Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do I climb for recreation? For meditation or for recognition?

In renewing my relationship with the mountains, I posed a questions to fellow trekkers who were open to a casual conversation? What do you pair your climbing with? Is it climbing and recreation?  Climbing and meditation? Or climbing and recognition (Facebook, Selfie, networking, fad)? I recall a thread sometime early twentieth century when egroups was the norm for social networking for those privileged to an email account. I captured the inputs in my blogspot in 2003. Let me repost.
Feel free to add yours.

Why do I climb?

We were inspired by John Muir, the most quoted mountaineer who said, "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves."

Then there was the movie "Seven Years in Tibet" when Heinrich Harrer explained, "I climb because of absolute simplicity. Our mind is clear, free of all confusion, you have focus and suddenly, the light becomes sharper, sounds are richer and you are filled with the deep, powerful presence of life."

We have our reasons. In my and other friends' words, we are sharing them with you . . .

Chito originally posted October 2003

I climb mountains because it is when I get away from everything that matters to me, I realize what really matters most to me. And sometimes, what I thought was important may not be that important at all.

I climb mountains because when I'm on top of the world and I realize the enormity of things I haven't yet seen nor heard nor felt nor experienced, I feel motivated to go on with life and maybe try to live forever.

I climb mountains because … I don't know. There must be a strand in my DNA make-up that calls for me to reunite with the basic elements.
Mayan, a young sales female professional working for one of the largest detergent companies in the world based in Manila

Why do I climb?  It is for the feeling.
We were inspired by John Muir, the most quoted mountaineer who said, "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves."

Then there was the movie "Seven Years in Tibet" when Heinrich Harrer explained, "I climb because of absolute simplicity. Our mind is clear, free of all confusion, you have focus and suddenly, the light becomes sharper, sounds are richer and you are filled with the deep, powerful presence of life."

We have our reasons. My reason is . . .

They say climbing gives one a natural high. It can be explained by the release of endorphin, the body's natural pain killers. The same feeling you get after a work out, a marathon or an aerobic activity.

All the walking one does is like going through reflex. Reflex through finger therapy disperses and melts all the crystals and deposits in the foot producing an immediate feeling of well-being. Tension and minor pains seem to disappear. That's what the trail, stones and pebbles one step on do to the feet and the body.

No wonder John Muir said in his most quoted explanation, "all woes disappear." It is true!
Spiritually, climbing prepares one for better relationship with fellowman, nature and with the self. 

The struggle one goes through forces one to look quietly and deeply to the core of the self leading to a discovery and realization that we are just a speck in the universe. Yet, when one reaches the destination, one is euphoric, rewarded with an awesome view of nature, the satisfaction of self reliance and a realization of the beauty of man and creation. Senses are heightened opening up other possibilities in life yet feet are firmly planted on earth.

That is why during and after a climb. I enjoy better your company at the camp site, go out of my way to do chores as a cook, a cleaner, guide or sweeper or even organizing and leading climbs. I appreciate better food, drinks and socials, acknowledge myself more and most of all understand my role as a work of my creator.

That is why I climb, will continue to climb and encourage people to climb.
Chito Razon, a weekend climber and a regular major climber

Bakit? Iba ang feeling. Parang at peace ka. Hirap ang umpisa pero pagdating sa tuktok, ang sarap ng pakiramdam. Parang lahat ay game at nasa elements na hindi mo nakikita sa ibaba. Recharging. Nakalilimot sa stress. Medyo nagkakabonding. Lahat nagkaisa sa kahirapan.  Sarap ng hangin, ang ganda ng view, kakaiba ang lamig.

Para rin matuto gumawa ng website at hindi makalimot.
Chito Razon, a marketing practitioneer based in the Philippines

Bakit nga ba? Pag nararamdaman ko na yung pagod, saka ko iisipin, ano ba ang ginagawa ko dito, bakit ko pinahihirapan ang sarili ko? Pero oras na maamoy ko ang sariwang hangin, makita ko ang naggagandahang puno at halaman, mapansin ko ang mga kakaibang mga hayop/insekto sa gubat at higit sa lahat, pag-nakarating na ako sa tuktok at nakita ko ang nakakatulalang tanawin, saka ko naiintidan kung bakit ako bumabalik at bumabalik at bumabalik at buma...
Mitch Soria works for a bank handling systems based in Makati Philippines

Why not!!!
Everybody's doin it so why can't I!!!
TJ, still a student

For me ... It's savouring some of God's creations ... which are not touched by man's cruelty to NATURE.
And of course ... enjoying the company of new FRIENDS
Juno Moncada, a family man working for a transnational.  He was recently introduced to climbing just a year ago

Why do i climb? It's because of this:

