I Fed My Own Demon With My Embarrassing Judgment.

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Everything on that day didn’t fall in place. I thought I couldn’t do anything right. I was embarrassed to the point of annoyance. I was annoyed of myself that I wanted to break down. I could hear my subconscious mocking me.

She was mocking me the whole time while I was riding a bus going to Naga City. I closed my eyes hoping I could take a nap and ignore her. She was too loud. I could see her bulging eyes. I could feel her finger pushing my forehead. I was taken aback when she shouted my name. Her caustic voice awakened me from my reverie.

“Are we there yet?”, I asked my friend, Niña.

“Uh, almost there,” she replied. “Have you texted them?”

I grabbed my bag where I put my phone. It took me an ounce of courage to finally open my phone.

“We already left,” Tatay Raul’s message went.

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My inner-self started to panic again. I was uneasy on my seat. I kept looking at the windows to see if we have arrived. At one point, I wanted to suggest to my friend to hop off the bus and go back to Cebu City. Yes, it was a dastard idea.

But before I could tell her, the bus halted. We had arrived. I reckoned it’s too late to retreat. I looked at Niña who looked relaxed, unaware of the war inside me at that moment. She looked excited. The look on her face made me feel even more guilty. I felt really sorry.

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My phone rang. It was Beboy. He told us we might be unable to catch up with them because they were already far. He suggested we ride a motorcycle to Magdooc and wait for them there.

I let a sigh of relief before I hopped on the motorcycle. While my ride climbed its way through the steep barangay road of Naalad, my mind brought me back to the scene earlier that day.

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This emotional ruckus started with the wrong alarm time. Hubby mistakenly set the alarm at 4 pm instead of 4 am. When I opened my eyes that morning, the sun was already up. I quickly got up and checked the time hoping it’s not 8 o’clock yet. My clock said it was five. With the meet-up time set at 6:30am in Naga, I knew I was doomed. I knew it was impossible to arrive on time. Thinking we’d be ONLY 30 minutes late, I pursued it. I did everything like lightning, as fast as I could. I met up with Niña who had been waiting for me for a while. We hurried ourselves to get to South Bus Terminal.

I texted Tatay Raul to please wait for us, but I was too ashamed to tell him we weren’t on the bus yet. I kept my phone inside my bag, not wanting to check it again because I was worried Tatay would ask where we were. (Sorry Tay Raul.) Peace! 44440846_342898453130268_6043908722307104768_n

The smell of the mountain breeze interrupted the flashback play on my mind. Somehow, I felt my heart at ease and not anxious anymore. The green surrounding had calmed me and made me forget my worries.

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We got off at Magdooc and waited for them. Beboy said Sir Aldrich and Tatay Raul were off to meet us there. But an hour almost passed, no one came. When I called Beboy again, he said they were in the highest peak of the area, near a tower. We couldn’t find any higher elevation with a tower except the one we’re facing, so Niña and I climbed it. The funny thing was when we reached the top, we found out, there was a higher hill on the other side. There was a tower, yes, it was a smaller tower though.

We bet on our perhaps and agreed to go there. We had to trail back and ask the locals if there was another higher mountain other than that. They confirmed that it was the highest one. We took a short breather before we started to climb it. Halfway through the climb, we heard voices coming from the street below.

It was Sir Aldrich and Beboy!!! Oh, what a relief!

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We exchanged our hi’s and hello’s and I apologized for causing delay. I was prepared to be blamed or scolded, surprisingly, I did not get any of that. I neither saw that disappointment directed towards me on their faces. They carried on the hike just like nothing happened.

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Personal thought:

Guess, I fed my own anxious demon with worry that it almost ate me.

I thought Tatay Raul would scold me for not replying his texts and not answering his calls. I thought Sir Aldrich would blame me for causing trouble and delay. I thought Beboy would tell me not to do it again. I thought Dian would give me a scornful look. I thought my new friends would look at me with disappointment.

I realized that I have created a fearful image of these people because I judged them out of guilt. While writing this, I realized, my judgment was more embarrassing than my tardiness.

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Peace, everyone!

Over to you, have you misjudged someone? Let me hear it from you!

 

’til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Demi

 

Came for Casino But Found a Shy Lugsangan Peak | Mountain Diary

Standing at a modest 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmeña Peak is known to be Cebu’s highest point. Everybody is familiar with it because of the wonderful view of Mantalongon mountain range from the top and its easy accessibility to the public.

But last year, another peak that offers a stunning vista of the other side of Mantalongon highland range made a fuss on the web igniting the curiosity of every adventure junky. The mountains around this peak resemble that of the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol with their perfect muffin-like hills. But the fuss was not only because of that beautiful view but the name of the peak itself. I’m talking about Casino Peak now called Lugsangan Peak.

