Friday, June 20, 2014


BEFORE I BECAME ENGROSSED in both writing and blogging, I was a no-good kid riding on the seams of notoriety associated with the wild side of youth life. Yes, I ran with the badasses of my time but I ran a bit slow and that kept me out of real trouble. Although I was kept by my elders to study in a Catholic high school to iron out my seeming abhorrence of authorities, it had only made me a half-ergot and half-human and I got kicked out, just the same, by the friars.

What made me stand out from the rest of my ilk is that I have a wise grandfather to check on me. Nah, he didn’t carry a big stick but he kept a lot of books – good ones that would certainly make the wish list of any library of that day. He taught me to read ALOUD. He says he is half-blind and I believed him until I discovered one day that he could see fully behind those dark glasses. The ruse served its purpose well for I begin to develop a love for the books!

When he passed away years ago, his touch remained so. His main preoccupation – writing – begins to manifest in me in a seemingly slow process of self-discovery that alternated with elation and dejection. After I took a two-plus-decades-long personal pilgrimage of toils and adventures brought on by different occupations and diversions, I wrote my first article for an unheard of blog in March 2006. It was an experiment that was received well by some people and that encouraged me to approach writing as a hobby.

I have my own writing style though. This style is a mere reflection of the hundreds of thousands, nay, millions, of words, sentences, paragraphs and quotes that I have digested through the years reading books, novels, magazines, newspapers, documents, even chocolate and candy wrappers. The old man had taught me to read books like a scholar would, introduced me to woodcraft and encased in me the charm of the old world.

When I took a side glance at writing, I do it not for monetary reasons but as my own method of releasing stress and create a memory bank. My writing converted an abstract me into concrete through this blog, WARRIOR PILGRIMAGE. This blog is dedicated solely for my outdoors pursuits, which had taken a lot of my weekend time, and gave me the chance to introduce myself and Philippine bushcraft to the World Wide Web. For that matter, writing is absolute in all my activities.

Without a doubt then, I am a REAL outdoors blogger. A real badass outdoors blogger. I live what I write. I walk the talk. So do a few other bloggers who wrote with what they did outdoors. Our kind command readership following for the interesting articles we wrote (in which we were sometimes exposed to dangers) and, for that, we are anchors of opinions that would shape the very actions of other people. We write to entertain, to educate, to share, to push away the boundaries of silence and ignorance.

I choose not to be silent for I am no stone. Everybody can be everywhere and the outdoors is not the monopoly anymore of a few people, including me, but not everyone could write with passion after every activity. More than a thousand blogs are regularly updated in the Internet every week for the benefit of mankind. It is a diverse cornucopia of ideas and information and blogs dedicated for the outdoors are part of this. Warrior Pilgrimage is part of this. This blogger is part of this. 
What really is the beef behind this article? When you put forth an article, people read. You get comments or you get not. It depends and a lot loved being Mr. Anonymous. You get a pat at the back, some not and some are spams. Those that do not agree make the article worthy of readership traffic. An argument would spark somewhere down the ladder of opinions and, sometimes, in the heat of the exchange, unsavory words and sarcastic phrases take shape. The delete button would have been useful but, in my case, I let it be.

I visit other people’s blog too to read articles and that includes all the reactions. When someone posts an article about his solo climbing activity, there was a deluge of comments. One particular comment, with complete arrogance hidden behind anonymity, caught my ire. Mr. Anonymous says to the blog owner that he is just “another wanna-be blogger wanting to be a mountaineer”. I would have defended the blog owner with sharp replies but when you are an ethical blogger you should hold your punches.

I praised the blogger for his bold post about solo climbing. I am also a soloist. I had hiked mountains alone many times. I would prefer being myself than with other people and I had written countless articles about my solo treks and, so far, none had challenged me on that aspect. The Leave No Trace is very explicit about the dangers of hiking alone among mountains but when you declare your adherence to LNT and do something contrary, you become a rich target of Mr. Anonymous and they are legion.

