Scouting and the great outdoors

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Saturday, February 2, 2013


WEEKENDS are a week’s little window for a perfect getaway. And we’re not talking of the RPG/internet-type.

In the United States, there’s a thing called Scout Sunday. It was agreed upon by the members of the Boy Scouts of America that the Sunday before Feb. 8—or Feb.8 itself, if it falls on a Sunday—should be marked as such. The celebration basically remembers the founding of scouting in America, and mobilizes scouts to go to their respective places of worship in uniform and assist during the service.

“Scouting was introduced in the Philippines by the Americans as early as 1910. However, the earliest recorded all-Filipino troop was organized in Zamboanga by a young second lieutenant by the name of Sherman L. Kiser through the sponsorship of Caroline S. Spencer, an American widow who was in the Philippines to do works of charity with the people of Sulu in 1914,” according to the official website of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

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Indeed, from the organization’s humble beginning, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines has now over two million members nationwide—easily one of the larger Scout organizations in the world.

Should one now take to the hills of Cebu and celebrate Scout Sunday around a bonfire and showcase of knot-tying contest? Well, not really. But chances are, people have been a scout before themselves, or have at least seen one; selling cookies, making fire or going out camping.

Sure, a person doesn’t need to be a scout to camp out. But some experience isn’t too bad either. Former-boy-scout now-turned-general-manager of one of the country’s premier outdoor equipment brands, Eduardo Solana seems to be attached with the climbing and camping already. He’s been to more than 40 camps and still counting.

“This is my way of life. There are a lot of things that people still need to explore and experience—why waste our time? When you’re 4,095 meters above sea level, crossing the island with your kayak; these are the few things that inspire me to continually live the life I have now,” the GM for Habagat shares.

In a world that is driven to pursue a highly technological and urbanized lifestyle, old-fashioned outdoor activities seem to be taking a back seat. Or is it?

“I don’t think so… the more advanced we are, the more chances for people to engage in climbing, camping or any outdoor activity. Faster transportation, communication, advanced equipment.”

“Bring your gadget, because you’ll always be excited to post and tweet about your experience,” he adds with a laugh.

As mentioned, weekends like today should be a great time to get in touch with nature. In fact for dads, a good camp-day-out with his young son should be a priceless chance to bond. If one is blessed with a backyard at his home, then that should be enough to do the trick. But for the younger more adventurous brood, there are a number of options like the popular Mt. Manungal or Osmeña Peak to consider.

Scouts, besides having the reputation as a really well-meaning and good-natured bunch, are probably equipped with the basic training to make a camping trip as less problematic as possible. But scout or not, there’s no hindrance that should keep one from enjoying what it’s like to live outside a concrete city.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 03, 2013.

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