Published: May 27th 2008May 27th 2008
Nerie's Up Above
Near the peak, we took a breather on a cliff. Got a great view from above.
The unwelcoming dark, silent, rough road greeted me inhospitably. In an instant, it threateningly challenged my passion and my courage to begin. Mt. Makiling did not seem to be very inviting.
It was strange though that I did not even have qualms about climbing. For a first time climber, I love the very idea of communing with one giant piece of nature which will present me a grand showcase of her riches.
Yes, my climbing buddy was a securing presence; he certainly made me feel protected even amidst the vast darkness of the beginning trail. But, more than anything else, it was the unexplainable resoluteness and bizarre confidence in me that actually drove me.
That dawn of March 29, I was to put my lame, lazy, skinny frame to a great ordeal.
The entrance trail, though completely dark was an easy hike, at least for the first 30 minutes. Covered with fallen mahogany leaves, the first five-kilometer easy-walk from UPLB entrance was a relaxing promenade, I convinced myself.
Half our way though, I felt the pain in my left groin. Am not a doctor, neither a physical therapist, but I knew that I was suffering from
The View from Peak 2
The Peak 1 as seen from Peak 2
a groin pull.
It was, yes, a deterrent to continue, but it never made me decide to stop and just go back.After a beginner's record of 50 minutes to the first stop where shanties set up a Italic sitio
, the treading continued.
Completely ignoring the increasing pain still on my left groin, I was mesmerized by the symphony of the cicadas and of different birds who would take pride in performing occasional solo parts. The concerto even encouraged the huge trees and even small-to-moderate shrubs and their leaves perform their best dances too.
The trail started to get moderate to difficult due to logs and small-to-enormous rocks blocking the paths (these were carried away by the flash floods caused by Typhoon Xangsane (international designation: 0615, JTWC designation: 18W, PAGASA named Typhoon Milenyo) that ravaged the mountain in 2006.
My pain also worsened. My buddy was trying to conceal his concern about me and my pain, but I felt his better-left-unspoken compassion. Later he told me that he intentionally did not speak about his worries so as not to allow me feel pity, fear and discouragement. At times like that, what one could only have was him/herself
The feet that overcame the feat!
alone. Aside from Divine care and protection, human passion and determination to continue and finish the race or the climb were the only clutch one could hold unto.
Seeing the Station 25 marker brought a smile on my face.station-25.JPG Only 5 stations to go! We took a short breather on one of the cliffs, stared at the vastness of the Laguna plains. Enjoyed the glimpse of Laguna Lake from afar. Took some pictures of our tired feet.
After another 5 hours of grueling strides, plods and trudges and and few meters of climb, crawl and clamber, we finally reached our destination: Mt. Makiling Peak 2! I reached it!
The summit might not be a too interesting sight for the many trash left by the campers and climbers who went there ahead of me, and for the grown shrubs and grasses covering the peak, but who cared! I reached the peak! I did it! Then, too, I became conscious of the growing pain on my left groin. After only less than 15 minutes on the summit and a few pictures taken, we decided to trek down. Right there again, I realized it was the going down that
was far more grueling, especially when your left groin and the entire left leg are hurting.
Still, I shrugged the pains off: I had to remind myself that if I had the guts to climb up, I should also have the nerve to go down. No one would do it for me except ME!
Got no more water left, we trekked. After three-and-a-half hours of treading down, I felt that same route I was passing to reach back where I started was getting longer and far more strenuous. Debilitated by the pain, I crawled. Driven by my own desire, I tramped. Exhausted, I started to notice that the paths to starting point were tougher and more jagged and more punishing. My both legs were now complaining, my both knees were now shaking, my toes were now whining. Nonetheless, the character of fortitude and willpower never left my spirit. I simply entertained myself with the presence of Sir Ludwig and our passion to savor the wonder of nature as we encountered interesting "friends." (Take a peek of the pictures of a 34-year old cicada, a five-inch millipede, a pair of snails, lichen, fern trees, rattan, etc. View this montage
Treads and Plods some more!
created at One True Media).
On our last hundred meters, and after another 5-hour trudge, and as I see the shanties where we could rest, tears automatically flowed my cheeks. Sir Ludwig, held my hand and finally said a word: "Fulfilled?"
With uncontrollable tears gushing, I smiled, nodded and finally trod my last steps. Yes, it might be the physical pain that made me cry, but it was, too, the realization that I could do something far beyond my knowledge of what I could.
As Sir Ludwig comforted me while he was massaging my achingly swollen toes, he asked: "Will you climb Mt. Makiling again next time?" In between shrieks and grimaces, I simply replied: "Of course!"
There are more photos below