Birthday Resolutions

Our birthday is always considered our own personal new year.
So to get this year off to a good start, I wrote down my random list of 25 things I want to accomplish before I turn 25 next year.

I need prayers for #25!HAHA 😀

I wish to update this post next year with so much to share. (fingers crossed :))

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Happy New Year!:-)

There are simple things that you love that even time and age can’t change. I’ve always been a fan of blowing birthday candles when I was a kid and up to now I still am. Regardless whether you have your birthday candle on top of your favorite cake, muffin, doughnut, or pizza, I guess it wouldn’t matter as long as you have the chance to close your eyes, say a little prayer and make a wish.

Thank you bestfriend for the cake and for reminding me how young I am. 😀 I love you!

To all those who bothered to greet me (via sms, twitter, instagram) on my special day, THANK YOOOOOOUU and cheers to another year full of God’s blessings! 🙂

Journey to the Best Sunrise!

I am not a beach person.
I think I would never be..simply because I don’t know how to swim. My typical summer would be at my room, AC on turbo cool, my laptop and my hoard of junk foods. But summer of this year was totally different. I had a life-changing adventure I would never forget because it gave me my series of firsts.

Last April, my highschool barkada and I were planning for our summer escapade. I suggested that we try something the group have never done before, like trekking, instead of just going to the beach. I did some intense research and came across Pinoymountaineer’s website. Upon reading the forums, I was intrigued by a certain mountain which they claim is an adventure above the clouds and should be included in every mountaineer’s bucketlist. After further discussions and all convincing powers exhausted, only two from our barkada bought the idea of climbing MOUNT PULAG.

We looked for a travel agency that would accommodate the three of us, settled the fees and attended the pre-climb meeting. Anna Jean, Diane (my bestfriend from our barkada), and I were exchanging text messages of how excited we were. Anna Jean got a flu just a week before the climb but we even shopped together for our ‘things-to-bring’ despite her sickie condition. Night before the trip, Annajean backed out for health reasons. I felt like I had to make the call if Diane and I were still pushing through. Diane was also having second thoughts when she read somewhere that one needs to be physically fit to be able to climb Mt.Pulag and some even had a near death experience.

We are no mountaineers, we have no gears and we don’t really exercise every day. We just have A HAPPY DISPOSITION, A SENSE OF ADVENTURE, and AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE, so despite the hesitation we gave it a GO.. conquering the mountain and conquering ourselves.

We were 28 in the group, some pro mountaineers, some amateurs, and some adventure seekers just like us. The itinerary was to leave Manila on a Friday night, go up Mt.Pulag from Baguio on Saturday, summit on Sunday morning, back to Baguio by Sunday night and back in Manila by early Monday morning.

We left Victory Liner Pasay around 12MN and arrived at Baguio around 6AM. After alighting from the Bus, we were automatically transferred to a jeepney which brought us to Bokod, Benguet. The road to Benguet was a gazillion of smooth zigzags and curves. Thanks to our mighty red jeep and to our very confident driver we arrived at our first stop without injuries.

8AM. Pinkan Jo Eatery, Bokod Benguet.

We had our breakfast at this eatery and we were also supposed take out for lunch but we just opted to buy some biscuits and candies because we weren’t really satisfied with their food.

10:30AM. DENR Office, Ambangeg, Benguet.

We had the registration and briefing at the DENR Office. The officer-in-charged gave a short lecture about the sacred mountain, the different trails and the dos-and-don’ts when trekking. The bumpy and dusty road we travelled before reaching the DENR office was compensated by the lovely view of the landscape just near the station.

1PM. Siesta spot near Ranger Station.

The jeepney can only bring hikers up to this point. We were given an hour break to eat our lunch and take some power naps.

2PM. Trekking starts NOW. (Fight!!!!)

There are 4 major trails leading to the summit: Ambangeg – the executive trail, Akiki – the killer trail, Tawangan – the trail of bloodsuckers, and Ambaguio. We obviously didn’t take the road less travelled so we chose the Ambangeg Trail, the friendliest.

Despite the cool breeze, Diane and I were still sweating because the trail wasn’t so easy for non-mountaineers like us. We hired a porter to carry our bags all throughout the climb. Every 10minutes we were resting, taking photos, and laughing our asses off.

3PM. ‘Wheeeeew’ Hut, Camp1.

When we reached Camp 1, we were already exhausted and very thirsty because we ran out of water. Our fellow campers told us that the spring water was just 10minutes away from the hut but it took us almost an hour before we were able to refill our containers. That was the sweetest and most refreshing drink we ever had in our entire lives.

4PM. Camp 2.

The climb was indeed a test of leg muscle endurance and willpower. From the Camp 2 signage, we were less than 1km from the saddle camp and we were already enjoying our slow ascent along the rolling hills.

