Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘camaraderie’

Suddenly…I Felt Lonely

I snuck out my phone like a cheeky kid keeping a little secret. My roommate was already sleeping soundly but I could not keep the blue light from this little smartphone from invading the pitch-black room. It became my habit to scroll through posts after posts before I sleep, in which became a daily, endless pursuit. There were rants, eventless thoughts, then family pictures and small reunions. I see I have about a thousand ‘friends’ popping up to prove their happiness and existence but none of them – indeed none – bothered this poor little soul who was watching aimlessly at their posts.

And then suddenly…I felt lonely…

Technology has its load of ironies. It is made to reach friends quickly but it has the tendency to isolate us from deep-rooted relationships. Research shows a link between Facebook and loneliness, which is now on the rise. But I surmise social media should not be blamed for the weakening socialization among real human beings.

Social media, just like any technology, catches our attention easily because it is speedy and accessible. Humans, natural braggers and procrastinators as they are, tend to leave everything in the care of technology, even communication. Gone are our penpal friends who would wait anxiously for our letter for months. There are no more mailboxes that would surprise us with the awaited cassette tape that would play dad’s deep, sleepy voice from the Middle East. Retelling a harrowing story would not be a struggle anymore because everyone could see that groundbreaking post that could be shared to a thousand more users. We have grabbed the wondrous and omnipresent opportunity the social media has given us. We have grabbed its invitation to create “The Platform of Me”.

Those posts, rants, selfies, pictures and videos are everything about me. Me, myself and I. You are my audience and you will just watch how I perform. I will let you react to what I can do and I expect you to like everything I will share.

Admit it. Pride is everybody’s hidden monster. We all love the attention. We all love the applause.

But the moment we become the “Audience Of You”, there is the tendency to be envious and longing. You should be on the stage with me. You should also be in those family gatherings, dinner parties and every fun event in life boasted by me. You long for me to say hello at least but it ends in a vain tragedy of self. Soon, it could lead to isolation, loneliness and then depression.

I immediately closed my phone before I began to spiral down in the dead of the night. I guess it’s time to unwind from every selfish thought that could toxify me. Then, I brought to mind a few friends I need to catch up with.

Don’t expect everyone in your friends list to worry about you. Just as I have said before, not all of them are your real friends. Such expectations could only disappoint us. But never forget to catch up with your real friends – and I really mean the real ones. And, oh, make sure you don’t end up just chatting in FB Messenger. Make the effort to show up, be present and be alive with them.

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Breathing Adventure: Touching the Heavenly Abode At Mt. Ulap

There’s no other place like Benguet. Sitting beside Baguio, many have fallen in love with this place because of its fresh air, scenic views, and alpine-covered slopes that resemble a bit of Europe’s fairy-tale forests. Besides that, Benguet boasts of giant mountains that defy the deities by touching the heavens. Among these is Mt. Ulap, which lives up to its name because it welcomes its visitors into the cradle of the heavenlies. 

Is it a deer? Nope. It’s a cow hiding as a deer. How’s that for an enchanted forest? 🙂

We left Cubao at 10pm to ensure we’d arrive at Benguet by 4 or 5am. First-timers are estimated to take an 8 to 10-hour trek on the mountain. 

The glorious sunrise was a wonderful opening to this long hike. Ever since my old phone has been damaged due to this poor writer’s absent-mindedness at the beach, I never imagined I would be able to catch again a momentous moment that actually happens everyday.

The hike was not as tiring as I first expected. It was one of the most refreshing hikes I had since I had my first taste of wonder at Mt. Pulag in 2015. 

The wind was cool enough to lessen the sting of the rising sun. I was surprised I did not consume a liter of water as I only brought a small canister with me. I decided not to tire myself with a backpack. I wanted to have the liberty of freeing my back from such heavy load. Besides, I enjoyed having my own stick, which I had bought at the registration area. I can be a good memorabilia after the hike.

There are three peaks at Mt. Ulap. The first peak already has amazing views itself.

Stone markers that tourists would like to build as proof they were once here.

Along the way, I took a moment to listen to the bird that was singing its praises to the Creator, who had artfully sculpted the beauty that I saw all around.

The Gungal Rock, which was the second peak, has been the most challenging one. One has to be loaded with guts to cross the sloping rocks to pose for a rocking profile pic.

Most breathtaking of them all is the last and highest peak.

Mt. Ulap would never be called as it is without the clouds that had slyly curtailed our wide-eyed, sun-kissed faces. The evergreen slopes beyond was playfully peeking behind those rising white pillars while we pranced and jumped around to get that perfect, perfect shot!

After going down a short but very steep portion of the mountain, we were finally relieved when we dropped by Mt. Ulap’s 7-Eleven. Oh, yes! More ref magnets to collect!

The descent at Mt. Ulap has been developed by installing makeshift wooden stairs. Lans, my friend who organized this trip, told me there were no manmade steps when they first trekked here in 2016. Mt. Ulap has just been officially opened in 2015 so it only took only awhile to improve the more dangerous path.

What I’ve appreciated most in this trip was the camaraderie that has been developed among the group. Most of us were unknown to one another at the start but most of us have became clingy to one another at the end of the trek. That’s why hiking is more enjoyable than beach. The challenges we face in the mountains are actually refining us to become stronger individuals and to make stronger bonds of friendship. 

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