My journey to Mount Pulag – also known as the playground of the gods was very enthralling! Climbing Luzon’s highest peak and the third highest in the Philippines at 2,922 MASL was extraordinary but climbing it with ‘the one’ – priceless!
Long before my fiancè, Steve arrived in the Philippines from United Kingdom, we already set the date for this climb, my twenty-fifth mountain and his first. Ever since I started climbing in 2014, I promised myself to climb this mountain with the one and now ready to share it as my first blog post because we already announced our engagement, I didn’t want to jinx it.
Almost every Filipino mountaineer has listed this mountain in their bucket list or mountain list because of its sought after night sky, sunrise, and sea of clouds that can be perfectly enjoyed once you reached the summit. It was a challenge knowing that local guides are requiring a medical certificate that you are fit to climb this mountain due to some recorded casualties from of heart attack and hypothermia. For a Filipina who is used to thirty degrees Celsius average temperature, the cold temperature there can be very brutal. For a British man, this temperature is bearable since he was comparing it to a summer day in the UK but still having to sleep in his dri fit shirt and shorts was a torture. I was originally scheduled to climb this mountain in December 2016 when temperature normally drops to zero. Scared to death, I decided to postpone it since I was not in a good shape – physically and emotionally.
I wrote this poem for him at the Ranger Station – the camp site, while he was trying to steal few minutes of sleep inside our tent after being up all night. My fear of dying from hypothermia was covered by his heartfelt care for me. He willingly gave me his neck warmers, blankets, jackets, socks, mittens, and bonnets while I was shivering due to the extreme cold. This poem was inspired by my journey to the playground of the gods with the one who has turned my dead cold heart to a burning one.
Writing and hiking is the best remedy for an exhausted soul, these words has been long handwritten in my travel notebook – hidden. This is my first published post after being consistently encouraged to share my written thoughts to others.