Blog, Mountains, Stories

More Than We Ask For

4I thought it’s a matter of choosing to lose something, and it never gave me reason to lose hope then.   God has a lot more to give. I have kept praying and asking God for opportunities to come, often I asked for His mercy to give me what I needed despite my failures and mistakes. Yes, He is giving me what I prayed for and thanked Him much for that.

There was one time, a surprise text message received after attending holy mass (with my petitions prayed). I was hired as Area Coordinator that I applied for in one of the DSWD 10 projects while waiting for DA 10 notice of hiring PRDPs Project Development Assistants. But it was one sort of short notice to report immediately the following day for a four-day training and orientation, so I confirmed to attend, grabbing one good opportunity.

But then, I have one important event to attend on the 3rd day of the scheduled training. One event that I aimed not to miss for it has been planned and prepared since July 2014; plane tickets booked since September 2014 with my rucksack packed and ready. I have also been saving amount for a period of time for the trip so it won’t be missed.10981655_10152631761141244_8329621689851810971_n

However, I continued to attend the DSWD 10 training. Having oriented with the objectives and processes, it was one of the tasks I would love to do and work on though. The salary rate is quite compensating even though it only last for three months contract, you would get a high gross. Such amount would have been a big help for me since I never had earnings from the past two months that would patch up deficits from regular expenses spent. But in my mind is still the incoming travel that I would not want to miss.

More so, I am in the midst of choosing to complete the training or go for the flight. The consequence is, If I failed to complete the training, I cannot continue as Area Coordinator and will not have earnings. On the other hand, Mt. Pulag climb and outreach event, is one of my dreamt climb that I know I would not have any other chance to go with such joyous group (ROTA Phils.) is not just merely climbing for fun, an outreach to the children on one of the elementary schools in sitio of Bokod, Benguet will also eventuate.2

Again, I asked God for guidance what to choose then, I know it will be my failure to let go what He gave me. I have been asking advices to colleagues, of course there always be fair advices of both different sides. Until on the day before the flight, I asked permission to the heads of the training if I’d be permitted to cut the training and continue to make-up on further trainings to be conducted for area supervisors/other positions. Nevertheless, they never allow such matter and let me decide to complete the training or say goodbye to the job.5

On the second thought, I wanted to complete the training for it was one chance given to me. That night, while on the state of confusion, I passed by our group president’s residence to claim my shirt and ID (get some sort of remembrance of the climb if I failed to go so). There, some ROTA members is persuading me to go with them, uttered some inviting lines and even said that it is also one of the opportunities to happen. I just do not know what’s with ROTA Phils. that made me decide to go the climb and outreach bartered to the cost in earning income.1

On the day of departure, I went with ROTA Phils., having missed one opportunity had never made my attendance to the event hopeless and failure. I never failed to enjoy one God’s beautiful and wondrous creation that I longed to witness as part of my goals. Also, extended to serve children as one of our advocacies and objectives.

Would it mean regret after the event? Have I chose to lose something worth it? Would I be sorry for myself and ask for another chance? Some might say I only chose good times and left what is needed to pursue.3

Behind all those decisions (whether right or wrong) I laid and offered everything to God. Indeed, I always ask for another chances and I know He is merciful and H e knows my goals in life. There are still a lot He can give, a lot of job (tasks) awaits – for me to do or serve other people other than my family. I still have Hope and am hopeful that God will answer and give me more than what I asked for if I am worthy enough to receive it. I am thankful that God gave me not just one opportunity in one time (that is why I have chose between the two), both are worth it. God made every day as good times. In everything give thanks (Thessalonians 5:18), because even if I never earned income at the moment, I also loved what I am doing on the other side.

How important that we – in good times or times  of challenge – draw near to God’s loving heart to hear His voice and place our lives in His hand (David McCasland.ODB.vol 21-A.March5)###.7

Blog, Events, Hiking, Principles

Significance of LNT to my Ordinary Days

Every event pursued is often has an objectives and goals. Even more, it is strictly guided with policies and principles not to affect anyplace, anybody or anywhere’s culture and norms.

