Another slightly late post from yours truly.
This time, I’m back with a year-end reflection warranted by the finale to the shit storm that was 2016.
Please note that this entry isn’t a hiking guide. If that is what you’re looking for, there are other blog posts floating somewhere in the interwebs. Google is your best friend. However, if you want to continue reading and laugh at my misery, I wont stop you. Also, that’s not me on the pic. That’s Sir Edwin. More on him later
If you’ve read the previous entries in my blog, you’d know I have commitment issues.
I was going to weasel out of this hike in favor of sleeping and resting the red tide away, but I decided not to and went anyway.
I spent fifteen minutes telling myself that I have been dodging my responsibilities all year long and that it’s about damn time I change that. This hike was supposed to be the one redeeming activity against all the bullshit I spewed in 2016.
Thankfully, in many ways, it was.
*I have friends on FB and Instagram all serene and zen like on their hikes, perching precariously on the edge of a cliff, facing the horizon. That’s all I wanted to get, really. I just wanted to be this dog. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to unleash hell on me while yelling ‘You gotta work for it, bitch!’.
It’s worth noting that she’s an over reaching cunt who wanted to be a parallel to my life.
In case you can’t tell, there’s going to be so much swearing in this post. I ain’t censoring shit for ya
Before I go on a self-indulgent and gratuitous tirade, here’s a quick rundown of #TeamLubog:
#TeamLubog [hahah sagwa]
You probably can’t see it, because my pasty white ass has a tendency to blend together from afar, but here I am giving my ever so patient cousin the bird because I was so DONE. Hahah good times
Sir Edwin – Mountain goat and kindness personified habal-habal driver turned tour guide. Without him, I know FOR SURE I wouldn’t make it back alive. I would’ve been disfigured beyond recognition, and my parents won’t be able to hold a funeral because my rotting self will be up in the mountains, haunting hikers ‘til kingdom come out of spite and saltiness.
Me – That idiot in horror films who dies horribly because of sheer stupidity.
My Cousin – Grand enabler, hiker and photographer extraordinaire, who you can’t see because she took all of the photos and refuses to get in the frame.
My Bro – The douchebag who thought it’d be great to end the year by facing Mother Nature’s cruel butthole. The blogs we read did say that the whole thing is supposed to last 4 hours max. Not his fault he can’t control the weather. Doesn’t mean I wont blame him tho.
Note: I say douchebag with all the love a big sister can harbor for her little bro.
Don’t let that peaceful photo fool you. This was a hellscape
I woke up that day thinking the worst adversary I had to face was the harsh sun beating down my skin and that I probably would get a few nice clips for my vlog and pictures for instagram.
I had everything planned from the way I’d take a few video clips, the shots I need for the vlog, and the music I’ll insert in the background [I chose Bent Van Looy’s My Escape. Totally my current fave. Had I actually made the vid, it would’ve been absolutely EPIC. Just sayin.]
Remember when I said that the hike was supposed to be 4 hours max? It turned into an 18 hour fight for survival.
It rained the night before our hike, turning the mud ridden roads into vicious hell traps for the inexperienced hiker, and your average couch potato. It also meant the path our habal habal can traverse was cut down exponentially. I should also warn you, these roads aren’t meant for your cheap-ass, run-of-the-mill motorcycle. Only a horse or anything with enough muscle power can go up and down this course. Bring out the big-wheels, you’re in for a wild ride.
*sings Na na Na ~ this path aint for the faint of heart ~*
This was one of the rare times the sun chose to grace our presence and one where I’m not struggling to pull myself out of a mud pit.
See the photo above? A good 3 hours was dedicated to trudging and sloughing our way through it before reaching the hiking trail. So fun. And by fun I mean total BS because I was screaming obscenities every five minutes. Mother Nature was having a good laugh over my hardships.
Like many things, even though I try to prepare contingency plans for when shit hits the fan and think ‘I’m good. I can handle this’, life still manages to up the ante and throw a curveball at me.
I wasn’t even halfway there and I was already throwing the towel.
There was a point during that 3 hour walk where I just gave up. I stopped avoiding horseshit and mud altogether and soldiered on because I have no other choice.
Later, when I’m home and comfortable, I realized, it’s nice to be thrown in situations where I have no choice but to complete my mission. Often, I’d abandon things out of laziness, disinterest, or fear. After a year of acknowledging and addressing my commitment issues, I’m still just a few boxes from the June last year. No progress at all
That felt like a new kind of low, even for myself. I whined like the spoiled brat I know I am, and wished for a Grab Helicopter to come pick me up. I’m that entitled. Gross.
I know it looks like I shat my pants, that’s just mud.
I even desperately asked our guide if there was a way to chop our 3 hour walk. I sounded worse than a child with a soiled diaper. Hey, I already look the part too.
And then we started encountering the locals on their way down the mountain. I felt shame. The realization that these people go up and down this trail for at least 5 days a week, often only in slippers, out of necessity was enough to make me shut my trap. I had to double back and rethink my actions thus far. I have been living an easy life, and in many ways, I know I am more fortunate than others.
I now had a taste of how terrifying nature could be. It’s beautiful sure, but once you get used to it, the never ending sea of green and no sign of help for miles, and the poor phone reception finally got to me. Why anyone in fiction or reality would like to have sex in the woods where your foot placement could be the difference between life and death is beyond me.
Still, the locals get by just fine. What surprised me more, other than how they manage, is their generosity. We were offered shelter, a brief refuge from the clutches of the bitch we call nature, water, and food. You’d think, they’d be selfish because they have so little but no. It was the opposite. They were respectful too. Everyone we encountered greeted us and encouraged us on our way up.
Damn, gotta go harness the power of the people. Put yo hands up and lend me your strength!
