Friday, November 9, 2012


THERE COMES A TIME when the heart seeks its sweet spot in a very imperfect world. It finds its solitude and happiness where lines and edges are obscured by a heartbeat semblance of independence that have had itself been restrained by the time values of modern living. Time flies fast but the self seeks the unconventional and the roads less paced.

This heart seeks the life of old. The excitement of a chase during a hunt might very well describe this feeling. It could also be the sensory discovery of new places, faces, scents, sounds and warmth that a little boy experiences on his deviation from the routine. We know that the sense of adventure are beginning to wane nowadays and much of it are literature (and hype) as the world becomes too small for our kind.

Haphazard travels atop buses and cargo trucks early in my youth, running away from home, translates my idea of adventure which progress later by sailing into remote islands and strange harbors as a tug crew. Sweating among the lower ranges of the Sierra Madre as a grunt provided me the peep hole of what am I to assume in my weekend pursuits later. I take that chance when the Cebu Mountaineering Society (CeMS) planned a trip to Mount Pangasugan in 1992.

We failed to attain our objective, yet we rejoiced. We survived the jungles of Pangasugan and we lived to climb another day. We had overcame the difficulties and I was thrust into the middle of the club’s euphoria and became part of it. That was a very beautiful time worth remembering. Beautiful friendships blossomed thereafter and drinking sessions mattered well into the early mornings months and months after that.

I got myself attached to the circle of Bebut Estillore, Patrick Young, Tony Cabigon, Dennis Legaspi, Lilibeth Initan, Ann Gonzales, Rosebelle Daculan, Atong Genato, Ben Lao, Alex Manlawe and Nanding Mercado. The elders at that time like the late Joe Avellanosa, Dr. Abraham Manlawe and Judge Menmen Paredes pampered me and I blossomed into one of the most able and experienced climbers of CeMS.

Many mountains, many campsite stories, many trails and many came and went and laid low. My time with CeMS had become rare after Mount Apo in 1994 as I embark to put more time on my career. This lasted more than a decade with few interruptions made possible by Joe, Judge and Doc that saw me traversing the Malindang Range in 1998 and 2004 and the Cuernos de Negros Range in 2001. When the warrior’s pilgrimage ended in 2007 I found myself back with CeMS.

The year 2008 found me holding the reins for CeMS and I was swept in a number of activities like the fabrication and installation of steel environmental signage at Mt. Manunggal in March; the specialized mountaineering seminar at Olango Island in May; and the epic traverse of Mt. Dulangdulang and Mt. Kitanglad in three days of June which I led. The last activity had been successful in the sense that I am with two other veterans of Mt. Pangasugan and we nipped in the bud when things start to go awry.

My time among the high ridges and trails had been numbered after I based my performance of that traverse climb with outdated gears and heavy loads. Although light backpacking had become a vogue among the present CeMS members, I was not about to give up my hardy Habagat Venado II – a hardware that typified the old-school kind that tracked the mountain trails of the ‘80s up to the mid ‘90s. Change is good but not at that time. I abhorred the new gears in the market for its unmanly appearance, complex design and for its atrocious price tags.

One of the last things that I would not dare let go is my freedom of unimpeded movement. To go anywhere I chose to and to do anything I chose to do. To walk my own trail and set up my own camp of my own choosing and own time without being dictated to and that includes making a campfire. In the early days, these had been possible but, when I made a comeback, there were now a lot of rules, obviously, influenced by this Leave No Trace.

Almost all local outdoor clubs abide – to the letter - the principles of LNT, an ideology formulated by environmentalists of the dominant Western culture that throws a monkey wrench on individual freedom. The spirit behind LNT is good and should be taught but imposing these as a rule is counter-productive. My freedom of unimpeded movement and plain common sense takes precedence over useless practices and I have to improvise to enjoy the outdoors better.

I yearned for that freedom and it has to be earned even to the point of distancing yourself from some relations that you have known so well for sometime. This is not easy but last July 29, 2012, I finally tendered my resignation with the Cebu Mountaineering Society thru my close friend and mentor, Doc Abe. I believe that CeMS could move much better without me and relieve them of certain questions caused by my inactive status for a long time.

The values and history of my association with CeMS are embedded well in my heart as well as the treasured memories and friendships that I have nurtured through the years. I have only the kindest words for CeMS and I have written several articles of their activities in my websites. My separation from CeMS will never ever hinder me to share the trails and campsites with them anytime and I will still support their programs and activities should they find me relevant.

I have walked my own path and made it different from all the rest and so the Camp Red Bushcraft and Survival Guild is hatched but I preferred that the loose and relaxed atmosphere that CeMS had enjoyed in its early days be relished by my present stripe of tigers. Emphasis will be more of adaptation and not depend on gears; the full enjoyment of the freedom of unimpeded movement and discretion are guaranteed; and to never tailor-fit itself with this LNT.

The chase is on and the juice of excitement flashed from the eyes of the hunter as it is gaining ground on the prey. Running against the wind, the path is jagged and steep but I am almost onto that place where few mortals go. When you are there, expect sheep to snarl like a wolf at you...

...then go for the jugular!

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer


LAGATAW said...

Lucky are those who were born in an age when everything was crude. Self-reliance was better practiced. I'm just waiting for that time when cable cars send campers to the campsite so that I can proudly say 'In my time, we walked trails!'

And I couldn't agree more to the whole of the paragraph on LNT. The principles are good but to impose them as a universal rule for campers and hikers would be contrary to the ideals of a modern-day Apache.

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