The Rolling Hills. (A painting that came to life!)

4:30PM. Campsite.

Before Sunset. Embracing Mother Earth.

While the travel guides were busy setting up the tents, we had enough time to enjoy the view. After taking lots of pictures, the camera’s battery was already empty and same with our energy levels. Diane and I decided to go inside our tent to change our clothes for next day’s summit and we just dozed it off. We were awakened by our mates around 7PM because dinner was already available. It was freezing cold outside as the temperature continued to drop down. It was already past 10PM and I can’t sleep because I could hardly breathe. The temperature was just unbearable, thanks to my partner for patiently checking on me and for keeping me warm throughout the night.

3:30AM. Sunday, 4degreesC.
We left the campsite early because we were targeting to witness sunrise at the mountain’s peak. With a mini flashlight as our guide, Diane and I braved the cold and struggled to reach peak 2 after an hour.

4:30AM. Peak 2.

5AM. Mr.Sun already awake.

We were near the summit and our jaws just dropped upon witnessing one of God’s masterpieces. The Sun’s beauty was just SURRRRRREAAL!!!!

5:27AM. Summit of Mt.Pulag.
Diane and I reached the summit just before sunrise. Some were crying, jumping, shouting, and others praising God for the gift of nature. I couldn’t put into words what I felt specially when I heard someone telling the others that he wasn’t able to reach the summit on his first attempt and he was thankful God blessed his second climb with a good weather. I was speechless because I realized how blessed Diane and I were.

Before Sunrise. My bestfriend, Diane, enjoying the Sea of fluffy Clouds.
(One of my favorite shots.)

(Worth more than a two-day muscle pain.)

Savoring the beauty of God’s creations.

We laid on the grass and just waited for the sunrise. That was probably one of the most peaceful moments of our lives.

5:40AM. Sunrise. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the amazing rays?

6:15AM. Sunburst.

Time to leave.

The steep trail going back to the camp.

7:15AM. Back to the campsite.
The ‘elder woman’ between us, on the upper right corner, was our porter slash our hero.

We left the campsite around 8:30AM and reached the Ranger Station at almost 11AM. After having lunch we were back on the road. Diane and I were thinking of maximizing the whole trip so when we were on our way to Baguio we decided to try ‘top-loading.” On top of the jeep, we talked about mature stuffs, shouted, laughed, and hoped that we were better persons after the trip. The top-load was really a once in a lifetime experience and the best exercise we gave to our butts.HAHA 😀

Good Taste. (Tastes better.haha)

After a healthy dinner, we were given some time to enjoy Baguio. Diane and I decided to walk around Burnham Park. We rented a bicycle since my bestfriend had never experienced biking at the famous park. We left Baguio at 12MN and arrived in Manila before 6AM.

To reach the summit of Mt.Pulag, the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines, was already a lifetime achievement for me, but to enjoy the sunrise at the peak of the mountain with your bestest bud was a dream come true. I will forever be grateful to God for the Gift of Nature, for mountains, skies, sunrises and sunsets, for the Gift of Friendship, and of course for the Gift of Life.

Sunny Thought #3: Holstee Manifesto

“If you are looking for the love of your life, STOP;
they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.”

This is your life • Do what you love, and do it often • If you don’t like something, change it • If you don’t like your job, quit • If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV • If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love • Stop over analyzing, life is simple • All emotions are beautiful • When you eat, appreciate every last bite • Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences • Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them • Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself • Some opportunities only come once; seize them • Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating • Life is short • Live your dream, and wear your passion •

Sunny Thought #2: God knows we’re worth it.

This has been my put-to-sleep-song for the past few days.
I think the song is not only about relationships or love.
It can also be related to our dreams..
that we should never give up on them no matter how many times we get hurt.

I WON’T GIVE UP – Jason Mraz

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
Still looking up.

I won’t give up on us (no I’m not giving up)
God knows I’m tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We’ve got a lot to learn (we’re alive, we are loved)
God knows we’re worth it (and we’re worth it)

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

(Source: azlyrics.com)

Sunny Thought #1: Embracing Uncertainty

I am out of my comfort zone and officially unemployed.
I quit my job two weeks ago without a clear plan of what to do next and where to go.
I have all the time to travel but I can’t afford because I’m broke.
But guess what?..

I AM HAPPY.

Well, that’s probably hard to believe but I really am.

I am happy because.. I now have more than enough time to sleep, to play with my niece and nephews, to cope with the latest movies, to update apps of my favorite gadgets and lastly, I am happy because my family supports me and understands whatever I am going through.

I’m living a bummer’s life but I’m still thankful to the Divine for letting me enjoy this phase of uncertainty.

Allow me to share with you where I drew inspiration from..