“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
― Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks
October 19, 2014 — I Could’ve…
The plan was to climb back up the summit really early in the morning to be able to catch the sunrise and see the sea of clouds. BF and I, however, decided that it’s best to stay at the station and not risk having hypothermia because of the chills earlier in the night (we would later on find out that there were campers who had to be rescued because of hypothermia while at the campsite). Although I regret this decision because those who did pursue the summit were rewarded with clear skies and a magnificent view of the sea of clouds, I’ve come to peace with myself with the thought that I will not stop climbing mountains and that I’ll definitely come back to Pulag.
We had lunch courtesy of the rangers… Le Chef and Mr. Ranger were able to buy huge chickens that would satisfy twenty-something stomachs. The rangers were the ones to cook them into two dishes — pinikpikan (tinola, but bitter), and dinuguang manok. It was one unique experience for all of us to be able to watch the whole process — from the preparations, to the actual cooking. I don’t really eat dinuguan, but BF (and everyone else) said it’s the best dinuguan he’s (they’ve) ever tried. It’s probably the slices of smoked meat (probably etag?) that the ranger added… 🙂
I was not able to reach the summit, yet I would consider Mt. Pulag as my favorite mountain. It is where I made new friendships, pushed my self beyond what I thought was my limit, and allowed my self to step back and put safety before anything else. It is my greatest challenge so far, and I will keep trying again and again if I have to, until I get to the point wherein I can reach the summit through all trails.
The group went back to Baguio in the afternoon, stopping by the DENR Center along the way to log out. We had dinner at Good Taste Cafe & Restaurant (Buttered Chicken, FTW!) and looked for pasalubong. BF and I walked around the Night Market and bought some clothes before going back to Manila (via Victory Liner).
Maybe I didn’t deserve that sea of clouds just yet, but I will work for it and make sure I’ll deserve it. I am not much of a goal-setter, and I have doubted my rationality once in a while because of mountaineering — Do I really wanna climb? Why am I doing this? What’s the point of going? Yet, despite all the questions, I went. And every time I go to a new place, I am reminded that there is more to life than the fast life in the city… and I look forward to the next adventure.