Monday, August 27, 2012


THE MEETING ON JUNE 21, 2012 at the Red Hours Convenience Store had already adjourned and I am with Ernie Salomon, Dominikus Sepe and two other people who professed to be “mountaineers”. Boy Toledo, Randell Savior, Jerome Tan, JB Albano and Roger Siasar had already left almost an hour ago and we were doing “clearing operations” on the tables.

We have all consumed many glasses from bottle after bottle of one-liter Red Horse Extra Strong Beer when one of the guys who had declared themselves “mountaineers” asked me why Camp Red1 do not follow Leave No Trace and is it necessary to carry axes and knives in climbing mountains? What, I asked myself, kind of dumb questions are those?

I don’t know if I get pissed or tickled to the bones with those stupid questions but I replied to the bloke that bushcraft don’t need to follow LNT and, besides, LNT does not apply well in tropical countries where the density of flora are many times thicker than those found in temperate areas. I added that although I don’t follow LNT but still I respect the spirit of its intention.

The guy was not convinced. Okey, no problem about that. We are entitled to our own respective opinions and we are in a free country anyway. I drink my beer and dismiss his dim-witted arrogance. Anyway, he is just new to “mountaineering” and I could understand his “idealism”.

By the way, these guys subscribe to travel tours and they can’t climb mountains without lots of bucks. They are part of the new phenomenon brought on by the commercialization of outdoor activities where one old-school mountaineer from Luzon coined the words to describe this - “corporate mountaineering”. Their ilk are half-baked clients who go to mountains in sheer numbers and in haste.

He began to quote “Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints; kill nothing but time.” and added why we should not abide by that. Oh, well, I answered that I have been there and have done that and over the years it had been my maxim until the time when I came to a crossroads where I have to choose which is most sane: the people on the verge of extreme poverty eking out a hand-to-mouth existence on the mountains or the environment?

The idea of poverty in the mountains is so alien to him considering that, according to his understanding, our country is so rich in natural resources and there are so many farms he saw while climbing. Did he? I bet he didn’t see that close and I bet too that he is blinded by his struggle to reach the top of a high mountain in a hurry, with oozing adrenaline, just to claim that bragging right and complimentary photos. He was adamant and totally ignorant and so stupid.

Then the conversation steered on to why I carry an axe and knives on the mountains. The “axe” he meant is my tomahawk. There’s a whale of a difference, my chap. Anyway, I told him that we don’t climb mountains and mountains mean nothing to bushcraft except as an obstacle. What we do is do little bush hikes and stay in one or two places to practice our craft – preferably in the wilderness where there are almost no people.

They start to laugh and I could see Dom and Ernie flustered red and ready to choke them waiting for my signal. His companion, a spectacled guy, couldn’t believe that there are wilderness areas in the Philippines, much more so in Cebu. “Yes, there are if you know where to look.”, I said; and that both are used to mountain guides that they never developed common trail sense to find their way around and, pointing to the one with the spectacles, “Especially if I remove those eyeglasses”.

These disciples of “corporate mountaineering” are sold out about LNT in that they are assured of their good planning, their stock of food and that they can’t comprehend when the SHTF2 comes; of Murphy’s Law. Oh God, they think they are in a fairyland. The real world, my chap, is a hard one and you need your wits and your blades if you want to survive in a SHTF situation.

To them, accidents don’t happen because their trips are properly planned and these are taken cared of by their travel agencies. WHAT? They talk as if they are just like clicking a mouse on a personal computer. These guys are plain nuts!!! Wow! Couldn’t believe what they just said. Why would I trust my life with other people’s planning and stupid rules? People that I don’t even know.

Ernie and Dom joined in the debate and begins to put some sense into their thick knuckleheads but it just increases the intensity of the sound decibels and the heat of where each stood. Ernie and Dom did their best because they were in the real world and have seen it up close while those two morons are contemplating of carrying Barbie Doll-and-dress sets into their next trip, I guess.

Could not blame them. They have this propensity to brag about their high-tech gears; about the mountains they have “conquered”; about the number of bottles of Tanduay they have consumed in their campsites; and just about anything to revel in the limelight of their just-found bloated ego. Unfortunately for Boy T, Jerome and Ernie, these two are with their group.

To be honest, I wouldn’t want to share the trail with them. I have been with them one time and I am not happy with what they did – bringing hard drinks on a day trek with lady guests. They finished three bottles at the Roble homestead and another three at the Busay Lut-od Waterfalls in a drunken orgy that goes on beyond dusk. That is gross irresponsibility and they should know that for they are supposed-to-be adherents of LNT. Hypocrites! 

There are so many of them and they think climbing a mountain is just about adrenaline rush and they label it as “adventure”, “exploration” or “expedition” in Facebook even if a million people have already gone there before them. Dreaming is free but don’t distort it to involve other people so they would click the LIKE button.

By the way, I don’t carry an axe because it is heavy and I am not a lumberjack. What I have is my tomahawk and it is very light and so efficient. It had been with me in Cuernos de Negros in 2001, in the Malindang Mountain Range in 2005 and my epic traverse of Mount Dulangdulang and Mount Kitanglad in 2008. LNT forbids carrying of knives and such but I am a warrior and I am in a real world. No LNT could stop me that.

For good measure (sic), I propose to Camp Red or any bushman worth his salt to follow this by heart:

  • Take anything what you need from nature;
  • Kill or hunt anything to survive; and
  • Leave no footprints behind.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3

1Based in Cebu, the only bushcraft and survival guild in the Philippines south of Subic Bay.
2Shit Hits The Fan! Standard acronym used by bushcrafters, survivalists and preppers when something goes wrong.


Whacky Adventures said...

I couldn't agree more. I admire how well you handled the situation though I know if you wanted to, you could've skinned them alive with 1 hand.

Please allow me to quote some of your words for my blog and page as I want to share these thoughts. Hope you don't mind Sir Jing. \m/

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