Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘dream’

Breathing Adventure: Grazing On Mt. Talamitam’s Greener Pastures

The city was still dark when we left. In the wee hours of the morning, the serene orange glow from the streetlamps seemed rather apprehensive against the nearly empty streets. My eyes, still dank from lack of sleep, seemed to weigh heavier than my backpack. As we took a cab to the array of bus terminals at Cubao, it felt like déjà vu. The van that was supposed to carry us to Mt. Talamitam did not come.

A miscommunication nearly gave us a misadventure. But we’re used to it, and just like our last adventure at Mt  Maynoba-Mt. Cuyabo, we are ready with a bag of options that would lead us to the unknown. The internet had been a good source in leading our all-girl group to rides going to the mountain. But it became more accurate when we asked questions, costing us more cab rides just to get to the right bus terminal.

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Crossing the creek

From Cubao, only San Agustin buses could take us straight to Mt. Talamitam’s jump-off at Brgy. Bayabasan in Nasugbu, Batangas. I find the trip rather easier because there is no need to take bumpy tricycle rides after getting off the bus. After three long hours, erratic catnaps, and countless of nameless passengers sitting beside us, we found ourselves dousing in morning light at the registration area encamped beneath huge fruit trees and beside a classic sari-sari store. It’s like a scene our old barangay used to have when I was a child, the smoke from freshly burned pile of leaves (which we called siga) creating a mystical forest effect on our backyard.

But there was no burning of of leaves was being done to create that magical feeling. The quiet, clean barangay was a welcome treat for the newcomers while ants spoiled it along the way. The cheeriness of the hike was added up with that ready smile of our tour guide Kuya Dante, who was ready to laugh at our silly jokes and antics.

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The dense forestry trail

The first part of the trail was cemented and rather muddy. The rains last night had it covered with thick mud, some parts quite deep enough for the foot to sink. We have to cross a small creek after crossing a bridge. This then led us to a dense foliage of greens, which was reminiscent of the one of Mt. Talamitam’s neighbor, Pico de Loro.

It’s not all forest. In the middle of the hike was a huge plain with grazing cows, mud-bathing carabaos, and grass-eating horses. I thought I heard the theme of Sound Of Music playing when I saw this vast, green space basking in the wide, blue skies.

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Mt Talamitam just behind me

(I should have twirled around and sang, “The hills are alive…”) It’s like gaining freedom after that quite arduous hike at the rainforest trail. But that’s not yet all the strain we need to receive to reach the summit.

We bought buko juice kept in plastic cups from a young lady sitting beneath one of the lonely trees. As we drank the cold, fresh drink, we also

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Buko juice break

drank the sight of Mt. Talamitam’s twin, Mt. Batulao behind us. Moving forward, we could see Mt. Talamitam eyeing us from a near distance, waiting for us to touch her very peak.

 

Stopping again at a makeshift store of an old lady, we consumed fresh buko juice from the real fruit this time. I realized I have not yet taken any breakfast that morning. Yet, the fresh coconut juice and meat were enough for me to survive the steeper trail awaiting us.

We met the campers who stayed for an overnight who were descending from

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Mt. Talamitam’s twin, Mt. Batulao at a distance

the peak. I guess it could have been better to stay for an overnight to catch the sunrise we had hoped to catch that day. On the other hand, coming very early is good to keep us from struggling beneath the afternoon sun.

The portion we ascended was even more challenging because it was steeper and the tall grass covering the trail was cramming on our faces. The rocks were relentlessly huge and we have to use our hands to ascend over them. I could have stopped to rest of a little longer until I saw the other climbers behind us clammering to get ahead of us.

At last, I could hear laughter and giggles. Some of them even cried, “Picture! Picture!” The struggle is real. But the reward is here.

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Sitting on the mountain’s edge wasn’t so bad at all. 🙂

At last, fresh air blew on my nearly burned face as I nearly kissed the summit’s ground. The view was even more spectacular. There were a few vendors waiting to serve us with Mountain Dew and bottled water. I thought of getting a rest on the mountain but I couldn’t because of the soil beneath the little nipa shade was too damp to lie on. The ground covered with grass was seething under the scorching sun.

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The little makeshift shed on the mountain’s peak.

But the heat did not last long. So did the vendors staying at the mountain. Kuya Dante said that they would close shop at noon every Sunday when tourists go home early. True enough, we were the last ones to leave the peak. The clouds were getting dark as we left. A downpour roared halfway upon our descent.

The rain was never a spoiler of fun. We’d get a few slides and bumps along the way down, but I loved the feeling of trekking in wet weather. We could have had a side trip to the river. But now was not a good time.

One thing I enjoyed with Mt. Talamitam was that it was cleaner than its other neighbors because there were less vendors. Besides that, the trail was a complete chill except for that

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A rainy return

steep end point. It’s sad however that the mountain is not living up to its name. Trees called talamitam were not growing on he mountain anymore and I did not get to know why. These trees are growing instead on an adjacent mountain smaller than Mt. Talamitam.

