My first climb to Mt. Apo happened when I don’t even have an idea about the thing called mountain climbing. Although already aware that Mt. Apo exists and that it could be scaled via Sta. Cruz, outdoor craze for me then was a mere fallacy.
I was shivering with innocence about mountaineering when one of my colleagues (Cheryl) called me up and tempted me to climb the country’s highest peak. Aching to conquer this mountain, I suddenly found myself face to face with the huge challenge. And it somehow eventually gave birth to LOGSAC and my passion to outdoor activities.
The date was October 17-19, 2004. I was accompanied by some LGU coworkers Cheryl, Garneth, Jason, Jovany, Bryant, Rheva among others. I also used to know Papong (now a bossom buddy in mountaineering) because it was his first time also. Other climbers I met during that climb were Val and Manolo.
I outfitted myself with a basketball shorts, a sleeveless t-shirt, a homemade sandal and a backpack barrowed from a neighbor. Papong also wore a worn out adidas shoes and a blue tee. Our gears were for comical caricature, indeed, we were first timers.
The first day was bloody where we slept overnight at Tinikaran Camp 2. On the second day, we started our assault to the boulders where we tracked the wrong path along with Papong, Jovany and Jason. The right side of the boulders from Tinikaran 2 was a pathway to hell, that’s why we traversed from there going to the original boulder trail (now called by Gabo as Gabroq E-camp). It was a crossover from hell to pressure cooker with our respective lives at stake. Our water had vanished instantly and our gas stove’s cord was lost. At around 5:00 PM, we reached the summit campsite and there I saw my other company already feeling Apo’s spirit.
We headed our way back via Lake Venado and Almaciga Century Tree on the third day. Again, we got lost. Our next 3 hours from Venado was spent rooming around in the place called “nowhere”. I was unsure then whether I could still arrive home alive and kicking. When our guide saw the original trail, we were the happiest persons on earth. We continued trekking until we reached Colan. Except for Papong, we were all exhausted. Cheryl was an instant differently-abled chick. Papong’s pair of adidas shoes was good only up to the dead crater. But despite all the odds, that climb seemed to have changed my entire perspective of life. It taught me several lessons, lessons that I never learned when I stayed in the lowlands and open seas for 25 long years.
Certainly, all of us have our respective mountains to climb for in our lives. We may at some point lose our trails but eventually we’ll all be meeting at the summit soon. The challenges that lay ahead are just ordinary but its rewards are extraordinary. Life indeed is an adventure itself. And for me, it all started when I climbed Mt. Apo.