarap iiwan sa gitna ng kawalan. self-addressed "harkor" daw pero unang bungad sa'yo eh kung may porter ba yung group na pwedeng pasahan ng gamit!

  2. mga rason na night before the event. sir
    nagkatrangkaso ako d ko expect, may emergency meeting pla kmi importante kasi, etc. haist : mabait eh. sige okay lng ang reply nlng lol.


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