June, your inner weeb is showing
After 2-3 hours of mud wrestling and bathing in horse shit, we finally reached the beginning of our actual hiking trail. Look at that. Here I thought I finally found fucking peace. That I suffered enough and everything moving forward would be easy.
I thought the never ending mud trails were the worst.
^Mother Nature as a dude in a business suit just because.
I can still hear Mother Nature cackling in the distance and in my nightmares.
Half of my life has been made easy for me. All that’s left is to pick up my ass and walk the fuck on. I even had people willing to help me along the way, all I had to do was ask and carry half of my weight.
Take Sir Edwin for example. This man had no reason to guide us up the mountain but he did anyway. He was literally my human crutch throughout the journey.
See those limestones? Pretty, right?
Yeah. PRETTY DEADLY. Those surfaces are slippery enough on their own. Coupled with a nice glossy layer of rain water tho? Instant meat slicers. I only fell less than ten times and bruised my body in places I didn’t know possible. On the bright side, at least I didn’t fall on my face and went home looking like Frankenstein’s monster. I was only able to complete this hike because of Sir Edwin, my bro, and my cousin.
Then again, even with all the support I receive, during the hike and in my life, I still actively chose to not do anything unless I absolutely have to. It’s a shitty way to live. And because I was so entitled to things I think I righteously deserve, I cannot see past my anger and did not know how to be grateful that I’m equipped with at least a 50+ armor and inventory DnD equivalent in life.
I spent so many years angry.
I don’t have to wake up every day worrying about putting food on the table or keeping a roof above my head. I am above the poverty line. My family loves me. I don’t have to fend for myself. Half the world would kill to have the kind of life I’m living yet here I am, too focused on my anger and the perceived ‘injustices’ done to my person to realize how lucky I am.
I was also lucky enough to not come into this life as a deer. Can you imagine running for your life every single day? Fearing the jaws of apex predators just waiting to sink their maw into your flesh?
So I had to try. And I tried. Fuck, I TRIED.
Note: Having a sudden existential crisis in the middle of nowhere, when your blood sugar is low and you’re almost dehydrated is ill advised.
Please try to keep it together until you get home.
They say things that matter require hard work, and, while I agree to some degree [heh, it rhymed], at the moment, as I was holding on to the local flora for dear life, all I could think about was FUCK HARD WORK. Every 30 minutes or so, I’d stop and wait for the tears to come because I’m a 20-ish man-child, that’s why. I was heaving my lungs out, and it felt like my lower half developed its own sentience and left me.
However, the tears didn’t come. No waterworks other than sweat. I know I have the strength to finish anything I set out to do, I just prefer whining and letting events unfold on their own.
2 hours later, we finally made it up the summit through their iron clad will [I say ‘their’ not ‘we’ because my will is as flimsy as crepe paper]
I, unfortunately, didn’t get my gratuitous summit shot because I could no longer feel my knees. No two people can occupy the same rock either, so falling down to my death would’ve been inevitable if I tried. Instead, I slept against the cold limestone and promised myself I’ll do better next time.
You’d think, after all that fuckery, it’s finally fucking over. This is the end. We’re done. Wooh we’re going home. It’s bound to be easier now that we’re going down, right? Right???
You might find it hard to believe but the trek down is much more difficult than the trip to the summit. It’s extremely easy to let gravity do its job and roll yourself down. [I did this at one point. Sat on the mud and let the steep slope and soft earth work its magic. I would’ve gladly broken my bones if it meant the hike down could be shortened to 20 minutes but our guide stopped me].
My young adult life revolved in ways I could make life easy for me consequences be damned. Shortcuts and cutting corners were my go-to methods. It gave me instant gratification sure, but the long term effects were damning enough to turn me into a scared hermit lady.
By the time we arrived at the registration site [still 3 hours away from anything resembling the fringes of your average city], it was already 7 PM. We’re out of food, water, and strength.
But it was SO DAMN SATISFYING to turn around every few minutes, look at the mountain, and repeatedly cuss it out.
Then, as if we haven’t suffered enough, it rained FOR HOURS. HOURS.
It was as if that bitch heard me and took my profanities to heart. I may have doomed our group into looking like drenched chicken nuggets.
We couldn’t brave the path down because a. It’s uneven as shit. Think of the tracks monster trucks use, make it a hundred times worse, and you’d get the picture. b. the brakes and chains of our habal habal needed fixing. I felt bad because our guide had to spend 3 hours scrounging for materials while fixing our ride under a torrent of rain.
3 HOURS, man.
The whole time, I felt life and nature were on a WWE tagteam match against me, just repeatedly slamming down some perspective on my hard ass noggin in quick succession. I felt life grab my face and say ‘Listen, you little shit. Life is hard. Everyone’s life is hard. Stop being a special snowflake and grow up’.
Damn they were ruthless.
But we made it.
I got none of what I came for and instead I took home some damn perspective and an overwhelming awe for the kindness I didn’t know or believe people are capable of.
To my cousin and my bro, thank you for not throwing me off a cliff for being unbearable. You could’ve left me to die but you didn’t.
Til next time, mofos!
*that dog picture was taken during my cousin’s hike in Bontoc, Mountain Province. Can’t get out of your room or office and want to see the great outdoors anyway? Go live vicariously through her. Find her work here. She’s all kinds of amazeballs and awesome sauce. Kudos to her for providing the pics.
**if you were confused by my writing, I don’t blame you. I’m hardly ever coherent. We left my cousin’s place at 4[?]AM and came back at around 2AM the following day.
***The writing style in this blog post is meant to be overly dramatic and should not be taken seriously. Just adding this in case any of you butthurt divas don’t get it