Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Zambales Mountains

Our Philippine Army friend (Simon) came over again to Subic to celebrate almost a year's long worth of friendship. And what better way to commemorate the time, we thought, but to climb another mountain like we did when he first visited.

Hearing of a house now on top of the mountain we climbed before, I convinced Simon to climb it once again. "I could also title the article as 'New Man on the Mountain,'" I thought.

I remembered the hardships during our last climb, so I wisely wore pants this time around. However, I opted to keep the tsinelas or slippers instead of replacing it with shoes, as it is more convenient to remove the tsinelas when treading on slippery rocks. My forehead wound also seemed to go nicely with my camouflage outfit, like it was a scar from battle.

We headed out like we did a year ago, following a long road rolling along hills leading to the foot of the mountain. Our legs were more than warmed up for the climb when we finally did reach the foot.

We had trouble finding the path we originally took, so we ended up discovering a trail by following a boy who was tending to his carabaos. Soon, we came across a large trench that split a red-clay hill in half. "This was much easier than before," we thought. And much more scenic, indeed. However, it was not long 'til we realized that we were not getting any closer to the mountain as we followed this trail. But, curious as to where the path led, we kept on following it anyway.

The path ended up leading to a locked gate, so we decided it was time to find our own way. We naturally searched for the path of least resistance. The climb was now beginning, although it would no longer be towards the original mountain.

As we climbed, I used my free hand to keep my balance. Not watching where I was placing it, I ended up dipping my hand into fresh, foul-smelling human feces. Disgusted, I instinctively grabbed some leaves from the nearest tree, an ipil-ipil tree, and mashed them in my hand.

Fortunately, we came across some folks nearby who offered me some soap and water to wash up. As I was washing my hand, they mentioned that I looked familiar until it finally dawned on them that I was the guy they saw on t.v. a year ago. I was again surprised that people still remembered the feature, and even more so because these people lived deep in the bundok or boondocks/mountains.

I asked them if they knew anything about the house atop the mountain we had climbed before, and they told me that a kano or Caucasian man had lived there before. In fact, they had helped him build his house there, they said. They blazed a trail and brought materials for the construction. The kano was a pilot they said, so they deduced that he must have enjoyed the spectacular view from atop the mountain, which can actually be seen from various points throughout southern Zambales. They informed me that they also helped the kano tear the house down when he left. Apparently a love affair had gone sour, which prompted the kano to abandon the home and return to Europe.

After sitting a while to enjoy the view of nearby barangays (Mangahan, Naugsol, San Lorenzo), we bid them farewell as we headed towards the top of this mountain, which is actually similar in size to the other mountain, just not as distinctly shaped.

Our heart pumped at as we agilely maneuvered through rough terrain. Sweat poured as the sun gleamed and began to dip towards the horizon. But unlike before, nightfall would not reach us before we would reach the top. The peak was conquered well before then. A large rock was conveniently situated at the very top, where we sat and relaxed while enjoying the ocean breeze and the spectacular view of Subic Bay. We only savored the moment for a few minutes though, as experience had told us that the trip down was just as difficult or more difficult at times.

We encountered slippery rocks and trekked barefooted for part of the climb down the mountain. We fell into pits every now and then, sending occasional jolts of adrenaline through our veins. The battle with the tall and sharp talahib and cat tail grasses ensued. However, our hearts sank with slight sympathy as sunlight seemed to strike their golden blooms perfectly. They swayed and seemed to wave goodbye as another beautiful day in the Philippine countryside came to a close.


Edik said...

wow! your climb might be exhilarating! how i wish i can go back mountain climbing...

Engr. Simon said...

an additional treat to everyone for our long worth of friendship, watch out for exciting adventure of coconuter in ilocos norte with liza and thurman soon.

Dave, thanks for the first stanza, i admit i was touched... no word can spell the feeling of reading it from a good friend.

enjoy life to the fullest! pray always there is no impossible to GOD as you journey life's hardship.

bertN said...

Why is it that in all your hiking/climbing adventures I never saw you shoulder a daypack to at least carry some essentials like drinking water, a bit of food and what nots? Too much of a burden? Not necessary because all the stuff you will need is easily available? Just curious.

Willy Acuna said...

Young Man,

Don't you think you need a "heavy duty" excellent pair of shoes? You could injure your feet without protection!

That "injury" on your forehead, hopefully, it's now completely healed. Yup, that soldier outfit of yours sure looks "natural" with that forehead injury. Other than that, those landscape photos sure are extraordinary!

See y'all,
Kuya Willy

Anonymous said...

