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Mt Pulag Peak_5 (Apr2013)

by Elaine Caras

“Ah! We’re here!” (Speaking from the peak of one of the highest mountains in the country – Mt. Pulag at 2,922 meters above sea level, the ever calm academics director, Mr. Ed Silva)

Briefly, seven students and 2 faculty faced the challenge of climbing the proud mountain, conquering not only it’s terrain, but also it’s climate. The muddy trail is an effect of it’s wholeyear round rainy weather. It’s elevation causes the temperature at and near its peak to be nowhere near what Metro Manila people are used to. It’s temperature goes as cold as 0 to 10 degrees Celcius, 20 to 25 degrees colder than Metro Manila.

Mt Pulag 2013

With only 4 hours of sleep at most, we started the 4-hour hike at 1:30 in the morning, motivated to catch the sunrise at the mountain’s highest peak – the Summit. Armed with layers of clothing, flashlights, rain coats, food, and water, the group started walking, set on conquering the great mountain.

Hiking in the dark is no walk in the park. It defnitely added points to the risk and definitely added more mud than necessary to our footwear. Having limited vision in our surroundings, we stayed as close to each other possible. The darkness forced us to care for each other more, as though helping us to see how we much our friends mean to us, and us to our friends.

About an hour left before the forecasted sunrise, we started to pump up our pace. The closer we get to the Summit, the more our adrenalin rushes in. Set on reaching the highest point before sunrise, we missed to notice the things around us. For every rest, we are focused on catching our breaths and trying to help our muscles relaxed. Finally, Sir Ed asked everyone to stop and turn off their flashlights. Then, what we saw, amazed us far beyond amazement – countless stars lighting up the sky, and interstellar clouds that could make you stop and say, “oh so that’s why they call it the milky way”. We are so focused on our goal that we almost missed to see the beauty that is in the journey.

With only a few minutes left before sunrise and the clouds starting to change color, we started to feel the pressure more than ever, of reaching the Summit. Not sure if we were running or walking, all I could think of was the horrible thought of missing the sunrise after all that we’ve gone through to witness it. Ignoring the muscle pain and the chest pain I was feeling, I mustered up all the strenght that’s left within me and poured it out to the remaning meters that’s angled at 45 degrees. Then finally, I reached the Summit. Something that I never even dreamed of, something that I never even thought of doing, not because I don’t want to, but because I never thought I could actually do it.