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When the said peak started making a break, it went by the name Casino. Everybody became curious about it. What’s with the name? Is gambling going on there? Outdoor enthusiasts flak the place not only for the view but to discover the story behind that infamous name.

Ace and I were not exempted with that curiosity. We were also excited and we even made several plans to check it out. Unfortunately, we were not able to realize any of those together. His schedule didn’t meet with mine so he was unable to come with me when I visited the place with the Team Bang.

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The Team Bang’s plan to trek Osmeña Peak and traverse to Kawasan Falls made my plan to visit Casino Peak possible. Few hours before the trip, I experienced a personal problem and I had to pull off my plan. I felt frustrated as I counted the remaining hours of our supposed departure. I was arguing with my subconscious whether to pursue the plan or stay home instead.

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And yes! My will to taste an adventure won over. An hour before the agreed meet-up time, I found myself riding a cab heading to the terminal with my friend Abby. My friends Louise, Daisy, and Charlotte also tagged along. Oh, I forgot to mention, on that same day the other year (2016) we visited O’peak, so it was sort of an anniversary climb for us.

We arrived at the terminal earlier than expected. It was my friends’ first time to meet the Team Bang. Louise was especially excited to meet the man behind The Bisaya Traveler blog as she’s an avid reader. When everybody was all gathered, we hopped on a bus to Dalaguete. (See a guide to Osmeña Peak here.)

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While we were riding a motorcycle going to Osmeña Peak, the rain started to pour. The road was covered with thick fog and the ride was freezing cold. When we arrived at the registration area, we did not waste any more time and started our hike after paying the necessary fees.

We already expected a foggy sight at the peak because of the weather. We didn’t stay long there because it was starting to get crowded. We had a short prayer at the top led by the Idol Wanderer and started our trek to Casino Peak.

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We took a shortcut from the foot of O’Peak and passed by a cabbage field. Later on, we followed a concrete road that led us to the registration area of Casino Peak.

To my surprise, the sign said it’s Lugsangan Peak and not Casino. The man who was assigned at the registration enlightened us about the change of name. The owner of the land going to the peak is named Ka Seno thus the name Casino, however, the name sounded indecent and gave a bad impression. So they changed the name to Lugsangan Peak. Lugsangan is the barangay where the peak is located.

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That sounds pretty interesting though.

The climb to the peak was not that hard. But the muddy trail made it dangerous and slippery. We also had to be cautious with the sharp rocks on the way.

The view from the top was breathtaking. It was windy and cold and we were standing only on slippery rocks with high cliffs on each side. I was amazed at the same time my legs trembled as I tried walking on a narrow rock. (I’m sure, Ace wouldn’t let me do that if he was there.)

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The fog was thick because of the unfriendly weather. We were all seemed teased with the beautiful scenery as the wind blew and clearing the fog. But the murkiness just wouldn’t go away.

The mounds surrounding the peak was like a shy little girl having second thought whether to show up or not, a little girl wanting to play peekaboo.

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As I sat in one of the sharp rocks, the situation made me ponder some things.

My life is full of failed expectations of myself, my family, and people around me. And sometimes, with me trying so hard not to fail, I forget to live in the moment. I sometimes forget to admire the journey. I have high hopes and all I see are those. I get too excited to see the silver lining that I failed to appreciate the things that made it glitter.

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And I was there. Sitting, hoping and waiting for the sky to clear up. And I realized, I wasn’t there because of the view. I was there because of the journey. I was there because I want some adventure. I was there because I want to make new friends.

In the end, I realized, I was actually there to learn.

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Over to you, what life experiences made you ponder things? What experiences taught you BIG lessons?

 

‘Til our next diary!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Scaled (700+ MASL) Mt Mago With a Toddler | The Boundary Climb

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The Boundary Climb.

One gloomy Saturday, together with our good friend Niña, we decided to do the boundary climb to Mount Mago in Carmen, Cebu. Because of the last-minute decision, I asked my sister’s husband who happens to live in Carmen, to take us to the jump-off point.

We were already in their house when he told us that no one could look after my niece, Ahkirah. Without hesitation, I said we’re going to take her with us. And off we go!

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The motorcycle ride.

We never expected an hour butt-aching ride to the jump off point. The road was slippery because of the other night’s rain and fog.

When we passed by Durano Eco Farm and the Lhuiller’s Farm, the temperature dropped lower than expected which meant we were already in a higher altitude. We saw a lot of pine trees and vegetation that only grow in cold places, too.

