when the terrain takes a different hue : COAT clean up climb march 22-23, 2014 @ Mt. Manunggal

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 
― Laozi

“Act without expectation.” 
― Laozi

Both quotations for the philospher Lao Tzu had great impacts on my every day perspective the day I decided to join the clean up climb to Mt. Manunggal. Though it was really obvious of the true objective of the clean up climb, still there had been realities unraveling with each tread on the trail. Each step became a revelation of what I can become and what I can dare to achieve and reach.

During the last meeting with the group, ergo the family as we treat one another, it was unanimously decided to take a big leap for Mother Earth. This activity is one of the pre requesites that we, the neophytes, must accomplish and learn. I consider this as another life changing event and soul searching. After the long wait, the day has come to once again trek the highlands and reach one of the most memorable places I’ve been with here in the Queen City of the South.

As an aspiring applicant for Cebu Outdoor Adventure Team, i eagerly prepared my things and food stuff for the much awaited climb. This year, I will climb to join the group in doing a Clean UP after the 57th Death Anniversary Celebration of the late president Ramon Magsaysay — known as the champion of the masses. People from all walks of life gather every March 17 or the weekend closest to that to commemorate his death and the rest of his companions. The celebration will be highlighting activities involving mountaineering groups and other individuals who wanted to get the hang of being at the mountain. Somehow a different kind of excitement and a certain high enveloped me as i then prepared to climb roughly 1,0003 MASL. This is the third time that I will be visiting this mountain for a very important climb as I had been here last year twice for my fundamentals in backpacking a.k.a Basic Mountaineering Course. It is quiet high and a bit challenging considering that we will pass by the route via Brgy Tabunan that would take at least almost 5 hours for the newbies. There was a part where the trail was open as there were no tree canopies that can protect you from the burning rage of Mr. Sun. It is of steep ascent, around almost 90% inclination. If it were not foggy and cool during that day, I would have fainted from the scorching heat of the sun. It was the first time that I had passed this trail since the first two visits was technically having a jump off point at Mt. Manunggal then camped at Tabunan either at the forest or at the riverbank. With much determination and not giving up thru the bumps, slides and the never ending stops to breathe some fresh air, I eventually finished the assault climb uphill and reached the campsite with flying colors. Good thing I did not palpitated and had shortness of breath though my load was really heavy for me. These are some of the lessons that I had learned during that activity that made me think twice about going to a climb unprepared. I should have followed my instinct. 😦

1.Always carry the correct backpack to balance out the load you are carrying. And leave unnecessary stuff behind.

2. Always be hydrated. Carry enough water and never be complacent on the available water source. What if the water is not safe for your sensitive stomach? It will just ruin your day of finding a place to drop your bombs. 🙂

3. Always bring rain breakers like rain coats, ponchos, waterproof jackets [if you have the budget], etc. Never be fooled of the sunny weather, chances are, you will still be drenched along the way. The weather up there is really unpredictable so be prepared for the worst weather.

4. Always carry lots of humor and smiles and common SENSE even though the trails are tough, uncertain and slippery. You chose this adventure anyway. Nobody forced you to join so enjoy every single second you are at the trail for you will never know whom you will bump into. It/He/She/They might change the way you veer on LIFE in general.

5. And last but not the least, prepare PHYSICALLY. TRAIN HARD whenever you can. It pays to sweat out carrying full load or running to help keep up with the demands of the climb physically and mentally. Endurance, Stamina and a very strong CORE is needed for everyone to keep up. I am actually guilty of this since I dont practice running or carrying loads everyday due to circumstance constraints. But nevertheless, I still somehow make time and squeeze walking/jogging/running then walking again to my daily household routine.

After pitching up our tents and cooking dinner, we decided to do the socials to ease up a bit. It also served as a getting to know you portion for most of the newbies and well getting acquainted as well with the older members. The night was young and everyone was merry except for the weather. It continued to rain after dinner and at first we thought it was just a mere shower. But as it really flooded our makeshift shelter and tarps, most members of the group decided to call it a night. Some of us, including me, decided to stay and make the most out of the night even though we were drenched with the downpour. Most of us slept with wet clothing since it was literally flooding in our tents. There were a few lucky ones who weren’t really affected by the downpour. Oh well, charged to experience. The following day, even with the strong winds and the rainy weather, we still pursued the main objective of the climb. We packed out our things, wore our gloves, prepared our sacks and started picking up non biodegradable trash on our paths as we leave the campsite. I was surprised that these are the most common trash left by the so called “backpackers” who didn’t have the guts to really clean up after their own mess. Haiz. People these days should somehow respect and realize that impact of their trash left at the area. The initial list are as follows:

1. cigarette butts

2. candy wrappers and other plastics

3. emperador brandy caps and other caps.

4. wet tissue. [i read it off somewhere that this kind of tissue is non bio therefore it should be thrown together with other non bio stuff]

5. plastic straw used to tie pegs used to form the perimeter.

6. empty bottles of brandy and other alcoholic drinks.

Even when the rain was pounding on our heads and backs, still we continued to cover as much area as we could so that we can at least gather a meaningful amount of trash on our way back. I know we have only done a little change on the environment but at least in our own way, we were able to somehow minimize the impact of that TRASH left by some, if not all, irresponsible individuals who only thought of their chill and relax time. It was really sad and disappointing but again, instead of whining and complaining, we just picked it up, placed it in the sack and moved on to another area.

As an afterthought, there will always be bumps and misfortunes at the trails. This will be a constant reminder that LIFE is a mystery waiting to be unraveled. There will always be TRASH left by some individuals who are thinking that there will be somebody who look for it after them. This may be a sad scenario but it is a reality. And most of the time, reality bites. It is now up to us who cared deeply for the welfare of Mother Nature to stop, pick up the trash, dispose it properly, breathe clean and fresh air and MOVE ON with LIFE doing minimal impact.

Here are some snaps from my friends’ cams since I don’t own one. 🙂

the 57th Anniversary Trek for the death anniversary of the late president Ramon Magsaysay
coat 14
on the way UP 🙂
coat 15
foggy afternoon!
coat 16
list of passengers that perished that fateful day. and my great grandfather is also included on the list.
coat 17
the Chapel 🙂
coat 18
close up of the chapel
coat 19
the magestic mountains in the verge of being denuded at this digital age.
coat 20
on the way to the camp site where a prominent growth of lichen is evident on the tree 🙂 sign of good OXYGEN and plant symbiosis!
coat 21
rainy morning 😦
coat 6
collecting trash from a dump
still nonstop collection
still searching for some non bio trash.
coat 2
after pitching my tent, got some snaps too 🙂 notice the thick fog at the back. we were freezing but it didn’t show at all.


coat 7
stop over at Brgy Tabunan to sign the log book and to take the much needed rest.


coat 8
awesome friends 🙂



the steep ascent 🙂

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