George Javier and the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc

“Pangarap lang dati, pwede pala magkatotoo.” – George Javier

One of the greatest riches of the Philippines is its world-class athletes. Training hard everyday, they give their best and compete with athletes from all over the world. What’s puzzling is despite the honor that they give to our country, majority of them are unseen or unheard of. Filipinos don’t know who they are, even though the whole world is already amazed of their victories.

George Javier is one of these athletes. His passion for running started with a 3k run that ‘took his breath away’ (“hapong hapo”), to fun runs, before leveling up to road marathons, and finally finding his way to trail running. It took him 5 years of hours and hours of rigorous training, and next month, he will be competing in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

george javier c.adrianaquino
George Javier (c) adrian aquino

At very high altitudes and in difficult weather conditions, it takes a lot of determination, hard work, training, and luck to run in this prestigious annual event. This year, more than 15700 runners qualified for the race, but only more or less 2300 participants are chosen through lottery. 5 out of 8 Filipino qualifiers were chosen.

Other than the countless steps, however, is one more big hurdle to overcome — the finances. Through Indiegogo, he is trying to raise USD 2700 for the basic expenses that he will be needing for the race (click here to see update #1 for the breakdown of expenses). As of now, USD 475 are raised, and any amount that can be joyfully given is another step closer to giving him the chance to run in the trails of the Alps. Sponsorships are enormously appreciated. I don’t know this guy personally, but I believe that simple athletes like him, just like every other simple Filipino, is a pride of our country. Let’s help this guy show the world what we’ve got in the field of trail running. 🙂


SLTB

To show your support to George Javier, please do click on the link below (any amount, as little as 1USD will go a long long way!):
https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/help-pinoy-runner-george-conquer-the-alps-at-utmb–3
Should you wish to contact him directly, you can reach him through his Facebook (www.facebook.com/george.javier.5) or email (georgegjavier@yahoo.com). 🙂

Like, share, comment, and show your love for our athletes! 🙂

Related Articles:
http://crocifixio.tumblr.com/post/124337824615/help-pinoy-runner-george-javier-conquer-the-alps

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Going Up! A Few Reasons Why I Climb

It’s 3:30 in the morning and I’m writing this as quickly as I can. When I’m done with this, I’ll be preparing my packed lunch, and will stuff my bag with all my trail food, water, extra shirt, and other necessities. Yup, I’ll be climbing again today! 😀 So why do I do it?

1. Because of the Rush — the planning stage allows me to get excited about something and actually looking forward to something at the end of the week gives me a certain kind of rush similar to that feeling of looking forward to a surprise gift my BF told me he will be giving.

2. When there’s a climb, I suddenly feel like everything makes sense — having a job, all the exercise to stay fit, and the effort to be in shape.

3. ME-time — I don’t need to get to the summit to be able to have my me-moment. Walking through the trail allows me to think about anything and everything that’s going on in my life at the moment and this time to be able to be alone (with other people) is helpful for me.

4. The food! Seriously, ANYTHING as simple as hotdog and rice or canned anything with rice is sooooooo good when eaten in the mountains (who agrees with me???). 🙂

5. That bittersweet feeling when you have to go back to reality, while reassuring yourself that you’ll have to just keep coming back to the mountains. Even before it’s time to go, I’ll be planning my next climb already.

These are just a few of the million reasons why I climb and I’ll have to start getting ready now for my Manabu climb. Watch out for my post-climb article! Thanks for reading and I hope you have an awesome day ahead!

SLTB

Never Underestimate the Mountains

With another news about a mountaineering accident that happened just a week ago, we are again reminded not to underestimate mountains. According to Rappler, a QC resident (58 y.o.) passed away last Monday due to a heart attack while resting at Camp 1. Although the temperature then was 4 degrees, the town doctor did not confirm that the death was due to hypothermia.

One thing I realized with my first Pulag climb is that the Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail is difficult not because of the trail itself, but because the high elevation and the temperature can be quite shocking (check out my blog in three parts: 1, 2, & 3). It was my first time to climb at such elevation that I had to take several stops because of shortness of breath and chest pains. My lungs took a while to adjust to the air which is thinner compared to what I’m used to in Manila. And the temperature? Because of the rain, we slept in the Rangers’ Station. I had to wear 2 shirts, my jeans, and my trekking pants outside my jeans (couldn’t wear my jacket because it was soaking wet). I slept with the emergency blanket inside the sleeping bag but I was still shivering with cold.

