I never liked the whole idea of climbing mountains. But I ended up on top of the Pico de Loro monolith in Cavite. How and why I got there? It’s a long trek but let me walk you through my journey.
Early this year, I found a new (and rather eccentric) hobby: mountaineering. I have climbed Mount Banahaw in Quezon and Mount Daguldol in Batangas for a camping class in the summer of 2010. I was just there for the company (and it’s a class requirement anyway so I really had no choice).
Last February 2014, I joined the guys behind SubSelfie.com as we assaulted the summit of Mount Pulag, the highest point of Luzon. It really was an achievement.
The view at the top of Pulag was so divine that I actually pushed myself to climb more mountains. Thus, I booked another trekking adventure to Mount Pico de Loro in Cavite. I saw enticing pictures from some friends. The summit looked so tantalizing that it can actually be included in those ‘Wonderful Places on Earth’ articles in Buzzfeed.
Having survived the challenges of Pulag, I thought Pico de Loro will be easy. But no, I actually found it riskier and harder to climb. The terrain was trickier and we had to step on humongous roots of century-old trees! There were parts that were steep enough, it’s close to ninety degrees! And we trekked without protective gear (I was even wearing shorts). But the adrenaline sustained me and we were able to make it to the campsite.
After lunch, the camp leaders asked the entire group (there were around 47 of us) if we’re still willing to proceed to the summit. They warned us that the next level won’t be as easy. Some of our co-trekkers stayed behind. But not me. As a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, I pushed myself to the next level.
True enough, it really proved to be challenging. Some parts were so dusty that our feet were slipping off, and we can only hold to rocks and occasional vegetation to lift our bodies up. That was the time I really felt I was putting myself in danger. But after an hour of trekking, we reached the summit.
But the journey wasn’t finished yet. The actual challenge was to climb the top of the monolith.
Most of my co-trekkers were content in reaching the summit; they decided to stop there. Personally I had a nerve-wracking time just by simply looking up and down the monolith. Admittedly, I had doubts if I can ever reach the top (alive). The summit looked like a massive chunk of rock that stood in the middle of a cliff. One wrong step and you can fall and die.
But I thought, I probably wouldn’t go back here in five to ten years. I don’t want to go home with “what if” scenarios in my head. So I decided to proceed.
Among the 47 original trekkers, only ten of us took the challenge of the monolith. We had to go down the other side of the mountain to reach the base of the monolith. It was the riskiest thing I ever did in my life. When we got to the base, two of our companions backed out.
The eight of us were still determined to finish the challenge. We held onto ropes (no harness, helmets, nor any gear) to climb. We were very careful in every step. We summoned all the courage and strength left in our weary bodies. One last push!
Reaching the top was a sublime moment. I never had this satisfaction for years. The view was so awesome that it reminded me how beautiful the world actually is. The fresh air relaxed our tired bodies; the exhilarating feeling gave us a renewed passion for life.
Going through the entire thing, getting bruised, hurt, nervous, tired and all those emotions — they were all worth it. It was an adventure of a lifetime. I will never forget this experience. Sometimes, it’s not about conquering mountains. Sometimes, it’s about conquering our fears.
[Entry 6, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Jervis Manahan is a News Reporter for PTV 4. He is also a Contributor for SubSelfie.com but is part of the original roster that founded the site. He was previously a News Writer for 24 Oras and Unang Balita and a News Researcher for State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. Broadcast Communication 2012, UP Diliman. Read more of his articles here.