Blog, Events, Outreach

Back-To-School in Intavas

I’ve always wanted to cultivate a sincere heart for missions and what better way to achieve this than taking most opportunities to be of help. Being assigned Team Leader for the Back-To-School in Intavas Elementary School to serve 389 kids of the Higaonon tribe last June 12, 2014 was a chance not to miss. It was one outreach when I was busiest but one where I realized good things.

Volunteers and outreach supplies on a truck to Impasugong, Bukidnon

Many people say they want to live a life of purpose but put it off until they’re retired or they’re rich, when they have extra time and extra money to spare. But we can choose to do it now. Even with our schedules and our scanty income, we can make a movement. We can still give and volunteer. What little you have (time, resource, talent, confidence even patience) can be enough to make lives better for as long as they are pooled-in and of course, shared.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.Steve Jobs
I’m glad to have met this bunch of crazy people and being one with them in carrying out an advocacy. It was a holiday spent well, a day of good cheer when we were spent full.


More photos →

Events, Outreach

Trek & Treat 4

We are grateful to all trekkers from different schools, organizations, and offices. ROTA would also like to thank the bikers from different bike clubs (COMBAT, MYX, BoneBikers).

A big THANK YOU to everyone to those who supported and participated the fundraising activity last April 26 2014 hosted by ROTA Philippines in collaboration with ATTACK CDO bike club.


Route: Indahag – Kamakawan – Mintugsok



Route: Indahag – Kinawe – Kiliog


Join us again for the 5th Trek & Treat this coming Saturday, August 16 at Indahag, Cagayan de Oro City.

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, Events, Outreach

Bul-ogan Outreach: The second time around

Preschool / Kinder pupils of Sitio Bul-ogan with Rota volunteersLast February 28, 2014, we had our first outreach this year. It was held at Sitio Bul-ogan, Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon. We departed from Agora Bus Terminal around seven in the morning and arrived at Malaybalay Bus Terminal approximately two and a half hours after, where we were fetch by the jeep we contacted days earlier. After getting the permit to climb (for those who will climb Mt. Dulang-dulang the next day) and buying some stuff needed for the outreach and ritual, we finally headed to Bul-ogan. It took about one hour from Malaybalay to Bul-ogan but you won’t notice it since there are parts where the view is very beautiful. One of the things I liked is how some parts of the street are lined up with beautiful trees; some trees even have yellow flowers which made it lovelier. Majority of the road going to Bul-ogan was already cemented. But still, there are remaining rough roads especially the part approaching Bul-ogan.

Kitchen committee volunteer When we arrived in Bul-ogan, it was already lunch time so we had our lunch first before proceeding to prepare for the outreach. Some of us prepared the spaghetti for the snacks while some repacked the donations for the hygiene kits. And while we were preparing, some also entertained the kids with games and ice breakers. After preparing, the kindergarten students were given school kits. Only few school kits were prepared since the hygiene kits and toms shoes were really the priority of the outreach; for the reason that the school year is almost over. But alas, the spaghetti and pineapple juice were served and everyone feasted on it, even the parents. Then right after snacks, all the kids were asked to line up by grade level for the giving of TOMS shoes.

Packing goods for hygiene kitsStory time with Teacher Nelly & Teacher CrestChildren's debriefing. Serving snacks and juice after debriefing. And while this was happening, those kids who were already given TOMS shoes got their hygiene kits but were instructed not to open it yet. So after all the shoes were given, the kids were then again gathered outside the classroom for the discussion of what’s inside their hygiene kits and their purpose, just in case they don’t know what it’s for. Inside their hygiene kits was a face towel, some bath soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, nail cutter and baby powder. And of course, an outreach wouldn’t be complete without a group picture with the kids. Although only few kids joined us for the group picture because some of them already went home and some were already busy playing.

Quick orientation with Kuya Deeds / Preparing for shoe fitting.Shoe fitting.School kits distribution. Discussion on what inside the hygiene kits.All in all, for me, it was a success. Not only did we bring school kits, hygiene kits, shoes and delicious snacks to the kids in Bul-ogan, but we also gave them happiness. And in return, they somehow made us happy too. Just seeing their smiling, innocent faces and hearing their joyous laughter was enough. It gave us happiness that cannot be found in material things, in worldly things; A happiness that can never be taken away from us. It was priceless.

Photo credits: Earl Ryan of Focalmatters photography & Gabu Sanico for thumbnail image.

Blog, Events

Basic Mountaineering Course 2014
Members of some mountaineering groups, like the KAYA, PAPA, IITM and LASPAG, camping together in a wide green field.

A 2-day Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) was organized by the Rebirth Outdoor Trekkers and Adventurers, Inc. (ROTA, Inc.) last February 1 & 2, 2014 at Ultra Winds Resort, Baungon, Bukidnon. The instructor for the whole duration of the course was Mr. Eric Bontuyan of Viajero Outdoors Shop. And luckily, I was able to attend it, together with other ROTA members and aspiring members. Some members of other mountaineering groups, like the KAYA, PAPA, IITM and LASPAG, also joined us.