One can possibly be a more responsible mountaineer if he or she isgolden shower tree aware of the “Leave No Trace” (LNT) principles.  On the other hand, can LNT be applied to ordinary daily routines?  Can LNT be helpful also to non-mountaineers and would it not affect those who are guided with ethics and rules contrary to LNT as basis for their daily goals and objectives? It might help or possibly not.  Having oriented with the said outdoor ethics during the Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) attended at Pualas, Baungon Bukidnon last February 1-2, 2014, here are the seven principles I can likely relate to my ordinary daily routines;

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare (know the regulations and special concerns for the area you will visit and prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies).   Routine is a regular activity repeatedly done day by day or may even be called as program of activities within the day.  Is there a need to plan and prepare when things are already programmed?  Whether we like it or not, there always be intervening factors that affects every programmed activities.  Thus, planning ahead and getting prepared of all things is much better in case of any circumstances and short notices rather ending into disaster or trouble. Prepare for precautionary measures before it even gets worst.   Organize activities in a way that it also meets goals within the day.  It is the same as formulating policies and contingencies that is ought to be done whenever interventions or diversions occur.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces (Established trails and campsite, rock, gravel, dry grasses, camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, altering a site is not necessary, concentrate on one existing trail).  In order not to affect or disturb other properties and surroundings, we must know our limits and restrictions.  Tasks must be performed within area of coverage or only in place delegated to you.  Similarly, one must observe ownership and privacy of anything.  Better than that, identify and select appropriate place where the activity is conducive and possibly result to efficient and relatively high outputs.  Focus on area which you find beneficial for everybody and that can be made suitable and sustainable workplace and shelter.  Nonetheless, maximize utilization of minimal space given and be able not to destruct more of the surroundings.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack it in, pack it out; pack out all trash, leftover food and litter).  Even a toddler is taught where to dispose his/her garbage, how much more for a mature ones?  It is a matter of sanitary and even health procedure to keep away from illness and diseases thereupon promoting healthful living.   Relative to organizing, it is one way to keep things in proper sequence and enables efficient management to certain matters.   On the other hand, one must learn to keep any waste  properly as not to  litter and pollute the surroundings, learn the three R’s of the environment (reduce,  reuse, recycle).   Set out what is unimportant, keep only things that will likely helped for future use (reject rubbish stuff that depressingly affects the environment).
  4. Leave what you find (Preserve the past, examine but do not touch cultural/historic structures and artifacts, leave natural objects, avoid introducing non-native species).  SHolland lilyimilar to the quote ”What you see, what you hear, leave it here” is also one way of keeping something in place and out of trouble.  It is good to be keen observer but not to the extent of digging much deeper into some matters that seem to worsen or seemingly harsh intervening to someone’s behavior and practices or anything’s characteristics.  More so, introduction of innovations can also be helpful in aiming improvements but unlikely forcing them to adopt or embrace certain procedures as the way you want it.  Not all things are worth approving.  It is the same as making decision in consensus with both parties.  Also, refrain showing unacceptable behavior and norms to a place where it is not practiced, respect others culture and policies.  Likewise, do not touch anything that does not belong to you and do not intervene to any activities that are none of your concern.  One can suggest or recommend but not going beyond insisting or initiating.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts (Keep fires small, enjoy a candle lantern for light, use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand, burn all woods and coals to ash, put out campfires completely).    Create enough fire what the surrounding or a certain things need.  Lighting a fire is as good as providing light to see things clearly at the dark side.   Metaphorically, it is the same as cheering others to make things delightful.  Make sure of anything which is cheerful and not hurting nor offensive that may only drive out anger.   Do not create so much fire or intense conversations; rather stick to limits and show enough or exact entertainment.  Respond well to attitude of others and analyze the setting first before getting into actions or starting a fire.
  6. Respect wildlife (Observe wildlife from a distance, never feed animals, protect wildlife, avwild orchidoid wildlife during sensitive times).  This relates to the line that says “for your eyes only”.   Let us not drag or grab anything unless permitted.  Respect others’ habitat in as much that you are respected and accommodated.  In terms of characteristics, take into consideration that every individual is unique.  Thus, always interact politely with someone despite his/her disclosed behavior.  Carefully utter words and come into gentle strokes that will not ruin someone’s ego tending to contribute violent reactions.  Be conscious on someone’s sensitivity.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors (protect the quality of tpink florettesheir experience, Be courteous, yield to other users on the trail, step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock, let nature sounds prevail, avoid loud voices and noises).  In the same way with respecting others, be reminded of the ethic of reciprocity “Do not do unto others, what you do not want others do unto you”.  Thus, be down to earth often times so others will courteously treat you.   Present procedures that finds beneficial for either parties or even much better giving way or offer most of it to others than grabbing much for one.   Furthermore, do not talk often or at all times and absolutely give time to listen, listen to others opinion and proposals.