 

We’d love to come back but this time with our tents and sleeping bags. Perhaps at that time we would not be chasing the sunrise anymore. It would be surely a surreal moment not because it’s a déjà vu, but because it’s living in a dream.

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Our all-girl group from the left Rozi, Lans, Tina, Nancy and yours truly with our cheery guide, Kuya Dante

Ending An Old Dream

I am beginning to cut myself from various organizations I’ve worked with a few years ago. For the last two weeks, I’ve been sending text messages and e-mails to their media officers to remove my name from their list of recipients. I have nothing to do with the press releases I have been receiving for a long time, now that I am not a part of any media body anymore.

I’ve come to a moment in time that I would want to completely turn away from a career I once esteemed highly: a reporter. For four years, I’ve been part of various coverage that had made their niche in history. I have witnessed newsworthy events that tingled my adrenaline to grab a good story, as well as having the privilege to brush elbows with the popular and even the notorious. But I have to leave that all behind now.

I guess I’m getting old. I have become tired of spending countless hours of staying up late just to finish a story. I am also tired of being ubiquitous wherever the desk or the executive producer demands. I want to work in peace. I want to live a normal life.

But it doesn’t mean I regret having this career.

I would always cherish this season in my life as memorable, not because of the prestige its label bring, but because of the lessons I’ve garnered and the character -refinement have undergone. I’m not as brave as I look, but it boosted my guts to go out and face silly questions like “Does anybody watch your station?” or try not to panic at a raging rally. It shifted my views from being apathetic to being sober to the things happening around me. But most of all, it humbled me to be the one to deliver the story and not to be the one the story centers at.

This season has ended. The moment I turned away from it, the moment I also turn away from the bitterness of being unrecognized for a long time. Being a reporter does not last forever anyway. What’s important is that I keep my focus to the God who carries me from season to season, His overwhelming love and grace washing away the disappointments I’ve received from the past.

Breathing Adventure (Mt. Pulag Climb Part 2): Into the Flora and Fauna

11131791_924304300955047_831847193_nBeing one of the most exciting treks in my life, this Mt. Pulag hike is also one of the longest and most tiring trek I’ve experience.

After the basking in the warm sunlight and the freezing air at the peak for about an hour, we began our descent. The trail going down became quite unfamiliar, perhaps because we saw it differently when it was dark. Still, it was the same trail.

Our tour guide told us that Mt. Pulag was from a local word which means “bare”. It was named as such because its peak had no trees at all, save for one that I saw at Peak 3. But the peak was covered with tall grass and a tiny bamboo species called the dwarf bamboo. But there are more plant wonders ahead. Amazingly, this mountain was littered with plants, flowers and ferns that you could not find in Manila. But no one is allowed to pick anything…not even a shoot.

By not picking plants and flowers, the flora and fauna of Mt. Pulag is preserved. This is

Some of the flora at Mt. Pulag. Top left is the bugnay berries, or bignay in my Tagalog dialect. Top right must be a dried dwarf bamboo, I guess. Below are some pretty flowers I haven't seen

Some of the flora at Mt. Pulag. Top left is the bugnay berries, or bignay in my Tagalog dialect. Top right must be a dried dwarf bamboo, I guess. Below are some pretty flowers I haven’t seen

important so as not to put these plants species in danger, for some of them is only found in this area in the country. It’s also one way for tourists to respect the places they visit, one lesson everyone is entitled to learn in their tours.

But I just wonder why I have not seen any animals around. Not even the birds that were chirping behind the thick trees high above us. I guess these animals are too shy to be looked at. 🙂

And so, to immortalize these rare sights we had our cameras ready (except for mine that drained immedietely that dawn). Because of that, the five-hour trek going down became a six-hour groupie tour.

The locals said that Mt. Pulag was a woman. If one would look at its contour in a certain angle, it look like a lady lying down, looking up at the sky. Perhaps, this is why her feminity is scattered around the place, making it a haven of the flora and fauna we humans are privileged to see.

11148896_924302860955191_1204472494_nBut with the sun going higher and the temperature getting warmer, the walk back became a bit difficult. Thankfully, these plants gave us a wonderful and cool shade while we were catching up with our breath. My legs wanted to give way, especially when I saw that steep trail at Camp 1.

At the end of the trek, I could say I survived Mt. Pulag. Glancing back at11132100_924302977621846_1520638946_n the height of its peak, I never had an inkling at I could go all the way to the top. To achieve reaching the top of the Philippines’ 3rd highest peak is a dream come true. Despite of my throbbing feet and almost lost energy, this experience gave me the encouragement to go higher and beyond. Perhaps, I may conquer the Himalayas one day. 🙂

Stale Wine

When you hate the thing you love
The dream turns away
Leaving you a nightmare
Pulling you to the bottomless pit

Who should I blame
For the loss of the spirit of the wine
Would I not but leave the wine press
And kill this very vine?

