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, 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

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, 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! ^_^


Blog, Events, Outreach, Stories

The Way I See.


As I rest my physical body, my subconsciousness is clairvoyant enough seeing those kids becoming leaders of their own profession and in their community. That was my thought when I was about to take a nap after the activity . It was really fun and fulfilling especially when their lips started to stretch resembling those genuine smiles. I cannot afford not to reminisce those happy moments with the kids who gave their best in mixing colors and creating lovely kiddy paintings. I Cannot imagine despite of clear poverty, they still managed to learn the basic principles of education. However, they still need support. ROTA Phil. Inc., addressed this through outreach activity. The group provided these kids basic educational supplies and a pair of slippers donated by several kind hearted sponsors. ROTA has a unique twist in each activity because it needs agility to get things done on time, strength to carry vital equipment while crossing rivers, climbing hills and mountains just to deliver the supplies for the beneficiaries. I should say that this advocacy are for the chosen ones. Willing to sacrifice for the sake of the needy, not waiting for an exchange but just enjoying the purpose of such endeavor. Ad Majorem dei Gloriam!