It's been a long time since my last trip (and it's been a long time since this trip happened, and it's been a long time since I updated this shit), and I was super excited about discovering another beauty again. I guess it's the least I can do to my dear country; explore her and show the world how pretty she is. Actually, I just had to get out of the city; take a break, and breathe some fresh air. I was about to lose my head. 

So we decided to climb another mountain (this happened November last year, I think), and I thought to myself, "I've conquered Mt. Pulag, this one should be easy."

It wasn't.

It was in fact much harder than climbing Mt. Pulag. We used the easiest trail in Pulag like we were just walking nonstop. I remember how many times I nearly passed out.. let them leave without me. Damn, my legs were shaking then. The thin air made it harder to breathe. But that longest walk of my life brought me to the second highest peak in the Philppines; with the most gorgeous sunrise I shared with tens and hundreds of fellow ninjas above.

And so I was excited about climbing another mountain, but I didn't research about it. Was I that confident? I don't know, or maybe I'm just really lazy, but also I blame our super slow internet connection. That's always been my problem. I can't even.

I didn't do my research, and never checked (fully checked) the link that was sent to me, to us, by our manager. I have the slowest internet connection, remember? So I thought I'll just wear my flip flops and shorts like I'm going to the beach or do the grocery shopping or walk in the park. I really thought it would be just like "walking in the park" kind of trail. If only I can translate to you "maraming namamatay sa maling akala" I will, but I can't. It's too deep.

So my stupidity almost caused me my life, my assumptions and my ignorance. Thankfully I have my friends to push me to buy shoes. And only if you were overhearing our conversations in Jollibee, our meeting place, you could have hit me in the head and push me outside to go buy a fucking pair of rubber shoes (at least).

 I was able to buy a second hand Nike shoes for Php500. It was nice; fits me well, and it lasted the whole trip. It was pretty nice for a second hand, and in good condition as well. Too bad I don't really wear shoes. It might just wait for another climb for me to wear it again which I don't think will be scheduled in the next 2 years.

We were scheduled to climb Saturday at 4 in the morning. Our guides prepared us and told us to expect something a bit hard but manageable trail even for beginners, and that we must enjoy every moment that we have while we're still alive.

After reciting the rules and regulations, a short prayer, and a few reminders, the dogs howled. The scary-kind of howling.. like they're sensing danger or some gruesome plot in the woods is about to happen. I wouldn't mind if we're not entering a mountain that could be full of enchanting forces and stuff (arte, stuff), but dogs' howling could mean something, and it was like 3:30 in the morning. One of the guides did say, "they're just hungry", and I told him "feed them, then!" I couldn't help it.

They gave us a few more minutes to prepare. The others grabbed some walking sticks. Some went to the bathroom. I, on the other hand, grabbed my sandwich because I was really hungry.

After a few bites, the dogs howled again. We were then forced to move on. Maybe they've been telling to us to go already. "The sun is about to rise! Move your asses! godamnit!"

A dog joined us in our trek. He didn't look hungry to me. It seems like, he just wanted to join us.. guard us, maybe, and that was a relief. I didn't think he was after my sandwich. I tried to talk to him but he was fast. He left me at the end of the line.

I was mostly at the end of the line because nobody wants to be the last. It's not that I wanted to be the last in the line (for the first time?), but every time we move on from a break, I noticed that every one was hurrying to line up. They cut me many times, actually. But I understand because it was really dark and kind of scary up in the mountain.

It was fine at first, that they're cutting me because I was accompanied by one of our guides. Unfortunately though (for me), he too had to leave me to check on those having difficulties with the path. Didn't he realize I also need help?

He went up to the first people in the line, leaving me with just my flash light trying to catch up with everyone. It wouldn't be that difficult, honestly, if it wasn't slippery. With my flash light (which was actually a head light), it should easy for me. But for a short-legged girl like myself, everything is out of reach.

I almost fell. Twice. I slipped and lost my balance. I almost break my body and/or find myself at the bottom back to where we started.. to where it all begun.

The difficulty for me stayed the same even when the sun went up. We then faced stoney paths with deeper mud. We found some broken shoes swallowed by the muddy trail. I think we found 3 or 4 of them. I'm really glad I had shoes, and it was sturdy, and they kept teasing me about my flipflops and how I could have survived wearing it, and blah blah and blah blah. whateverr.

I am kind of dependent on my friends when we're traveling together which is a really bad habit. But what else will I do if they have everything under control already? See? Lazy. But isn't that what travel buddies are for? They're there to constantly remind you of what to bring and what time and when to meet and to withdraw enough money because atm is not everywhere.. apparently. I truly am grateful to have them around.

But really, I never thought I would be needing to exert that much energy to reach the peak. I never realize how often I would have to cling on those ropes to prevent myself from falling to pieces. I didn't sign up for a suicide mission. All I wanted was to take pictures and share them with you.. was that too much to ask?

I'm not the adventurous type of mountain climber is what I'm trying to say. Trekking is just enough for me. I really should have researched about that. I could have said "no" or I don't know, but it was indeed an experience with tons of lessons and body pain. I agreed to climb to regain my sanity, to lose stress, but not to lose my life.

Well anyway, it was really stupid of me to think that a not so high mountain could not be so freakishly terrifying. Do a lot of research before going anywhere, alright.

So we reached tbe camp site at around 7 in the morning? I'm not quite sure, but I laid down the bamboo table as soon as we got there. I didn't mind if it was dirty. I just had to fucking rest and sleep, maybe.

Later on, they pointed the stain in my shirt.. it's all over my shirt.. and I blamed the table. I heard the word "eat" and "breakfast" and I remembered my sandwich. Three kittens and a mother showed up walking towards us, towards my sandwich. The dog who climbed with us, who I thought joined us to guard us was slowly walking towards my sandwich as well.

So it was his mission all along; to join us in our meal. Well, of course that's totally fine. What kind of humans are we if we don't share them our meals. Everyone shared their food with the beautiful creatures. But I think the dog ate almost everything, but he did give something in return; his smell.

I smelled like a freaking dog all day in the mountain. I must have leaned too close to him. Its his eyes.. they are so "paawa effect". I don't know how to translate that, but maybe he was also really thankful he thought he must return the favor, and that's all he could give.

I did say I was totally confident about this trek, which I thought was just really like a trek, but the first part already hit me. "You are so stupid to think your flip flops would be enough, you idiot."

I slipped.

To summarize it, I almost fell off and break my body, or I don't know, hit my head somewhere hard or roll back where we started. To focus on where to step on while lighting your way, as well as the other people around you (not everyone was able to grab a flash light), was a challenging task. It was challenging on my side because my legs are too short to rich those steps which were quite easy for everyone else. I find that really amusing.

In the end, I was the one with the dirtiest clothes, and hands, and legs, with a few scratches and what else?