My wine was poisoned by reason
Of a senseless throng of misdirection
But all I wanted was affection
Could you not be a connection

Make me leave this wine press
Or I will be poisoned and die
And leave not a legacy
To change a world of dry bones

Destroy, destroy the old cellars
Build me a new vineyard of hope
And make me drink again with passion so pure
Take up a new road to turn again

Fulfillment of My Coming Days

Help me not to count the months
As I wait for the end of a bond
Waiting patiently for a door to close
To move forward to a pasture untold

Let each week flow like a silver stream
Passing my fingers so gently
My eyes must never fall on the pebbles
So that I will not stumble on my knees so feeble

Such a burden of waiting be lifted
Soaring above the waves that have shifted
From expectations that never came
To a destiny that had me changed

Once the end of half a thousand days has come
I will see the fulfillment of a purpose
That I never imagined or expected in my life
But Christ perfected from the beginning of my life

Touchdown Ireland!

Landing at Dublin Airport. Can't believe I had breathe in fresh Irish air ;)

Landing at Dublin Airport. Can’t believe I had breathe in fresh Irish air 😉

Six months ago it was an invitation I never planned on going but dreamed to be into. Three months after, it became a compelling choice for me. Two weeks ago, it became a reality.

Ireland — a land I only thought of just hearing about. I never thought the soles of my feet would touch this very ground.

When a friend invited me to come for the annual 24/7 International Prayer Gathering, I thought it would be grand. Europe’s one of my dream destinations. But I’m more particular with United Kingdom, thanks to the influence of Victorian British literature. On the other hand, I wanted to see how this prayer movement goes in this part of the world where Christianity had once its strong roots, as well as where the shadows of Celtic history still emanates within its walls.

I had no plans though, since travelling was too expensive. But friends supported for my money. Yet, I was still undecided and I thought it was a crazy dream.

Not until the Lord spoke deep into my heart one night: whatever I’ll encounter there in Ireland will have an impact in eternity.

Ok. That’s it. It’s my choice to be a part of whatever impact there is for eternity. But what is it? It’s for me to find out.

And so two weeks ago, I am for it. I got my Irish visa, had hassles in my first booking (which the travel agency had weird reasons for cancelling it in less than 24 hours before my flight), booked again while still traumatized, and enjoyed my first lone travel outside the country.

Failte go Baile Atha Cliath!

A strip of Ireland, as viewed from my plane :) Failte go Baile Atha Cliath! :D

A strip of Ireland, as viewed from my plane 🙂 Failte go Baile Atha Cliath! 😀

Or “Welcome to Dublin”.

I love the smell and sight of the city. I love the warm people, and my new friends, mostly those from Asia. I enjoyed the gathering along with the city tours. But despite all these, I kept on asking the Lord what was really in store for me there.

He gave me only two words: “nations” and “connections”.

Uh, wait. I came all the way from Asia for that “eternal impact”. Now, I tried to comprehend what’s the connection of these two words.

Until I got home, I did not understand. What I had is a small but important piece of the big puzzle God is putting together for eternity. I had thoughts that might be this or another. But God’s thoughts are higher than mine. I will see soon…and I will come to understand what He really meant.

But at this moment, I’ll cherish the good memories I brought along from the land of shamrocks and amazing writers, as well as its biting cold and various potato dishes. Nyaha! 🙂 I’m so glad to

Gifts from my new friends. I just regret that did not bring anything from the Philippines. Lesson learned!

Gifts from my new friends. I just regret that did not bring anything from the Philippines. Lesson learned!

mingle with new friends despite of our differences in culture and thinking. I will not forget how different nationalities joined together to pray for nations. The intercession meetings and the worship at the boiler room are memoorable. Aren’t we one global community? 😉

What I have discovered was that my prayer that I wrote at the beginning of 2013 was granted. I prayed that I will go to three new nations this year. And these are my connecting flights at Taiwan, Amsterdam, Malaysia, and Ireland!

So, what would be it’s impact in the future? I don’t know. But I had this deep feeling that I will never regret going to Ireland one day. 🙂

Dream to Dream Forever

Keep those eyes closed like a little child
Dream like you’ll never wake again
Do not let go of the ribbons made of sunlight
Never stop whisking the waters made of crystals

Keep on chasing those cotton candy clouds
Drink endlessly the milky waterfalls
Dance like mad on the choco-mallow fields
Roll and crush the evergreen white paper grass

See how your golden curls whirl with the wind fairies
As your bright apple red shoes tap on its own
Embrace the rainbow curtains from the bronze pot of gold
Make faces at the sad, smiling moon

Sing along with your neighbor’s doberman
Who entertains with a bow, tie and everything like superman
Find candies and money from the community dump
With the mayor giving them away as the sugar plum

Be a hero charging the sand castle
Cutting the wicked paper dragon with mother’s old scissors
Win as many medals from a lizard gymnastics
Surf the concrete wave with your granda’s pillow volkswagen

All you can hear are chattering little boxes
With tiny ballerinas cooing with bell-like voices
Oh, please don’t let that deafening alarm wreck this world
Or I’ll wake up again on that miserable sick bed!

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