It may be said that climbing a mountain was my last wish before I permanently relocated yet again away from Southeast Asia. Being a bad-ass mountain boy is an occupation that I was never able to imbibe and the thought continues to frustrate me. Even though I had so much opportunity to join various group climbs, for some reason I always ended-up needing to prioritize other things when such opportunities came by. Sure I was able to climb a number of mountains but with the thousands of marvelous peaks in Southeast Asia, my record certainly looks pathetic. And now that I am away again, a good amount of regret gnaws in me truly. Sigh.
The regret started a long time ago before I returned to North America so as the day of my big travel came nearer, I asked the universe to grant me a final opportunity. An easy and fun climb that would satisfy my craving. There was no point of planning a climb to Mount Pulag and I of course wouldn’t dare myself to climb Mount Apo at that time. All I wanted to do was to duplicate my experience when I climbed a mountain in Chiang Mai, Thailand and in Cebu, Philippines. I wanted it to be uber easy and full of laughter. I didn’t want to end-up cursing in my head 100 times like I did during my first major climb in Tarak Ridge. So with only a few days before my flight back to Narnia, I was able to round-up 3 of the nicest and friendliest people/bloggers that I know to join me in my farewell climb. And with their expertise they were able to suggest that we climb Mount Talamitam, a mountain that is quite popular among newbies. Definitely what my legs could endure and what my soul needed.
It was the perfect day to climb. The sun was out shining bright like a diamond and the heat was at a level that I would eventually yearn for only a few days later. The group was high spirited and was not a single bit worried about dying of exhaustion. It was nice to do another climb with Christine after more than a year of climbing Osmeña Peak in Cebu together and it was nice to travel again with Jerome who I was just with a week ago in Pangasinan. It was also nice to see and do another climb with tattooed climbing expert, Kaiz who tagged along her friend, soon to be blogger, Kirk.
The shrubbery in Talamitam was scarce and the expanse was vast. We imagined rolling ourselves to the foot when we come down which could have been possible if not for the cow dungs sporadically scattered along the way. It took us no more than 3 hours to get to the peak and with very little exhaustion experienced. And like with any mountain in the Philippines, the view from the top did not disappoint.
We spent at least an hour at the peak just happily chatting about various things. The theme for the day for me was of course the fact that in a few days, I will be gone. Although I kept quashing the thought in my head, the reality of it was it was true and being able to climb another mountain in Southeast Asia was something that will only become part of my day dreams starting that day. But I wasn’t totally sad really. Just being able to do that last climb was enough to fuel me in doing other climbs. I mean, there are mountains and hiking trails in North America anyway so I know that my mission of seeing more peaks never got abandoned. It only got reassigned.
The way down was uneventful but fun. We were supposed to go to the neighboring mountain so we may climb it as well but after we found ourselves relaxed and happily listening to Jerome’s stories about how his dog, Sunshine, got raped by his neighbor’s dog, we knew we found our bliss for the day and didn’t need more challenges. We decided to have a hearty lunch of Bulalo and fried Tawilis at nearby Mahogany Market instead and I invited them to get freshened-up in my family’s weekend house which, interestingly enough was just nearby. After which we called it a day and travelled back to the big, bad city.
A few days later I finally left the Philippines for good just in time to get a glimpse of the last days of winter, something that I was not really happy about. The good news is, Spring time is just around the corner. Only a few days from now in fact and with it comes the various hiking trails in this beautiful city that I live in becoming open again for hiking enthusiasts. I can’t wait to start suiting up and start spending my free time discovering what each one of them can offer. I am not expecting that the experience will be the same as climbing Asian mountains. Rather, I am expecting that the experience will be better. If only because I say so.