Nice shot! i like the pictures you've taken here.

From the pictures of your, i felt you are happy and satisfy maybe because the pictures speak. Gusto ko yon pictures nasa bangin ka.. Ang galing ng pagka shot. Yon damit mo at yon surrounding nag complement. Bravo david!

cathy said...

climbing mountains in the cold of november? ur brave. and, oh, it's some scar u got there. ur face tells a story. in my book that is a face more handsome than any other's :)

Anonymous said...

Ang ganda ng view! Sobrang napakasarap balikan ang nakaraan kasama mo ang iyong kaibigan.
Till then...coconuter!

Anonymous said...

Sa akin naman mas masaya umakyat ng bundok na wala ka gamit tapos it is you na maghanap ng water along the way tapos iinum ka dun. Masaya yon at mas masarap ang tubig sa bundok walang katulad.

Tapos pag baba mo from top titingin ka sa taas, mas fulfilling yon feeling na naakyat mo yon bundok na wla ka gamit na wala. Gawain namin yan ng mga friend ko pag punta kami sa rizal.


Anonymous said...

It is nice na solid na friendship ninyo ni Simon( army man). And take note pumunta ka pa sa province nila to enjoy and have a celebration there of your 1 year of worth friendship.

I enjoy reading your blog now. I want you to congratulate you for a job well done in a way coz you were able to do what you want. In short, you were able to survived into this third world country. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

What an experience nakahawak ka ng tae ng tao... hahaha. Napaka exciting at thrilling ang mga experience mo to the point na kailangan rin manyari sa iyo yon. And you are honest about it na hindi ka nahihiya na nakahawak ka ng tae ng tao. I salute you for that. Keep up.


Anonymous said...


You have a better shot here compared to your recent post(night market). Nice adventure...loved it!


Anonymous said...

Dear David,
GREAT, AWESOME PICTURES!!! You finaly reach the top of that mountain that you been wondering whats in to that and it was a chalenge to you looking the mountain everyday since the first time you saw that.You been hearing alot of story about that mountain. Now you proved it to yourself all the story behind it. It was a hard climb huh? Like you said. " Nothing ventured nothing gained." You're always a tough young man! Your always have a nice golden heart. Thats why we love you so very much. As always you need to be careful where ever you go and your always in our heart and prayers. Hopefully your cut won't leave a scar.
Good luck on your trip in Manila!

the beginning said...

nice photos.. tried climbing a couple of times and it was a lot of fun... really relaxing and fulfilling..

I must agree with the others tho... you should start using shoes when climbing...

Anonymous said...

THOSE are some of the most "inspired" and inspiring set of pics Ive ever set my eyes on from your blogsite. Thank you for sharing them with us... Reading your entries has a calming effect on me, I have no idea why exactly! One is probably coz they are well written and insightful. Two is coz Ive never gotten into a blogsite that lays its heart on its sleeve with bittersweet honesty and candor, and those are very refreshing qualities. I wish you the best always.


Anonymous said...

Nice pictures! nakakawala ng stress, keep up!

Anonymous said...

Hello David. I am a selective reader and don't read that much because I easily get bored whenever I read. But your blogspot is an exemption. It is really one of a kind. There was never a day that I missed reading your blogs in our office. I just love the way how you write. The words you chose are easily understood by any non-native English speakers and one needs not to open a dictionary to grasp the meaning of it. The pictures are terrific, clear and huge. I loved them all. The pictures above make me nostalgic of my own bucolic province in Mindanao. I hope someday you'll visit some of the remotest places down south. Keep up the good work and continue on being an inspiration to the youth around the world.

dack said...

hahaha, you're scar, reminds me of harry potter... LOL. if only it was thunder-like. pft! anyway, i laughed with a little disgust about your story regarding the human excreta. hahaha... lucky you, they got soap over there! owell, the shots were okay, i love the view.

elay said...

that was one wonderful climb..!
i used to climb before too..so i know the feeling of getting to the peak. in central luzon i got to climb mt arayat and reached the south peak..but that was a long time ago.

i'm glad blogspot featured your blog, otherwise i would probably have never found it, or it would have taken a long time..do keep posting.

looking forward to more posts..!

Anonymous said...

Enjoying your blog but must ask - do you have poisonous snakes over there? In Australia, we would be very nervous about walking through such long grass, especially with slippers on! We would be wearing strong hiking boots and carrying a big stick. :)

Zaira said...

i love the part w/ the human feces...hahahah..

we're about to have a hike there at Zambales. May I know what is the name of the mountain you climbed? thanks :)

Post a Comment