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, Stories

Early Worm


While going home on an early run, I saw this magnificent hawk [though i’m no expert of Ornithology but i say it was a hawk because it’s unlikely to be an eagle]swooping down to catch its early prey. I stopped in my tracks and was enamored by the length of its wingspan and its beauty. From it’s white head and body, down to its downy light brown feathers–it was arresting.

Two things played on my mind at that moment : First, my favorite quote by Aristotle, “In all things of nature there is something of the Marvelous!” Second, one of my favorite Bible verse, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isa. 40:31.

I was refreshed. Indeed early worms catch the first dew… I caught a glimpse of God’s love.

– Kofintum

Photo from

Blog, Hiking, Mountains, Stories

4 Things I’ve Learned About Life From My 1st Major Climb

My 1st Major Climb

I had my first major climb last march 1-2, 2014. We climbed Mt. Dulang-Dulang, the second highest mountain in the Philippines. The view from the top was amazing, breath-taking even. I’ve never imagined in my entire life that I will someday climb a mountain. It was the best opportunity to see and appreciate one of God’s creations, which not all humans could see and appreciate. I really felt blessed.

Mt. Dulang-dulang Summit

Lately, I’ve been focusing on happiness and the things I learned from every experience. Let me share to you some of the things I learned from my first major climb that can also be applied in our normal, day to day life.

Summit Campsite

Stair climb

    1. It is good to be always prepared. Weeks before the climb, we had a series of trainings to prepare us for the climb. It actually paid off. It made me confident and nothing bad happened. No accidents, no injuries. We were on time with the itinerary. So it is with our day to day life. We need to prepare for what is to come; that meeting at work, that date, that summer outing, married life and even retirement. So when it finally comes, you’ll be confident and sure of yourself. You’ll feel good and happy about it.

Group 1 "The amazing coffee team"


    1. It is best to have friends. During the climb, we were divided into groups. My groupmates were my climb buddies. We climbed together, we rest together and we shared trail foods and stories over meals or coffee or even while climbing. They didn’t make the climb easy, but they made it worthwhile with their stories, jokes and even just their company. When we got to the top, I had them to share the moment and the happiness with. Thus, no matter how busy you are, spend some time with your friends because happiness when shared is doubled.

Coffee break

Coffee break @ Alanib river

1st Regroup @ Alanib river

    1. Enjoy every moment. That was the first time I’ve been on Mt. Dulang-Dulang and who knows when I will be able to go back there. I tried as hard as I could, between deep breaths, to enjoy every step, every crawl under a fallen tree, every slippery path, the coldness of the weather, the enchanting mossy forest and of course, the majestic view from the peak; not to mention, the company of my friends, because that moment will never happen again. Yes, I might climb Mt. Dulang-Dulang again, but I might have different companions. For sure it will be another whole new experience. So enjoy life, every moment of it, because you might not be able to experience the same moment again.

Manny's garden campsite

  1. The path to the top is not easy. Definitely. You’ll ran out of breath and there’ll be a lot of obstacles like a big, fallen tree or a protruding branch, a slippery path, rocks, holes, etc. If you’re not careful enough, these may cause you bruises or other injuries. So it still boils down to being prepared because if you’re not prepared and careful, you might not reach the top. No matter what, just keep on climbing. Even if you’re very slow. As long as you don’t stop, you will eventually reach the top. As the saying goes, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall; what matters is you rise every time you fall.


Summit of Mt. Dulang-dulang

These are just some of the lessons you can learn from climbing that I consider major life lessons and could be applied in normal, everyday life. If you have other lessons that you want to share, feel free to write it down in the comment below. Climb on!

Fear factor level

Photo credits: Focalmatters Photography and Gabu Sanico.

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.