Freezing Planes · Running · Word Affairs

Strangers, Friends, and Mauyog

There were a million cicadas singing the song of summer, the heat piercing the skin but warming the heart; the jovial ditty serenading the exhilarating ascent ahead.

It was my second peak. The moment I decided to leave, I left for good. Whether it was because of heartbreak or boredom, I could not recall. Perhaps it was the latter, because travel, indeed, makes the heart humbler.

path (1 of 1)We were 26, jam-packed in a jeepney headed towards a destination only Stanley was familiar with. Stanley was a good spirit, always mindful of the task while the others frolicked about and left the trail to secondary relevance when convenient, opting for the familiar chat-and-go. Perhaps, we each had different goals.IMG_8195

I was with some people I know – Grace, Maie, Maying, Ryan, Jett. Former workmates turning good friends. But I know I’m alone. They were strings of lovers, sisters, college friends. I, the usual wheeler.

We were bound for Manunggal, the historical mountain that claimed the life of former Philippine President Magsaysay. This mountain is visible from my parents’ house. From there, it looked promising for someone who looks for the right amount of torture. But what I expected to be an arduous climb turned out to be a trail laden with a foot-friendly-path. I was disappointed – I hoped to kill myself before noon.

pines at drop-off
tri-leaf (1 of 1)
curious tri-leaved plants decorating the path and most of the areas we’ve walked through
engine (1 of 1)
preserved plane engine from the crash
Magsaysay marker
mum and pup
the area’s healthy, apparently

mountain (1 of 1)The challenge I wanted came on the second target. Tracing a cement-paved road that led to a small local village, we prepared for Mauyog.

resuming trek to Mauyog

I am not really foreign to mountains. I grew up among them, taking for granted their might because I thought anybody could take to the skies if they wanted it bad enough. I still believe so, but now with utmost respect for peaks, for trails and wild flowers. I have discovered that the lofty does not bow.

anthurium (1 of 1)This time, I have learned to abandon expectations. We began the ascent. Stanley came first, then the brave CJ and Dominic whom I broke the ice with through a painful wasp bite.

Ceej and Dominic chilling

I liked it. I liked the feeling of chasing my breath, watching my steps, avoiding thorns. I liked being able to leave my thoughts and concentrate on the moment, minding the minutest detail of risk. I don’t remember how long the climb lasted, but the vivid image of the shear rock at the peak still thrills me. The view was fantastic; the wind, a humid fan of reward. The gigantic rock looked like an enormous coral dropped from the sky.

lovetrekking (1 of 1)
guava tree (1 of 1)
guava tree. we looked for possible reaps. nada
mountainside (1 of 1)
view from the first peak
nest (1 of 1)
we found someone’s house
flowers in rocks (1 of 1)
wild flower specie

corals on top (1 of 1)

Of course, who could forget the pictures.

What do we look for when we put away a day to get intimate with intimidating facades? I still ask myself the same question. I still look for logic. But there is a certain contentment to be found in the paradoxical vice of running away in order to get to know yourself. And the people you meet along the way: their twisted faces, their sweaty brows, their genuine laughs. Somehow, those moments are when you find them most beautiful.

IMG_8306I’ll take this in now. And then I’ll scale some more.


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