Sir Eric Bontuyan (BMC licensed Instructor)
We gathered at Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro around five in the morning and waited for the Ultra Winds Resort shuttle to bring us to the venue. When we arrived at the venue, we immediately proceeded in putting up our tents and settled down. The lecture started at nine in the morning. We introduced ourselves first then Sir Eric discussed briefly the course description and objectives. For day one, we discussed how to plan and prepare for a climb. From preparing yourself, to planning the details of the climb like the nature of the climb, the groupings, itinerary, budget, meal plan, etc. We also discussed the different equipments used by a mountaineer, individually and by group. Sir Eric and his team even showed us some examples of the equipments. Then we talked about the ideal weight of your backpack in relation to your body weight, weather proofing your backpack and pack loading. Tips and techniques were even shared by Sir Eric and some participants. We also talked about the different trail signs and its meanings, selecting an area that’s ideal for campsite, outdoor bathroom practices and some outdoor cooking techniques. Before dinner, we discussed water management and some important principles, rules and laws to follow in relating to the local communities and our fellow mountaineers. Dinner was then followed by socials wherein the groups performed and showcased their talents. There were also games and prizes from Viajero and Habagat.

For the second day, the first thing we discussed was about basic first aid and the different sickness one might encounter outdoors. The discussion on ropemanship and knot tying followed. We were given ropes to use for the knot tying. The last thing we discussed was land navigation where we covered the different kinds of map and how to read them, creating a profile of a mountain, how to use a compass and orienteering. And to test us in orienteering, we had a fun and challenging group outdoor activity. After we had our group picture taking, we were given our certificates on Basic Mountaineering Course and Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop. Then time to go home.

All in all, it was a great experience filled with lots of learning, sharing and laughter. We did not just gained awareness and information with regards to mountaineering, but we also gained new friends. Now, it’s time for us to put all the lessons we learned into action, to be not just a mountaineer but a responsible mountaineer.
Group pictures

Blog, Events, Outreach

ROTA and Lonsi and Everything in Between.


Picture this: 30 mins of a bit bumpy but totally fun truck ride; an hour-long trek along shallow rivers cutting across coconut farms, papaya farms, and flowery bushes; and the endorphin-inducing smiles and eagerness of the children and folks of Lonsi Elementary School. Plus, the hot spring, the biko, and the stewed native chicken by the pool!

Fun right? Let me tell you the details…

Oct 12, around 8AM. ROTA volunteers left Bulua terminal to Alubijid. Except for the few exchange of corny and terrible jokes here and there, the 30-mins jeepney ride was uneventful as most of us are sleepy and still wary about the new faces in the team. At Alubijid, we went on a quick coffee break, the ever-needed pee break, and the last-minute shopping for rice, water, and trail food.

By 9AM, the team is all set to leave for Lonsi. After another 30-mins of bumpy truck ride to the drop-off, everybody’s now starting to know everybody and are laughing at everybody’s jokes (as they call it ^_^). And as we trek along the river, we never forgot to stop every now and then for picture-taking (how could we when we’re all camera-whores). There was this one place that looks really lovely with all the green bushes and tiny yellow flowers and the one with the dead fallen tree.


Lonsi is a small community of less than 60 households. The school itself has only 95 pupils enrolled with 3 teachers (1 teacher for 2 grade levels). The kids were a little cautious at first but things turned around when we did the games. Volunteers and kids -everybody’s having fun! Even the parents enjoyed watching the raucous. We did the feeding; bread with spaghetti, and orange juice. Yes, unli spaghetti for everybody! Thanks Kitchen Committee!

Then, it rained.

No, not your rain-rain-go-away-type, but the sudden heavy-torrential-downpour-cloudburst-type of rain. Of course, that didn’t stop us. We gather the kids in a classroom and did the painting session. We gave each kid a turn to paint his masterpiece then judged their artworks. And while some of the volunteers assisted with the painting session, the rest are into the distribution of slippers and school kits. By the time the rain stopped, we’re all ready for the awarding ceremony for the top 3 best paintings for each grade level. Don’t ask who the judges were, they wanted to stay anonymous.

paint me a picture

After the awarding and photo-op, we said our goodbyes to the kids and the community and started for another hour-long trek to Tugasnon mainit spring. It was a little dark when we arrived at the campsite, which is just a few meters away from the hot spring. And true to the redundancy of it’s name, Mainit Hot Spring, it really is hot I almost blanched my self.


The next day, Oct 13, around 9AM, after the boodle fight aka breakfast, we left for home. Nothing much happened, I saw and shrieked at a couple of small snakes along the trail (somebody else saw a really big one), I almost got lost at one point, more picture picture… Then we stopped over to Bagras resort for a sudden pool dip. The kitchen committee made Biko (a local dessert that you can find in Google) and stewed native chicken. The stewed chicken, for me, is the highlight for that day! So, we enjoyed the pool, had fun with jumpshots, and ate to our hearts’ content before we left for CDO.

In CDO, the fun and adrenaline rush for the whole two-day event were still in our veins as we went on a sudden ‘proben’ stopover at Divisoria. And it was with heavy heart that we will have to part ways with our old and new-found friends, but the memories and the joy that we shared will last forever. Am I starting to get cheesy? Yes, I am. It’s a sign that this long tale is about to end.

Till the next ROTAdventure! Cheese! ^_^