The call time was at 5:30am so I alarmed my phone at 4:30 since I just live near the school. The alarm rang and I hit the snooze button. You know the story, next thing I know, I woke up at 5:40am. Good thing they waited for me, unlike Rannie who had to meet us in Tarnate, Cavite since he woke up at 6am and had to take public transportation cause we can't wait for him.
I'm not a professional mountain climber. None of us were. But the prospect of climbing a mountain on a Friday, just days before Christmas, excited me. It's something new. Another reason to escape a day of writing credit proposals and fixing documents for clients' loans.
The team was led by Bro. Juvelan who would be climbing the Parrot's Peak / Pico de Loro for the third time. The first time he did it, he was with his high school friends. Same story for me. We were also joined by other college dayzers.
And so, at around 9:30am, we began our climb. The weather can't be more perfect. Although it drizzled for some time, the sky was cloudy that no one got dehydrated or collapsed from the heat. Still, the favorable weather wasn't enough to cushion the difficulty of the climb (even for those who are used to hiking mountains). It was steep and slippery. You're not sure if the next rock you're going to step on would hold, or if the branch you are using as support would not break.
By 1pm, after probably half a dozen of rest stops, we were able to reach the camp site where hikers could set up their tents (if they plan to go for an overnight stay) before going to the last 20 minute hike to the summit. The spot looks very autumn-ish with dried grass looking like the hair of Grace Coddington being plowed by gusts of winds.
I would have died to shoot one of the promo stuff for either I'mAB or Hundred Saints, but bringing all the clothes and props may prove to be equally lethal. I just satisfied myself with taking pictures of the scenery with my friends.
The last ascend to the peak was the most difficult. Most of my friends approached the slippery slope as cautious as they can. I, on the other hand, ran/leaped stupidly grabbing the dried branches to keep myself from sliding. I was so scared of falling that I had to shut my brain and let the legs and hands do the moving. It worked though. I reached the peak uninjured.
When I reached the peak, only three people were there - Bro. Juvelan, Rex (our high school valedictorian) and Gelo (our college valedictorian), who hiked with a separate team from us. Words like awe-inspiring and breathtaking do not do justice to the sight. I want to scream. I had to prevent myself from jumping cause the wind was so strong that I might be blown off to the South China Sea.
I even felt teary eyed. It was a solemn encounter with nature; one of those moments when you just want to take in every sensation - the smell of the mountains, the heat of the sun, the sound of the wind among the trees and the sight that makes you realize how small in size and power you really are - and not let go, paralyzed in the beauty of nature. I felt infinite.
A lot of other things happened on our way back to our bus, most of them we were not prepared for like traversing the forest for the last 30 minutes under the light of the moon, or a stinging head ache (for me) caused by dehydration. But those little misfortunes only highlighted how amazing the Pico De Loro experience truly is.
I started my year by swimming with the whale sharks in Cebu with my college friends. It's only fitting that I end it with something equally exciting as this. Cheers for a more exciting year ahead!
Dare to move!