Blog, Mountains, Outreach, Socials

A Route to an Awe!

ROTA volunteers

A Route to an Awe! as I wake up earlier than the sun doing the same routinary things before going to work at 4am, I was thinking: how am I supposed to enjoy my weekends and holidays? Oh well, things gone through ordinarily until a friend of mine invited me to join mountain climbing. Because of this, it added some flavor to my ordinary routine.

My first climb was mt sumagaya and it all started there. Fun climb, with a twist of environment friendly activity-clean up drive and i liked it, hitting two birds in one stone. It let me connect to the world where I stand on, letting me think how the future will become.

Moreover, the climb gave me a boost of muscle pain, excitement and enchantment seeing unaccountable bonsai trees and wild flowers growing in hilghly elevated mountain in this country and a good fellowship among the members of ROTA, a gang of severly insane, mild hearted people centered in the advocacy of reaching the unreachable and helping the needy.

And that gave me an awe! KUDOS ROTA Pilipinas!

Volunteers - Background Mt. Balatucan




Blog, Events, Mountains, Outreach

The Route to Impadiding


Last August 24-25, 2013, ROTA Philippines Inc., together with some volunteers, was given the chance to make the kids at Impadiding Elementary School happy. Impadiding is a Sitio of Barangay Minalwang, Claveria, Misamis Oriental. In order to reach the area, one has to endure an hour of habal-habal ride and six hours of combined trek, 8 times river-crossing and climb on rocky and almost mid-calf muddy forest trail.

Since it was already late afternoon when the volunteers arrived, the activities were moved in the morning the next day. The Sitio has no electricity. But darkness didn’t hinder the volunteers from mingling with the kids who stayed in the school. They had mini games, storytelling and even magic.

The volunteers started early the next day. Some of them cooked spaghetti for the kids while some entertained the kids, who arrived very early, with games. And others prepared the breakfast for the volunteers. After the games, the school kits were given. Each school kit contains two pad papers, two notebooks, two pencils, sharpener, eraser and crayons. Then the TOMS shoes were given, with matching white socks. One can really see the happiness and excitement on the faces of the kids. Some were even comparing the designs on their notebooks. Following this was a short program prepared by the school. Some of the female students danced their harvest dance while some of the boys danced the monkey dance. The PTA president and the datu of Impadiding also took part in the program by giving a speech. And of course, the volunteers themselves did an impromptu dance number for everybody. While the program was taking place, the spaghetti served on top of a slice of bread was distributed to everyone. It was the first time for some of the kids to eat spaghetti. So others ate it one strand of pasta at a time while a few of them threw the spaghetti to the ground and ate the bread. Pictures were then taken with the kids before the volunteers left.

The route taken back to the center of Minalwang was different for safety purposes. It was simpler but longer. And only one river crossing, where the volunteers grabbed the opportunity to wash their muddy clothes and shoes and enjoy. They arrived in the center of Minalwang around five in the afternoon. The habal-habal drivers were already there waiting. After tidying up and changing into dry clothes, they then started to travel to Gingoog and back to Cagayan de Oro.

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Blog, Mountains, Stories

An Early Piece

I’m always the person who loves different kind of adventures, I dared to face my fears and different form of challenges and ultimately unafraid to feel being hurt and uncomfortable. The reason why I allow myself to be exposed with this different kind of adventure was to be awakened, to gain strength, growth and so I can look deeper into myself and adjust the course of my life.


The dream of climbing those high mountains was sleeping but it’s always in my heart. Dreaming all alone, those peaks which names are just words coming out from my mouth was kinda impossible to reach coz I have no one to climb with and I don’t know what to do. I wish to find peace and comfort in there, leave every worries behind and experience adventure as well, and witness the beautiful sunset and sunrise and unique mesmerizing view that you could only see in there. I want to take beautiful pictures that I cloud brag from my photo buddies and I also want to meet new people in there and make friends with them. As I walk in the trail of my life facing the monotonous routine in the city, that dream was awakened. The longing and enthusiasm to fulfill that dream became intense. I admit that one of my obvious reason to climb was to escape boredom. Until the unexpected time came, I met my cousin Yano who’s in ROTA and I met ROTA people who are active in outdoor activities. I said to myself wow this could be a dream come true, now climbing those mountains is near my fingertips and I was happy but I was shy at first, I know these people are already experienced climbers. And then I have asked myself, why do they climb and what could be their reasons for it? Could it be that we have the same reasons? But whatever reasons it might be I hope they’ll be happy as I am.