Significantly, anyone can be guided with the seven principles as there can be no harm being channeled for a better outcome.  These principles are much helpful in guiding our daily routines to start up and end up the day with delight in serving others and the way others had served us (LCRM)###.

Blog, Hiking, Outreach

Walking Along Pavements to Trails

As she have been enjoying life to the notion that it is to the fullest, there have been times also in her life awfully wasted. That was when she freely walked and enjoyed every minute of episode at the pavements.

Later on, she diverted path and sincerely stepped on trails that seem difficult but surely leads into her goals. She then valued that every difficult path is made for a better reason. She heard the clock ticks as if she was reminded that she is out of time and needed to accomplish unfinished targets and get back to what is left behind and rectify situations. Even though bothered with ‘so little time, so much to do’, she still keeps on moving on.

Trees grew old and gets even harder, the harder it gets the sturdy it will become.

Down to pavements for amusement

Intavas outreachIn consequence of her vengeance, she never have tried to forgive neither forgets. Hence, she limitlessly spent so much time on various amusing establishments at the pavements. Most often than not, she went out at night with different faces and colleagues. So what would you expect? ‘often got home late at night or early dawn rather. Besides, she has to wake up early to catch up for work. Consequently, headache and tired body hits her but oblige to function. Further, she still managed to perform tasks as usual. She has to work harder to suffice family’s daily necessities.

More than that, she spent most on unimportant matters and consumed more on toxins. On the other hand, she also rendered time to outdoor activities, household chores and nurturing the children, but a week without a night of liquor is too bad for her and a day without puff of cigarette is even worse. In as much as she tried to escape from anger and took pleasure laughing outside to get pacified, the more she cried being unaware of telling miserable stories.

She is empty, she knew it. Her life is definitely messy for over five years and even witnessed or a contributor to bad practice that may closely relate to corruption, corruption of funds, time, and relationships and of service. So, having thought of being deceived, she trusted no one at all.

Dragged by selfishness

DSC_0241Seeing that she worked hard, she has to enjoy and indulge into her w ants to get herself paid. She knew it is not right and refused to listen to her heart instead. Because of selfishness, she explored the dark side of the road with no boundaries. Whatever and come what may are the thoughts that made her lost and almost get her failed, arriving at total darkness as if she sold her soul to death.

Subsequently, she realized that all the pavements and cross roads she passed by is not constructed with amount of true happiness, prosperity and healthy living. Her sinful and unforgivable acts made her claim that she is a great sinner you will ever know. She even struggled at the peak of survival choosing to be dragged to hell or believe in God’s mercy. Yes, He rescued her while reaching her hands upon Him. He even sent His angels to give her direction.

How affiliation affects her diversion of path

SumagayaAnyhow, she has been diverting into something worth exploring for. It can be described as difficult trail, but surely will she gain glory. Her life was not that gratified and contained before she came to attend to ROTA’s events. She ain’t having planned destinations other than the programmed tasks of her job.

Here, there and everywhere until in the midst of nowhere. She ought to respond to her obligations and responsibilities but not to the extent of reaching fulfillment for herself and to other parties. Notwithstanding, outdoor activities or climb events is not new to her, she even joined the same on some of the invitations whenever she wanted to but merely climbing for fun purposely to reach summit.

How she met ROTA? From the start and in synchronization with her gradual shift of routines, she once invited to climb Mt. Apo by her colleague with ROTA. She even secured preliminary requirement at City Health but she never had made it to the final decision, she declined at eleventh hour. So awful, and she felt so sorry that even her colleague felt awful and disgusted. She refused to join up to several events and invitations.

Until her first time with ROTA eventuated at October 2012’s Pasko sa Sulads (Sto. Domingo, Quezon, Bukidnon).

Outreach to SULADS, Sto. Domingo, Quezon, Buk.Apart from her colleagues, all of their faces seem new to her. Meeting new faces made her felt uneasy and uncomfortable.

It was one memorable and embarrassing experience with the group since she came very late that made them wait longer before it even depart going to the area – wasted time contributor!

Frequent Participation

ImpadidingIn a while, as convinced she came to join some of their outreach and climb events. Frequent participation made her gained confidence and closely interacted with them and to ROTA itself.

She volunteered and as one of the volunteers, one of nicest encounters is getting close to people (especially IPs) at remote areas made her more even proud as being one of them too. Despite her exposure to other remote areas in Northern Mindanao to help recipients in livelihood project implementation, her exposure is not as enjoyable and fulfilled with ROTA.