As for me, I had never ever been a fan of LNT because I love more my freedom of unimpeded movement and I do not care if you agree or not. I am an unconventional outdoorsman that find joy in the methods and things done the old way. Even as I love solo walks in the wilds, I would not encourage it to anybody. I do not want to give an impression that it is alright. A lot of would-be soloists had encountered muggings, getting robbed, caught in snares, swept by floods, got injured or fell to their deaths because they do not know the real world.

I am sorry for shooting down your expectations but soloing is not for everybody. You need to have experience, skills, agility, endurance, strength, wit and cunning and a lot of common sense. A big knife would be a big help on the trail. Not inside your bag but carried openly to manifest your true worth as a real badass. No timid steps are accepted in the big outdoors but solid footings declaring your right to be there. Haste and overconfidence would lead to carelessness and your own demise. A knowledge of modern or traditional navigation is a must going in tandem with wilderness safety and bushcraft.

The elation to accomplish your trip by your own self without companions to bolster your confidence is unquenchable. Daring yourself and coming out to do the same thing is like an aphrodisiac. Believe me, it is an elixir for troubled thoughts and sagging spirits. Apart from that, you do not just walk in without considering your own safety. If you do not know how to blend in with your surroundings and without good knowledge of trailcraft, you better give up that idea of solo walks. Leave that to fools like me.

This fool writes and belong to a line of warrior-poets who you thought vanished many years ago. Fools like me are not born everyday. Of course, not all outdoorsmen could write or blog and not all writers or bloggers could become outdoorsmen. Writing, they say, are for the desk-bound and for the faint-hearted. Then where does that place me, huh? What you do not know is that when all outdoorsmen start to write then you will have a safer world to live in or, for that matter, a safer mountain to climb at.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer


Unknown said...

Nice article sir. I love the outdoors and I have a blog too but I don't write as well as you do. Hehe. I have tried solo hiking in Babag and it was an addicting experience. It was so much different compared to the hikes with a group that just aims to reach the towers and finish the hike. I prefer to take it slow and stop and interact with the locals if given a chance. I met the Roble family and their residence has become my major stop for my hikes. While some just pass by to take a mid break, I usually stay for at least an hour talking with the Roble family. My day hikes in this trail is my weekly cardio exercise. But it is also my getaway from the stress of the city life. It is also my refuge or retreat whenever I have problems in my life. Being alone in this mountain range gives me peace of mind allowing me to think things through. To see my life problems from a different perspective and be reminded that I'm not alone in my life. The idea of leaving the comfortable city life and walking the trail alone. Through this I get to think about what I have left behind and the things that matter most in my life. Anyway, thanks for this article sir. I just realized that I'm not always alone out there. May our trails cross someday.

Cross said...

You nailed it once again Sir. Congratulations on another very well-written piece.

Anyone can be out in the wild, but be out and write about it? Yes, of course! certainly anyone with a keyboard can do so after going out on an adventure. But would it be a quality read? Not always.

To go out, come back and write about it and write the story with so much badassery and flair- that's sterling. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Outdoor blogs that's truly worth a read.

But then again, the vast majority of readers only wanted 'itinerary' and directions and fare cost so why bother? Everyone misses the point and dismisses it as just plain jane bragging, when in fact at the end of the day, it's only for the love of writing. We just happened to be thinking writer-outdoorsmen, is all.

With regard to soloing- i guess it's one thing that will only be fully understood by fellow soloists. In my case, I have a standing agreement with my CINC- the wife. My return to the outdoors was based on the conditions that I am never to go solo, and never to play viet cong roulette on an active volcano. I am honoring that commitment, but only for a few years. My best outings in the wild have always been solo, shooting and trapping by my lonesome from '92-'96. The level of peace, tranquility and spiritual fulfillment achieved during those times will never be equaled by any mountain summit climbed in a group. Needless to say, i'm not into soloing these days but I do not know for how long I can rein this in. Hehe.

Cheers sir, looking forward to more of your quality pieces.

Watch your 6.

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