As time goes by I’ve learned to love and enjoyed socializing with ROTA company. As time goes by, we met new people in our group and we met different kind of personalities and different kind of experience and perspective in life. But despite that difference we have all same desire, the desire to climb those mountains and prove ourselves that we can make it through the summit and go down safely despite its treacherous trails. But what fuels our desires are not only to prove ourselves that we are strong despite our physical and emotional weakness and sharing our adventurous experience to our friends. For me it’s like heaven in there, you feel so high, elated, and carefree, the views are awesome and it’s highly addictive but the best things are laughter’s, and sharing of thoughts and personal experience during camping at night, I believe that’s one of the heaviest thing that fuels us to climb. Honestly, I became a climbing monster.

In the process of our mountain climbing adventures the more we know each other well, in the process some found love, some lost it and some had given up by choice. During our kindhearted visits to SULADS we met another people again. At SULADS we have witnessed how those young people in different tribes lived in modesty. What I learned from them is how to be contented of what you have and be happy with it. Wealth is not how much you have, it’s how happy and contented with what you have. I know that in a more civilized people like us have different needs, we are desirous to have this and have that, well there’s nothing wrong with it, I myself too wants to live comfortably 🙂 the important thing is we must not be selfish to share what we have to those who don’t have.

Every mountain we have conquered and successful event we have accomplished we celebrate. At the highest peak of our laughter’s and enjoyment, misunderstandings and dispute of some of our members disrupts. I was kind of discouraged. But I know in myself that those things will pass, those are just trials and there’s no reason why I should backout. I should continue the group’s long plan, the plan to climb mt. apo which is every mountaineers dream. I want to experience mt. apo and specially the group coz I love the group. And so the day had come, finally the highest mountain that we long and dream to climb became a reality. We finally reached there and had fun. I thank God for giving us the chance to go there despite the hectic schedules of some climbers, secondly I thank the group for their enthusiasm and passion to climb. And thanks to myself, jojo even if he backed out and the guide and porters and thanks for Billy’s assistance. Sorry all for my unpredictable and fiery temper sometimes 🙂

Later on I’ve realized that during our climb we developed trust and warm friendship. Those treacherous trails we hiked does not only reminds us that we are strong enough to step on it but it’s how we value and being responsible not only to ourselves but also to the climbers next to us. We never leave the responsibility for each other. During the trek we never leave and fail to assist those physically weak but we never underestimate their strength. In the campsite when the weather suddenly turns grumpy, we never fail to be generous and helpful to our fellow climbers specially the less experienced ones. We sacrifice a little for them at the same time we know how to save ourselves. We know that mountaineering is also a form of survival in the wild.

By all, the highest peak that we’ve climbed is not the peak of the highest mountain, it’s our warm friendship and love. The acceptance and respect despite who our friends are. We learned good things from them, and they learned good things from us. We also learned to take good care and respect mother nature. Those generosity, care and laughter’s will always leave a trail in our hearts. I am and always will be very happy to climb with you guys and I thank God for giving me a chance to be in this group. Thanks for all who joined the climb to MT. APO, this couldn’t be possible without your support 🙂 but never think that this group will only survive thru climbing high mountains in a very far place and spend a lot of money for it. Bahalag minor ra na climb, bahalag malasag ra.. beaching, simple gathering etc .basta ang importante magka hiusa ta para active perme ang group.


– Earl


ROTA Supertramp’s Prayer

ROTA Supertramp’s Prayer

One small step at time, Lord
This is all I ask.
To be Thy hands and feet, Lord

And go where there’s most need.A little at a time, Lord
The change You want to see;
That if and when I make a difference,
It has to start with me!

So when my toil is over,
And my weary sigh is heard;
I’ll praise You still dear, Father
For Thy work You had me bear–
No mountain too high, No road less traveled;

I choose. I care.