When my busy week has ended to the mountain i will trop just to feel the closeness of him as i take my walk with GOD.
Hand and hand from hill to valley sweet the smell of fresh turned sod sweeter still my joy and pleasure as i take my walk with GOD.
Every creature pays him homage trees and flowers bow and nod in the presence of their maker as i take my walk with GOD.
Oh the rapture of this moment guided by his staff and rod lifted now are all my burdens as I take my walk with GOD.
Have a good CLIMB guys...
Gerald Muriel, PALMC member working with WHO-HQ in Geneva, Switzerland as computer specialist

Bro, Oh the poet in you, at least now you're doing something instead of just point blankingly stare at a wall trying to figure out how difficult it is to answer a seemingly simple question.
Elmer Cabotaje, a physical fitness person involved in the academe. An officer of PAL MC

For meditation in higher elevation and isolation from civilization.
Vince Balagot is into computer hardware and promotes anything with a price tag

Why Climb?
To listen to the rhythm of nature which has been drowned out by the artificial static of society
To remind myself that Homo sapiens is just one species among millions and has no right to claim the world as its own
To renew my commitment in helping save the Earth with the blessings I have been given
To come face to face with all that will be lost if I do not do my part
Wing Torres, a technical person involved in the production of detergents.  Introduced to climbing just years ago and has been to most mountains in the Philippines

Is Backpacking a Religious Experience?
The trail IS the physical destination and what I get from it is the spiritual journey that lasts days or weeks after the trip. For me backpacking is a way to shed the protective garb of society. I become a moving temple. I get simple and learn to deal with inner conflicts without constraints. Surprisingly it works, and I always send a thank you note to my God after all It is mostly his ear that I bend. Yeah ... I guess it is a religious experience. I certainly don't do it so I can eat freeze dried foods and drink iodine flavoured water!
Ed Daniels

"Mountains, nature and wilderness have historically held a special place in the spirituality of humankind, and religious or not, I hope that modern man can continue to respect the sanctity of the few remaining special places. For me personally, the sacredness of wilderness increases exponentially as it becomes more scarce."
Terry "Terry Thompson"

Why do you enjoy the wilderness?
Sheer joy in the beauty of nature, getting off where I can think and dream, the physical exercise, the satisfaction of self-reliance, an opportunity for introspection, the interest in seeing new places closely as only a walker can, the sensual thrills of good air and cleanliness around me, the excitement of unexpected events and challenges ... I guess I could go on. There is no single reason.
Stephen W. Anderson

Going into the wilderness or wild places is more than recreation. It has more to do with creation.
John Holladay

The experience of being one with nature in your most simplest form could be one of the reasons why. "May karapatan kang maging baduy" for sometime that you cannot be really termed as "baduy". Ha-ha-ha! The experience of pushing yourself to the limits and the glory of conquering yourself is really something to look forward to each climb. Because, the beauty of each mountain entices me to climb as many as I want for as long as I can for every mountain offers a different experience altogether.
Fe Javier working as Marketing Assistant for Siemens, Inc.

Because it's there ? ... no to get in touch with the environment I have evolved from, which is forcibly being taken away from me by the very race I am with. Malalim?, let's make it simpler - to be with my creator
Long Henson
Why do I climb ... Basically, it makes me feel good ... not just good, but getting that "natural high" there's no way you get it in an urban area. Another would be the environment that you are in it and the people you are joined with.It's that feeling of belonging with God and his creation that we try to maximize to our own advantage, not knowing the beauty that it possesses.
Joey Arenas, working in automotive, promoting the environmentalism in the company

Why is the grass green, why is the world round? I climb mountains "because it is there ..."- a great explorer aptly pronounced. There is nothing like a sunrise and a sunset viewed from the peak. In climbing, I am one with God. I am reminded of His generosity in sharing His great Creation. I love the great open spaces, the sheer natural exhaustion after a good trek. We should never stop exploring ... the world and ourselves. The big IS!
Charina works for a telecommunications company engaged in the cellular business

It gives me a certain "high"... more closer to God ... relaxes my soul ... stress from work disappear when I hear the birds chirping early in the morning to wake us up and most of all the real person in us appears specially when we're so tired ... nothing can beat the beauty of mother nature!!! Appreciate and take care of God's gift to humanity!!!!
Ria Mariano-Vicencio

It is an ultimate feeling of expressing my self ... I really love to stand on the top or high places ... I don’t care what people say ... I'm an Engineer,and really love to climb! It's fun to do something that somebody can't.
Paul Torregosa

Climbing has always put me beyond the brink of my fears. It sure feels different to find out that what you are afraid of is not the unexpected twists of the trail, nor the sudden vastness of the ravine beside you (which you don't give a care about because you are so damn tired). You suddenly find out that your fears are just within yourself - and up there on the mountains - they are all flushed out.  And you come down, with sore legs, but with a refreshed soul.
Jojo Nazareno is an analyst/designer for Computer Information Systems Inc - now recently assigned to Meralco-MTP/Distribution

Why do I climb ? ... I guess it's to get away from it all --- stress, work, stress, pollution, stress, and so on. It's conquering yourself. NATURE TRIPPING!!! Iba talaga ang feeling!!! To be one with Nature and the Environment ... diba? ... and of course, to meet and be with people who have the same frame of mind!!!
JV Duque, Training Coordinator-Artist Training, Talent Development and Management Centre, ABS-CBN

