Monday, December 31, 2007

Defy Darkness with Friendship

Take nothing but pictures,
Leave nothing but footprints,
Kill nothing but time.

This has been a famous quote in mountain-hiking. As for me, as I enjoy Christmas vacation, I had this privilege to escape from the noise of the metropolis to my escapade at Batangas. The stay highlighted a youthful motive: to hike Mt. Maculot – our resident mountain.

Shooting two birds with one stone, the three-day stay started with the event of a friend’s house blessing and then an unplanned/unorganized/unforeseen trek towards the mountain. I thought about hiking early in the morning of the 30th but since there was this unanimous decision while I was snoring on the bed, we hiked late afternoon of the 29th right after the blessing took place.

We knew that leaving late afternoon would mean that we would reach the peak early evening of that same day. We brought extra shirts and consumable supplies that were necessary for the hike. One necessity foreseen was bringing flashlights since we knew that it would be a late-evening hike down the mountain, but we didn’t take it seriously and so we hiked without any. Actually we thought about ‘divine providence.’ Seems foolish since we defied our foresights right? Anyway, we continued the adventure!

Going up was already tiring and exhausting. Halfway towards the peak, the sunset as if told me that no light would be provided for on top – doubling the effort to hike up is necessary – it was already getting dark. A companion, Kuya Gary led the way to the top. He stopped for a while and called me. Responding to him, he instructed me to turn back and try noticing the trail. I was surprised to see nothing but dark silhouettes. I smiled and said, ‘That was nice, you should have said it earlier.’ Then we went on. Upon arriving on top, we rested for a while. We met co-hikers fully equipped with everything for an overnight stay.

An idea came to us about the possibility of staying since we were tired, but it was too cold up there, no one would survive the night without any fitting equipment. We were tired but we knew that we needed to go down and follow the plan for the day – go down without any flashlights. Good enough that we brought our mobile phones with us, the light might not be strong to guide, but it was the only option to survive. Down the mountain we went, the should-have-been thirty-minute hike down became two hours. We crawled like babies, walked like toddlers and despaired like prisoners. We kept the faith by singing all the melodies we could think of though not the world could imagine, all songs that could kill time, all genres that anyone could think of. We made it to the foot exhausted and almost desperate, but we knew that it was a thrilling, exciting, and memorable experience to be banked on our hearts.

At the end of the day, the famous quote was not realized except for the last line.

Take nothing but pictures, [but we’ve no cameras]
Leave nothing but footprints, [but we couldn’t since it was dark]
Kill nothing but time. [yeah! It was a double dead!]
Thank you Alan, Jesser, Kuya Gary, Igy, and Iman for being my companions during this very unique experience. It was my privilege to be with you.

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