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After we passed by the Lhuiller’s Ranch, we had a quick stop over at an intersecting road separated by a perfect muffin-like hill. While waiting to ease the pain on our behind due to that painstaking ride, Niña and I agreed to climb the little hill with Ahkirah.

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Free!

And oh, I don’t know how to describe how we felt but we wished to just stay at the top and end our jaunt there because it was just AMAZING!

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Soaring high!

The top of the hill is denuded perhaps because of the recent dry season. The soil was red, like really red. While we were on top, we called Ace and Dan-Dan to climb and see it. We felt like we were already on the top of the world. The colors around were so rich and fulfilling to the eye. I, personally, admired how the colors green, blue, red and white complimented each other.

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We arrived at Barangay Santican which is the jump off point of the trek. The person who was assigned to list our names for registration was not around, instead, we were given two young lads to guide us to the boundary.

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We immediately started our hike after Ahkirah devoured one hanging rice. We walked through a fully established trail but it was muddy because of the rain on the previous night. Ahkirah, on the other hand, walked for few minutes and asked to be carried because it was muddy and she was having a hard time walking. We took turns in carrying her. And when she has rested her feet enough, she also asked to be put down and walk by herself. Now, I see a future adventurer in her.

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Hindi pa ako pagod, bes. Siya lang naman napagod eh.

Few meter from the jump-off point, we passed by a couple of houses and eventually, grassy slopes.  Although it was cloudy, I thought the weather was with us because it was not hot.

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We had to stop for short breaks to regain energy. Actually, the hike was not very draining because the trail was pretty established and the hills are not too high.

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The only problem we had, I guess, was the amorseco grass that clings to Niña’s and Ahkirah’s pants and shorts. Ahkira complained that it was itchy so we had to make a few stops to remove some of them so she can walk with ease.

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Buti pa ang amorseco, clingy at nag stay.

But those clingy grass did not make our trek less enjoyable. We were rewarded with a wonderful sight of the grassy slopes, green with envy.

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Look at that wonderful verdure! Made me want to stay here and paint.

After almost two hours of trekking through valleys and plains, we finally arrived at the boundary sign. Imagine being in three towns at the same time?

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I feel awesome~~~!!!

I couldn’t forget Ahkirah’s face when I told her she did it! She was very happy and ecstatic as she ran towards me in the boundary sign with her dad following her.

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Yes! You did it, baby!!!

I bet her dad was very proud because I am. Considering her age and her inexperience, surviving that two-hour journey was indeed a BIG accomplishment for a two-year old kid.

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Congratulations, Kida!!! Tita is very proud of you.

After feeding our eyes and souls with the refreshing sight around, we ate our lunch to replenish our tummies. After a while, the clouds above us became darker. As much as we wanted to stay longer, we couldn’t risk soaking in the rain with Ahkirah.

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But as we started to descend, the wind seemed to have blown the clouds away. 😀 Which was a really good thing, so we didn’t have to hurry home.

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We were given a good chance to bask in nature and take photos to remind us of the beauty of the place. Ahkirah had a great time running in the field while we were happily watching.

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You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is calling… so, get on your way!

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Ahkirah at Mt Mago.

When we arrived at the basketball court where we left our motorcycles, the rain started pouring heavily, as if heaven waited for us to find shelter. While waiting for the rain to stop, we had fun watching some kids feeding bananas to a little monkey in a sari-sari store across the basketball court.

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As soon as the pouring stopped, we headed home feeling contented and happy with our experience.

Just when we thought our jaunt had enough surprises…

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Sea of clouds!!!

As we passed by the red hill where we stopped on our way to the jump-off point, a sea of clouds showed up to complete our AWESOME experience.

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Drifting away.

We were so amazed by the sight of it. Words of amazement and gratefulness were all we uttered. We stared at it until it started drifting away before we realized to take a photo.

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Sea of clouds bidding goodbye!

Although we were unable to take a photo of clouds floating near us because we were very consumed by the sight, the picture of it is painted in our memory and that’s what matters most.

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Hooray for the wonderful experience!

Our worthwhile experience is something no words can really define — not even this thousand-word post. Mt Mago is not a mountain of struggles and not for people who wanted it extreme. But for a two-year-old kid’s first trekking experience? It is something she’d treasure forever. And if she forgot it, I will never get tired telling her how she scaled a 700+ Masl mountain for two hours when she was only a two-year old. 

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I did it! — Ahkirah

Should I come back? Definitely!

Thank you for reading this long story about our boundary climb to Mt Mago. We appreciate it. So, how did we survive our trek with a two-year old child? You can read our post about the tips and lessons on how to survive a trek with a toddler.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi and Ahkirah.