Accessing rough roads, climbing and trekking on slippery trails are not that easy but it is delightful of having thought of achievements while serving our brothers and sisters. Along with the itinerary, tasks are also delegated to each volunteer. From planning, preparation of foods and school or health kits and up to serving them personally was even more fulfilling while expecting nothing in return but happiness. She can compare ROTA as a hands-on mother, with hands to do household chores and be able to serve the children, with hands to hold and touch one’s heart.

Contributing factor

AubijidIn any event, ROTA is that hard working to serve others, unlike serving to facilitate implementation of projects with the agency she is affiliated and served them the easy way. However, she does hard work at field (geotagging and monitoring of projects is not that easy) particularly in remote areas. Has ROTA helped her? Well, given the scale of 1 to 10 and 10 as the highest, how she rated ROTA as one factor of her diversions? Certainly, she rated ROTA with 10. As to percentage of how it contributed to her diversions, she gave ROTA 25% which is included in the composition: family 25% and prayer 50%. It is not that big but at least it added and happy to serve others with ROTA indeed.

Keep moving on

Recently, she have been asking herself, “Am I tired?”, “Should I not pursue other things I have been dreaming to reach?”. Yes, she is tired of doing worthless matters and dishonest ways. She has been serving others for over 5 years to help uplift and improve their lives – reaching farther and wider. Despite the fact that she is thousand miles away from home and family, had she served both of her family and others equally? It is that difficult but still handled to do so.

mangroove plantingAt any rate, her life’s daily routine has changed differently. For over two years, she started clinging into treats that somehow appease her and others as well. She tried to spend time wisely. Conversely, she dealt to get entertained and accommodates some events she described at the pavements but not beyond restrictions.

Little by little, she was able to start some of the things that must have been started long way before. She knew it is not too late to manage everything fairly.

Eventually, her frequent routines include facilitation and monitoring of projects, laundry, cooking, gardening, run, trek with family and assist in building a Home. ###

Blog, Hiking, Mountains, Outreach, Stories

Prayer, the best gear for survival climb

Hot mama Cha

We pray whenever any activity is started, but with this event I prayed every step to survive after reaching its summit with an elevation of 2,860 masl. From the 21st of June 2013 began the rigid climb ever I have encountered. Never have I climbed the highest Mt. Apo and has climbed other mountain’s peak but not as hard as Mt. Kalatungan – Mt. Wiji traverse.

The team (10 of us including our guide, with 3 of us female) jumped off late in the afternoon after exchanging smiles and sharing blessings from various contributors to the children at Mendis Elementary School, Pangantucan, Bukidnon as initiated by Rebirth Outdoor Trekkers and Adventurers (ROTA) Phils. The weather is not that friendly though, heavy rain poured along the way in which all of us soaking wet. Right then, the first overnight camp gave me colds that resulted to a sudden discomfort. I got fever, I guessed. The team leader even made fun of giving a peso as transportation fare for those who will decide to get back home, well, everybody just laughed at it knowing that we are there with strong drive and determination to conquer the said 5th highest mountain in the Philippines, there is no turning back.

Me, without any idea how hard and difficult the trail compared with other mountains I have climbed, is too confident and filled with gladness and bewildered by another beauty of panoramic view. Not that equipped with rain gears, the next day I went to ascend with the team as rain continuously pouring. Now, I felt my body trembling from the very cold surrounding added with colds that made me hardly breathed. But I kept on walking and rested for minutes whenever the team leader told us so. It was not that fun, however, all I have in mind is to reach the summit in exchange and get rewarded for the striving ascent made. Of course halfway reaching the peak, I started feeling wondrous with the highest waterfalls ever I have seen. The view is just too far from where we are situated but we can see and compare its stunning height of its fall and even made me forget my discomfort. Over view is not that clear and visible due to thick clouds that hovered, thus, capturing only moments of accomplishing every steps of struggles was the only thing evident.

Carried on as obliged to do so, my body became weak with my very wet backpack getting very heavy that made my arms numb and so tired. But I kept saying to myself “I’m not weak yet” still with great courage and confidence. The climb is described as wet while most of us often stumbled with the slippery trail. Moreover, leaf blades of tall grasses left wounds of other mountaineer’s limbs, but me unscathed with leaf blades is suffering from headache and fever. I believed, me and my prayer to our God has strengthen me to go on. “God, please give more strength”.

