April 9, 2016
I was blessed enough to be a contributor for a charity climb. I’ve always wanted to be of service to others, and being able to climb a mountain while doing it just seemed like the best possible scenario. This hike to my father mountain was for the benefit of the NHTA Center for Education in Cainta, Rizal.
I was approached by my officemate to help guide their group on a fund-raising climb on the mountain since I had already hiked here a few times. Seeing this as a way to help out those in need, I agreed. My friend Rosalie (see her blog entry for this hike here) has also climbed the mountain before and was my co-guide so I was not pressured as much.
I made my way to Evercrest (Hillcrest) in Nasugbu by way of commute, while the participants and the organizers where traveling via rented van. After a bit of waiting, I met the group and we started the hike.
There’s really not much to be said that I haven’t before, Mt. Batulao is just as beautiful as the last time that I was there. Some of the locals recognized me so that was pretty cool. We took the regular Old-to-New trail traverse so that the descent would be easier on the group.
Thankfully, the weather was very accommodating. I was afraid it would drizzle a bit at the start, but the skies turned clear in no time. I was at the back of the group as the sweeper but I would advance at times and talk to random members, trying to get to know them better.
Being a sweeper is a chill job, you’re only as fast as the last member of the team, and I had Charlie and Eybi with me, who also appointed themselves as sweepers. We had a lot of conversations as we climbed so we didn’t really feel pressured by the time.
All the participants were very cooperative. It was a mix of first-timers, beginners, and veterans so everyone had their own unique experience. But they all followed the LNT principles and all other trail etiquette.
I was packing light for the trip, only carrying a small bottle of hydration. I’m not stingy when it comes to this mountain, and in almost every store, I had a round of buko juice. No problems of cramping for me. Support local, lol.
I was still a bit disturbed by the amount of trash along the trails. I decided to collect a bit of plastic bottles, wet wipes, and wrappers along the way. For the other junk I missed, National Mountain Clean-up Day is happening soon.
I’m thankful to have friends who take great pictures of me. I’m really a sentimental person so these pictures are just a few things I’ll be looking back to when I’m a wrinkled, old man.
When everyone finally reached the summit, we took a lot of photos and had some refreshments before descending. There weren’t a lot of hikers at the summit, probably because we arrived a bit later than the usual rush hours. Finally, we went down to have lunch at the last registration place in the new trail.
Sometimes it’s good to take things slow, basking in the glory of nature. I just really, really love this mountain so much, you guys.
As you may have noticed, I wasn’t wearing pink. Sadly, my clothes are still in the laundry because I’m too lazy to make-laba. So it was just my blue rashguard. I don’t really like long sleeves, but I was told recently that I have skin cancer in my family history so I’m doing my best to not get affected this early. You may be pleased to know that I’ve also started using sunscreen before hikes.
The way down the new trail was easy for the group, and after the climb, we washed off and had early dinner at the numerous Bulalo-hans in Mahogany Market. Having commuted my way to Nasugbu, I bid farewell to the group on their vans and took the long bus ride home. Having climbed Mt. Batulao again and doing my small part to help others made the day a very fulfilling one.
All in all, a successful climb. Thank you to Mam Tin, Rosa, Faye, and everyone who attended and helped the Climb for a Cause event. I’m sure the benefactors will be very happy to accept your contributions. Thank you to the Big Guy for the wonderful weather and an injury-free climb. As always, all for Your greater glory.
Travel safe, and don’t forget to bring your smile.