Hiking, Mountains, Stories

Freedom Climb 2011

Setting foot on top of Mt. Kalatungan was indeed hard to endure but definitely sweet to remember. ROTA, thank you for your presence. I was so inspired by each one of you guys. Considering what you want to do in relation to what you are capable of doing, astig! I really could not imagine the high spirit that roars everytime you climb. I honor you guys for lifting me to the top and every time I drop somewhere between the bottom and the summit. I lost my count of how many times I stumbled, slipped, wounded, bruised, lacerated, shouted bad and good words! but never did I lost to count on you guys, my God, and myself. Not only faith can move mountains but can create a new world of discovery. Now I know why I climb.

The extreme experience taught me a lot. I traded my life for the Php500 UK Trek shoes. When I threw it during the first open trail downhill, I realized that sometimes there are really things you have to let go to see if there is anything worth holding on to. At least the shoes fulfilled its worth and purpose. The tears I had with the rain and pain served as my battlecry to win. Happiness not stress. Sureness over carelessness. Energy over laziness. Responsibility over stupidity. Allow me to call it freedom. Yeah!

I murdered a mud, injured a rock, kicked Mt. Kalatungan’s ass! And yet, I still have 10 fingers, 10 alive and kicking toe nails! We made it guys! 10 people who did not only declared independence but also made history!

In victories like this, should there be wines to pop? balloons to fall? or butanes to explode?

Thank you-
Campo: for reminding the value of food and water. bang! bang!
Janubski: for your skills and shots capturing our moments.
Coco: for the initiatives and other tasks of a gentleman.
Blots: for being the first to summit and first to base.
Irish: for your care and nursing hospitality.
Nix: for bringing our home and a good landlord.
Tops: for the laughters, blind items and kisses.
Marris: for the registration and love of animals.
Oyen: for the concern and guidance.
Marco: for sweeping a mess.

Being the last to return did not make me less of a person. In Amazing Race, I maybe eliminated. In reality, I just said to myself, “I’ll be back home”

I have so many things to look forward to. Better shoes, better clothing, better gadgets and a better person.

See you next climb ROTA.

Together let us touch the skies and bring it down again!


Events, Mountains, Stories

Apo notes 1

I was at Dulang2 when I first caught a glimpse of Mt. Apo. It wasn’t much. Just this silhoutte of a mountain, were its tip seemed to kiss the very sky. I craned my neck and squinted hard as I could owning that I’m nearsighted; my eyes feasted on the few visual crumbs the famous mountain had permitted us to see that day. I grabbed my camera and began clicking. The small jutted image at a distance was an enigma; a mystery waiting to be unveiled. “Sakaon nato ng Apo, ba![Let’s do climb Apo]”, someone said aloud. I smiled and nodded my head in response hardly taking my eyes off the topic in question. “Climb Apo…climb Apo”, I juggled the idea inside my head hoping by my repeated chanting, the thought would be less daunting. ” The highest peak in the Philippines! It’s in every pinoy mountaineer’s wishlist”, I said to myself, all the while holding on either side the sturdy branches of a grown bonsai plant. I looked below and saw the smiling faces of my friends. Hardly a trace of exhaustion brought by the lack of sleep( kinsa man pud makatulog sa katugnaw sa Dulang…aber?); laughing, drunk from the sweet taste of “summit-itis”(Noun; a temporary emotional condition a mountain climber experiences when s/he reached the top of a mountain; the change in elevation have got nothing to do with it but rather the pure satisfaction of conquering a massive natural formation; symptoms are giddiness, boisterous laughing, uncontrollable picture taking with a few jump shots as well; finishing off with promises of coming back or climbing other mountains]. I got down from my pecarious position, straigthened my jacket and shove the idea at the back of my mind. “Kung mangarap man lang, lubos-lubusin na. The sky is the limitation–matud pa sa akong miga!”

Fastforward, fourteen months and sixteen days. I’m excited. “Ang sky is the limitation, naabot ra! Nakadagit pa jud, ug  bituon!”  The wishlist would now turned into, “I’ve Done-that-list!”. Promises made, were promises kept.” Let’s see… What would Dulang2 look like from the other side?”. I’ll be sure to take a picture for you.

– Kofinitum