At about 5:00 PM the team reached the so-called junction to summit and the other path to campsite. Getting close, for an hour to summit, the team leader again laughingly asked us “Now what, do you still want to go to summit or not at all?” Of course, for the first-timers agreed to pave our way going to summit despite the unfriendly weather. Again, I said to myself “I should never miss this, I must go to summit” with the very ill feeling. Apparently, my companions observed that I am not feeling well, I hardly talked, and they even asked me “Cha, are you okay?” and I replied “Yes, I am” even when I am not.

Upon reaching the summit, the feeling was totally priceless for having accomplished my goal. Yes, I am on the peak of the 5th highest mountain in our country. Unfortunately, the expected beauty of the horizon was hidden by hazy climate. All we vaguely see is the light of the setting sun and the only thing ever enjoyed and captured by our cameras. With less time spent at the peak due to weather condition and nearly dusk, we came to get back at the junction as quickly as we can to proceed to campsite. Dark came upon us, as we had our dinner before going to campsite, while me on chill as I nibbled on my food.

As I managed to stand still, we continued for a night trail going to campsite that made even worst for most of us get bumped onto roots that made us slipped. Finally, the last step for the night has lightened up all of my heavy loads, nevertheless, the headache, cold and fever never had left me. A piece of medicine was not that curable. Until the coldness of the night made me shivered and even feel the pain deep into the bones of my limbs. Having not slept well, I greeted the morning with severe headache and runny-nose. Again, I prayed to God for more strength and endurance. Now I can feel the pain on my bruised upper lip having irritated by severe rubbing as I wiped out “two soldiers” from my nose (hehehe).

Break camp, then another mountain to ascend, the Mt. Makaupaw (Wiji). Without doubt, I even gave my wet clothes to our guide to include in his backpack because I felt that I cannot withstand heavy loads at all (it’s the first time that I let someone carry my belongings) so embarrassing. Along way up, the trail is surrounded with thorny vegetations and tall grasses with sharp leaf blades. Struggling to hurdle each step while our arms used as shield from thorns, me with the very tired body, has successfully and gladly reached the top of Mt. Wiji.

More hours to go before reaching the base, I asked the guide “Manong, is the trail easy?” and even more uncomfortable with the so-called “dead nails trail”. As we headed, I thought the trail getting down is all descending. Surprisingly, we came to ascend more and then descend and then ascend and so forth. Until I hardly caught my breath and getting very weak and exhausted. I came to ask often “ Is there still an ascending trail? I think I cannot make it at all”. So in my mind speaks “God, please give me more strength and endurance”. So, me in the middle, started walking so fast to catch for the lead pack, because I seem to faint and loose breath and I don’t want to get caught in disaster, I must get home safely. So that’s it, I started praying the Holy rosary in silence as I did every pace. I often rested in silence and seldom responded to discussions and did not even eat my lunch at all since I am struggling to cope up against my very weak body. I kept praying and whenever I am alone resting to catch for deep breath and oxygen I can’t seem to hold back tears rolled down from my eyes while asking for strength to God and even begged for forgiveness thinking that it is a punishment or repayments for my sin. “Lord, if I cannot make it, please forgive me for all the sinful things I have done.”

From that onward, all I have in mind was to come out from the forest line and even said to myself that if I fail, this will be my last climb. I walked so fast and eagerly anticipated to see the road to barangay proper and I would be relieved from hopelessness. Nonetheless, I successfully reached the jumped off point seemingly alright having trekked down from slippery roads.

It was indeed a survival climb, I guess. I survived through prayers. Even though I suffered post climbed illness (muscle pain, bruised lips, over-fatigued), I still managed to perform my tasks and served the clients to the day I must report for duty. I even have my hair cut short days after the climb to have myself lightened by burdens and heavy loads I carried during the climb.

It was one memorable climb that has taught me a lot of things and even awakened me from my disastrous past. Basically, I learned to drink water not that much, I learned not to bring much trail foods that will not be consumed at all and raingear is a must (never get soaking wet). In general, l learned to be strong and tough despite the circumstances that come along the way. Despite hindrances, we must be equipped with courage and might to surpass all of it while reaching up our goals and objectives. It made me courageous and persevere so as not to easily get drowned and killed by weakness, because having dragged to fiasco leads no hope. I have learned that prayer is the source of strength and hope, the greatest gear for survival.


Thanks to Leah M. for proof reading and Tapoy for the photo