Strangers to Friends

   During my single year, I was so lucky enough to get a chance and explore the beautiful land of the Philippines. I just recently broke up with my boyfriend at that time and one my buddies during my college days and still my closest friend invited me to a climb. It was my first time and she told me that I would be able to make it to the top since it is a beginners trail with a difficulty level of 2/9. Cool!

   We did a sleepover at her house with the rest of our friends, we headed out the next morning and meet the rest of the climbers at our meeting place at Jollibee Alabang. We came in groups and strangers we met, we all indeed became friends. It was so funny because you get to know other people as you ride along to your destination, we took off after our rollcall. Eighteen strangers including myself, we took the bus off to Mt. Manabu in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

1

(Jollibee Alabang Meeting Place)

2

(Mt. Manabu Jump off)

    As we arrived at our destination, we registered at the jump off site. We recuperate, established ourselves, and gave each and everyone their own tasks like who will be the guide and the tail, what would be our signal if somebody falls behind and if there is any obstacle on our way and etc. Everybody agreed and off we went to our starting point.

    Finally, we reached the campsite before sun down, tents were put up, assigned chef started cooking dinner for our hungry stomachs and as for the rest, we mingled. It was a 2-3 hours hike and everybody survived after a long trek as we ascended to the top. Some of us came from a night shift and then went straight for this trip. Haha!

5

(Me and my friend Jamie Lee at her tent)

    Everybody took a 30-minute rest and ate some snacks. After that, we’re all back on our feet again with another trek off to summit. I can’t remember how long it took us to get there but it was a short trek. We arrived at the summit just in time for the sundown. I felt like I was in two different worlds. A 360 degrees view, feels like you’re the king of the world. At the west, you can see the sun going down and then on the east you can see the moon coming up to light the night. It was an awesome experience and I was so happy that my friend took me on this journey.

3

(Sun down at the east side of the summit)

4

(West side of Mt. Manabu, moon came up to light our night back to our camp site)

    There is a cross at the very top of the mountain that symbolizes a rosary. During the holy week in Philippines, people come here and do their “penetensya” as they called in Tagalog. They stop in every stations and pray as they ascend their way to the cross as their final station for prayers.

6

(Bus station at Lipa, Batangas)

       Everybody had fun and we’re all so happy that we met (strangers to friends). New people that fuels as to a new passion in life. I’m so thankful with these people, after that moment I became more active with my climbs. I never shared my journey until now and I’m so happy that I still get the chance to share my experience to the world.

 

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