Saturday, December 17, 2016

NAPO TO BABAG TALES CXV: Monotony is Sweet

IT DOES NOT MATTER IF I had been here two days ago. The opportunity of working out myself on my sweat room without walls is welcome anytime. I do not mind the monotony of it. Maybe I am sick or it could be you but, I am sure, it has to be you. The YOU that have had no time for moments like I loved doing all the time or, if you do have time, you may be dreaming of those faraway spectacular places where the purse makes a difference. And how did you fared after that? Or how many times can you do it in a year?

Yeah...yeah...yeah...blah...blah...blah. I have heard that before.

No matter. There is hope after all. You have not mastered your own self and you are there on the fringes of your daydreams. You should shift paradigms and dig down into your roots, past that veneer of Western-style education where you are taught conventional thoughts, and that corporate hum-drum which generates so much stress on your body, your thoughts, your emotions and on your spirituality. You can escape all that and reinvent yourself every weekend and learn to accept the mother of all monotony by being unconventional for just a day.

Try the Babag Mountain Range in Cebu City. IT IS just THERE!

Elevation does not matter, my friend. It is the effort and, conversely, there is so much freedom of movement and access, that effort seems to be just a footnote, to include your expenses. You can not spend so much just to climb over your fears. Ask some of our friends from Metro Manila and they will tell you how they have wished they were born in Cebu or were working here. You are so fortunate that this mountain range is right in your backyard yet you disregard it for somewhere else.

Explore your own backyard instead. Learn the game of Monotony.

Start with just a few friends. When I begun to reclaim my place in the outdoors in 2008, I hiked from Guadalupe to Napo to Mount Babag (752 meters) and back each Sunday of each month. FOR ONE YEAR! When I have gained enough stamina, I roamed confidently the Babag Mountain Range and beyond. Even beyond that very moderate monotony of one weekend day for it increased into four Sundays of each month. Anyway, when you start being adventurous, you develop good relations with local residents first for they know their places very well.

Fast rewind: A look at the past.

You know, I used to climb mountains in faraway places during the ‘90s. After Mount Apo (2963 meters), you have to cross international borders to feed more your ego of chasing dreams and higher elevations. For an ordinary laborer, that would be extravagant and unthinkable. Running a household and providing education to your children are more important. I admit, I started on the wrong foot but, at that time, climbing peaks were bohemian. It was years later that I am no mountaineer after all and no desire to be. It was just the wrong choice of words.

Remember this: Big mountains demand big pockets.

The word mountaineering has a special ring to it. It is associated with the legendary individuals who made their living off the forbidding peaks of the Himalayas, the Denali, the Karakorum, the Andes, the Alps, the Caucasus and the massifs of Antarctica. All above 4000 meters! All technical climbs requiring all fours, experience, more time, coils of ropes, gears and special equipment and they were all appropriately dressed. All can afford it because they were backed by big industries who loved to plaster their names on every inch of space of synthetic fabric and by paying clients.

Forget mountaineering. Be realistic. Just be an ordinary outdoorsman.

That is what I am doing now. It is September 4, 2016, just another long sequence of monotonic Sundays. Working out with my fellow outdoorsmen belonging to the Camp Red Bushcraft and Survival Guild. Another dirt time. We are above Camp Xi and are in a low ridge that goes up to the Babag Ridge but we do not have to walk all the way there. We stop whenever we find a good place to enhance our cooking skills and, of course, to indulge in a quiet feast. A real fire has just been started and soon we will have coffee. It is good to be just a lowly bushman.

Monotony is sweet but it will not be forever.

While access to places in and around the Babag Mountain Range are very much free, why go to places where entry fees and all other charges, invented or not, gave you so much stress instead of escape from it. I can always read people ranting in Facebook about these things and I could not understand why these same people keep on going back to these places and rant again? I rather choose monotony. However soon, I expect stupid foreign-sounding subdivision names claiming the foothills here and make access difficult for us. Possibilities like these are just around the corner. It happened in many places.

The great outdoors workout.

The mountains and all that is found in nature nurtures the mind and makes it sharp. It expands its curiosity into nooks where you had not been to yet. That could have been alright with you in your expensive treks but you are restrained by time. In the Babag Mountain Range, you are not and you could do it anytime you wished. I just discovered today a small waterfall and a surviving marang tree (English: Johey oak) which the oldest locals never even knew of its existence. A possible heirloom species. Then there is a cloud rat that has no fear of my presence. These are small discoveries yet it ensures my workout of mind and body is going perfectly.

What lies beyond?

The Babag Mountain Range is the seed of where my great exploration of the whole backbone of the Island of Cebu which metamorphosed into the Cebu Highlands Trail. These often-ignored mountain range developed me into someone which, twenty years ago, I could not have even comprehended. When I stood on that ridge of Babag in 2008, I looked beyond the other side and saw my dreams unfolding before me. There was bigger country out there and there were more mountains and trails. And then there was me.

Post-euphoria remedy.

Why go to these spectacular places just to be seen in your social circles? I know how you feel when you open your Facebook account and you are reminded of a memory of your impressive trip of three years ago. Most of us go to places only once in our lifetime and, sometimes, twice but, I am quite convinced, you can do it many times as you would wish as long as it is realistic, achievable and cheap. Sometimes, it takes just common sense. Monotony is part of that.

Document done in LibreOffice 5.2 Writer

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