Climbing a mountain is difficult — any mountain. This is why everyone is encouraged to do thorough research and preparation for each climb. No two mountains are similar and it is important to keep in mind that nature can be very unpredictable. Even though packing light is a must for every mountaineer, do take all precautions that might be needed in that particular mountain you are aiming to climb, and make sure you are mentally and physically prepared for anything.

Be safe everyone!

SLTB

P.S. Deep condolences to the family.

Erratum: According to a family member of the deceased, he passed away not at the foot of the mountain nor at camp 1 but at camp 2, after 4-5 hours of trekking. He had a heart condition but insisted to pursue the climb. The cause of death was cardiac arrest due to hypothermia.

Mt. Pulag: Amba-Amba (Graduation Climb part 3)

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks

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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 20141019_071505best 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.

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Ranger Station

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… 🙂

looking into the future
looking into the future

 

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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.

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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).

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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.

 SLTB

Mt. Pulag: Amba-Amba (Graduation Climb part 2)

“Climbing a mountain is a passion, not a competition”

October 18, 2014 – “I’m in Baguio!!”

Wet RoadThe trip from Baguio to Manila took about 5 hours. I couldn’t believe that I’m finally in Baguio! I was trying not to let my excitement show, but man, I gotta try that Strawberry Taho! (OMG, it was so good… and the regular-flavored one had a deeper flavor than the ones sold in Manila, so better get Taho when you’re in Baguio!)

Anyway, we left Baguio at 5 AM to go to Benguet. Although the cold was tolerable, it was drizzling and it seemed like the rain will not stop anytime soon. We had breakfast along the way and reached the DENR visitors’ center at 9 AM for our registration and orientation.

orientationSigning in at the DENR center is required for the regulation of the mountaineers going to Pulag. A 15-minute video will be shown before a short discussion. T-shirts and other souvenir items are sold at the center, while several other stores are available just across the street. We were able to buy some rain coats, gloves, and bonnets at one of those stores. These proved to be really helpful throughout the whole trip. Preparations for the climb were done after lunch before heading out for another 2 hours of drive to the jump-off site.

The Ranger Station is the main jump-off point for the Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail. Restrooms and bathing areas are available for use of the mountaineers.ranger station logo The weather and cold temperature was making us hesitant to pursue the climb. After several minutes, it was then decided that we will start our ascent by 3 PM. It was still raining so we had to protect ourselves from getting wet by either using raincoats or even garbage bags.

 

Hiking in Unpredictable Weather Conditions

We found out later on that the rain was due to an LPA. We pursued the trail until about a third of the way, when we met two people from the Akiki-Amba group going our way. They told us that all the campsites are flooded, and that the rest of the group were on their way to the Ranger Station as well. We were hesitant at first, but the team leader decided that it’s for the safety of everyone to just go back. Walking in the rain was tough. And the wind made things worse… I’m just thankful that I’m in good company — and that the guide was friendly. 🙂

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Our Guide: Ate Noemi
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Last minute pictures before heading back to the Jump-off site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stayed at the sari-sari store in front of the Ranger Station to warm our tummies with coffee.

Simply holding the cup of hot coffee was heaven... actually drinking the coffee was bliss!
Simply holding this cup of hot coffee was heaven… actually drinking the coffee was bliss!

 

Ranger Station: Our Temporary Shelter

We were allowed to stay at the Ranger station after our team leader sought the help of the Rangers.temp They were very kind to us, and accommodating too. Dinner was Tinolang Manok, cooked by our own chef — Sir Aris. There’s nothing better to have in this weather. 🙂

The cold was soon becoming unbearable as the temperature reached 2 degrees on the scale…

Sleep is difficult to come by when you’re shivering/freezing. It’s much more difficult when you’re trying to get sleep on the cold, cold floor.

Watch out what happens next in the last of the 3-part blog series! 🙂

SLTB

Pulag… Soon!

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
― John Muir

I haven’t climbed in a while so I’m afraid to say I’m really not in shape — I will have to put in a lot of effort in the upcoming climb. I will be climbing Mt. Pulag (Ambangeg-Ambangeg trail) with BF and some friends this weekend, and I’m really excited about the trip!

I’m looking forward to the sea of clouds, going around Baguio (never been there yet!), and strawberries! Strawberry season starts around October, so I’m looking forward to some yummy strawberries… ❤

 Watch out for updates!

Ta-ta~!

SLTB