Thursday, October 18, 2012


HAVING GIVEN MY commitment to Edwin Gatia and the just-established Mountain Climbers Alliance of the Philippines, Inc. (MCAP), I am off to Metro Manila for a one-day sneak visit on July 8, 2012 – a Sunday. I will be meeting the core members of MCAP for the first time and then sign my name on the documents as an incorporator for our application with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock non-profit organization.

On that same meeting, I will discuss the merits of bushcraft and survival training for the MCAP members as a possible requisite for full membership. Edwin, the interim President, have requested me to do that honor being Director for Programs and Operations. The gathering will be at McDonald’s, located at the corner of Bonifacio Avenue and Baranca Drive, Mandaluyong City at 1:00 PM.

The night before that, I curtailed the excitement of my expected meeting with and discussing my specialty to the mountaineers of Luzon on their home turf by going to the Outpost in Lahug for a ska gig with Dominikus Sepe, Rans Cabigas, Mark Estrella and Roger Siasar. Going home quite tipsy at 12:00 midnight have drained that fervor and I may have to perhaps deal with a hang-over in the early hours of morning.

I do wake up at 3:00 AM and go on the process of preparing myself for travel. I just carry an Ortlieb 5-liter dry bag and wear the PIBC MMXII t-shirt, an Alburqani fleece-lined waterproof jacket (since it is raining in Manila on the news), a Mammut SDT hiking pants, a Stayuplate skull cap, black socks and a pair of compound-rubber sandals. My flight to Manila is 5:55 AM.

In darkness, I travel from home to my office in Mandaue City on a Honda Wave and park the motorcycle there. From Mandaue, I take a taxi for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapulapu City. I checked in and walk through three layers of security before I wait for the announcement of the Cebu Pacific Airways flight.

The plane promptly left Cebu for Manila and it arrive there at 7:05 AM. Jay Z Jorge and his lovely fiancee, Carla, meet me at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal III and we travel from Parañaque City to Malate, Manila to take breakfast at the Aristocrat Restaurant. There, Jay Z and Carla treat me to a sumptuous meal of arroz caldo, boneless chicken, Valenciana rice and coffee.

The hot soup of the arroz caldo tempered away my hang-over and warmed my stomach and the rest of my being. I sweat as I finish the first course; remove my jacket and retrieve my face towel to wipe some tell-tale feeling of perspiration. The second course is chicken so tender which I slice in slivers and daub in Java sauce for better taste. Grated papaya gives accent to the meal.

Coffee with milk finish my breakfast and we tarry for a long conversation just enough to waste an hour. Jay Z gifted me a book titled Mga Tanaga Ng Buhay1. It is authored by Jay Z’s aunt who is a professor of Filipino Studies – Winifreda Jorge-Legaspi. It is Tagalog poem in haiku form which were composed by Prof. Legaspi when she was still in her sick bed recuperating from a successful operation. I compose poem myself and the book will be an addition in my book shelf.

We transfer to Robinson Pioneer along EDSA at 10:00 AM. Since there is still a lot of time before my meeting, we visit the store of Conquer Outdoor Equipment located on the second level. Later, we transfer to the National Book Store looking for a fire-steel set when Raymund Panganiban arrive to meet us. It is good to see Raymund again after the Cebu Highlands Trail Project Segment II2 cross-country hike last March 22 to 25.

Raymund leave us after a half-hour for office duty while Jay Z, Carla and I return to the car parked at the basement and we all go to McDonald’s at 11:00 AM. We talk a lot of things while waiting for the 1:00 PM meeting over French fries and orange juice. I see Vicky Evarretta, the MCAP Corporate Secretary, arrive minutes before the time.

Later, the rest of the core members of the MCAP arrive and I get to meet and greet them in person. I see these guys in Facebook and now, this time, I get to shake their hands in the flesh. It’s good to be with ma’am Vicky, Reynold Boringot, Boyet Cristobal, Ephraim Alcaide Jr., Dino Sarmiento, Julius Roman, Iñigo Sarmiento, George Cordovilla, Sheralyn Asor, Max Lucentales III, Pepeton Cabauatan, Steven Dayandan, Kris Shiela Mingi, Lynda Remanes, John Paul Martires, Andrew Tarnate, Gene Jesu Arceno, Jhef Brondo and Hershey Acevedo.

Awesome! MCAP is established just this year purposely by Edwin to become an umbrella organization for all individual mountaineers in the Philippines. The core members are very humble but it is a very lively bunch nevertheless and, by the way their animated discussions are going, it would become a responsible governing body in the future. I could see their numbers increasing each day and each month for the years to come.

Ma’am Vicky express a motherly image and what coincidence for MCAP because “mothers”, according to my Native American brothers, “are makers of nations” and THAT is very true. In the middle of the meeting, ma’am Vicky is appointed, hands down, as Vice President of MCAP. Likewise, Dino got the Director for Membership Relations while Steven, a biologist, snared the Director for Environment Concerns.

Since I have a flight schedule at 5:50 PM, I have to leave early. I am pleased by the MCAP stalwarts for requesting me to stay for a few minutes, stopping their discussions, and take a quick opportunity of a group picture with them. It seems I am in seventh heaven with this gesture and I couldn’t believe it. Some of these guys created a name for themselves in their mountaineering pursuits but, here they are, according me “rock star” status. Wow! I am humbled.

Jay Z and Carla waft me away from McDonald’s and we cruised over a very open EDSA devoid of the usual traffic that had made this stretch of arterial highway a legend. We arrive at NAIA 3 at 4:00 PM after a brief gridlock at the Airport Road and I say my sincerest thanks to them. A great couple. Jay Z is a product of the PIBC MMXII3 and he will be an ambassador of Camp Red4 and bushcraft and survival for Luzon.

The Cebu Pacific Airways plane is delayed and I leave Luzon at 6:10 PM for Cebu. It is another superb landing at the MCIAA by their pilots. I take a taxi to my office where the Honda Wave is parked and sprint my way home. I am tired and I am dazed by the turn of events that occurred in one day and I am shell-shocked. I close my eyes and I say a little prayer then my spirit lie still. When I open my eyes, it is morning! 

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3
Photos courtesy of Jay Z Jorge and Maximus Tercerus

1Short Poems of Life.
2The Cebu Highlands Trail Project is an exploration activity that would create a trail along the middle spine of Cebu from south tip to north tip or reverse. Segment II starts from Lutopan, Toledo City; then pass over Pinamungahan, San Fernando, Carcar City and ended at Mantayupan Falls, Barili.
3Philippine Independence Bushcraft Camp 2012.
4The first non-commercial bushcraft & survival guild in the Philippines.

No comments: