To Day

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By Peter Rey Bautista

All In Good Time

Friday, April 25, 2014


I WOKE up at 3 a.m. and readied myself for the climb to the summit.

An extra jacket making it four layers of clothing aside from the leggings, jeggings and waterproof trousers I am ready to attack the trail towards the summit. A headcount is made and I count myself as number 7 of 18.

It was last Saturday, a week before this writing, when I broached to my brother JB the idea of joining me for a climb to Mount Pulag. Without any hesitation the young university president says, GO! After enjoying a bottle of Double Black and the unexpected text that Jesus Christ Superstar has just finished thus my time is up. I bid him goodbye, he offers lunch instead to celebrate Easter.

Heavy rains followed by thick fog prompted me to double check on the weather situation atop the mountain. The rain that poured would make any trekker's trek a horrible one and dangerous, too.

Our contact confirms only at 4pmthat the weather is fine with the occasional afternoon drizzle, not like what we just experienced earlier in the city.
The threat of postponement for safety reasons solely dependent on my judgment and the guide and "Kabunyan" up above. As every Juan awaits my decision I give it the go.

I tell my brother that we will push through. I also asked him if he meant to go or was it just drunken stupor?

He says he is good to go and asks if my son will join? I ask him the same and we both decide to. Mom at that moment asks if it was a good idea for her to join, too. I say it is now or never. I head for home that evening to pack my stuff.

I was hoping weather will not permit it. I might have been too forward in asking them to join me in this 1st Boy Scout Expedition. My brother and his son may be Boy Scouts but this will be different. My mom is a Girl Scout, but she's in her seventies. I hoped they were joking.

I get some word that we will expect some rain and single degree temperatures from dusk till dawn. Rain gear and warm wear a must. I am even more worried, not for me but for what I will get them into.

Up at 4am. I wait for cousin Ton then head off first to my mom then my brother, mom of course was ready, my brother another. Ton and I left ahead to catch up with the others. I leave mom to wake up brother and nephew (thought that he backed out). We all meet up at 6am near Ambuklao Dam for breakfast in Country Road Eatery where our guides are waiting. I honestly was hoping that they would change their minds.

Poisonous berries and mushrooms you will find and rare mountain orchids and anthoriums. Mossy Forest I find enchanting. The climb to the campsite, no problem. Light rain indeed greeted us, just right for a much needed rest in our tents. Sleeping quarters and partners immediately forged for the day.

At 5 p.m. despite some drizzle and heavy fog we head towards Radar Summit, a group of frustrated trekkers head downwards and warned us of impending cold and visibility but we head on. Miraculously, clouds disappear for us to see the sun set and more. On this clear night shooting stars were the stars of the night, billions of stars for me to see, then at 3, I was ready.

I tread the path, non-stop in fact. I take the lead and leave every Juan behind. A group that started ahead noticed me as I begin to close in on them. They may have been slow or I was just fast. They sigh as I fly past. I am up first at 2992meters up high. I actually thought my flashlight would not last that night. Not until 5 do we see first light and what a sight!

It was at 8am when we close camp, we head down, tired but inspired. Mom gets all the cheers as she may be the oldest female. We all hail, alongside my son and nephew they being last were still fast. This is how we roll. Time with Mom, Brother, Son, Cousin, Nephew, Friends and Scouters...Priceless!
As we celebrated our love for Mother Earth, indeed she smiled back at us. This Tuesday was our day when we were closest to the Heavens and to God.

Thank God for the time we had, we climbed in tribute to brothers Iggy and Diego. Thanks for opening up the skies for us to see what you saw and knowing too that you were "there for us" too.

It was on this day that we were happy, very happy!

Happy Earth Day, every Juan!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 26, 2014.

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