Umaakyat ako para makita ang nasa itaas ... upang masilip ang sumasaibayo sa mundong nasa ibaba ... napakahirap lalo na sa bandang una ... MAHILO-HILO ka pa!!! ... pero ang karanasang iyon ay hindi mapapantayan ... palaging mayroong paglundag na nasa loob ... lundag na 'di maipaliwanag ... 'di maintindihan ... ang paghahanap din yata ay parang ganoon ... hirap ka sa una, pero hanep sa huli ... umaakyat ako dahil mayroon sumasaibayo na 'di natin kailanman naiintindihan ngunit maaring maranasan ...
Si Erich nagpupumilit magturo ng Araling Panlipunan sa isang ekslusibong paaralan para sa mga lalake sa may Quezon City, sa tabi ng Ply-Ober!!!!

It's fun and full of audacious excitement. For me it's the ultimate recreation, it's like floating in the air whenever I'm watching GOD's wonderful creation.
Robert, SysEng from Qatar

For the joy of companionship
To sharpen the senses
To appreciate what you really have
To not mind the things you don't have
Learn tolerance for yourself and others
Jojoy is in the production of shampoo for Colgate Palmolive

I climb because I feel I'm on top of myself and anyone else who has not reached the top of the mountain. It's like seeing fresh, dewy, eye-soothing grass and flowers in the early morning once you reach the top. Climbing gives me the ultimate relaxation, or what Wordsworth referred to as "contemplating with nature," and it gives me a deep fulfillment that I have conquered myself, my anxieties and, most importantly, my health problems.
Jonathan Ortiz, Journalist/Editor - Wordgrafix

I climb because ... not everyone has the guts to do it ... it's an accomplishment in life ... you'll appreciate nature more ... I love to climb
Atit-kompyuter prog sa isang compyuter kampani

It's Fun!! It's exciting!!
But most of all, it is the only experience ...
... when I feel closest to God ..,
Michael Macainag a Student of De La Salle University

As what Sir Edmund Hilary said:
As what Nike advertises:
"Just Do It"
As what Flavier said:
"Let's DOH it"
As what I always said:
"Let's climb it"
Ayi Luna a Law Student of San Beda College

To prevent life from escaping.
Jon Linao-a student mesau1982@hotmail.com 

It is a childhood dream to reach the top of a mountain and touch the clouds!!!
Toping Marin an Assistant Auditor at Metro Pacific Corporation topingm@hotmail.com

Let Conrad de Quiros wax eloquent:

"Because one must. One does not do it for the sheer joy of it,nor fame or fortune or health. One does it because of DESPAIR. For not doing so would be to melt in this world. Because it is not easy to accept nor to acknowledge the "thereness of things"-- like the mountain. Our minds cannot just accept the hugeness of mountains, much less the terror that goes with it - and one must climb--because it is there"

Di ba? Enough said: Climb!
Pastor Noel Suministrado-a Pastor in the company ni Lord karass@mozcom.com

Because it has made me realize that there's nothing much I need in this world except what I can carry in my backpack.

Because I can just close my eyes and feel the space around me.

Because only in the wilderness and in the face of adversity that you can truly test a person.

Because it reminds me amidst the 5-star things in life that this is the real me, simple me ...

Ciao eve
Eve Cayaban-United Airlines Paxs Sales Exe at Aerotel Ltd. eve_cay@pacific.net.ph

Gusto kong umakyat dahil para sa akin...habang ako ay umaakyat at lumalakbay sa mga lugar na hindi ko pa napupuntahan, ako ay lumalaki...lumalaki sa iba't ibang aspeto...mapa-pisikal, mapa-intelektwal o mapa-spiritwal!
Miguel C. Lopez a Student of DLSU m3c2@cnl.net

The experience is full of fun, thrill and adventure. It was tiring but when you're there, it seems that you always want to explore.
Anna Mulingbayan-an Asst.Network Administrator at Destiny-on-line anna@destiny.sen.com.ph

I believe, one time or another, this question has to be answered by every climber. As for me, I have not been thinking about the answer to this. I guess because I refuse to rationalize the feelings I have with me and the 'energies' I receive whenever I climb.

My first climb in Mt. Pulag last November of '97, has somewhat 'switched on' something inside of me. It was like it was something that was bound, destined may be the proper word, to happen. I knew I've always loved the outdoor, to be in communion with nature. It was pure destiny I had come to achieve it with the people I knew and has come to love in this seminar organization. That particular climb, because of its grand result, resulted in this 'thirst' for nature.

Some of the things I love about nature, especially the mountain scenes, is the pure stillness and the absolute silence of everything when the weather is so fine. It was like time has stopped and that everything else except me has stopped moving. I can hear myself so loud that I find it easiest to ask myself and to reflect on a lot of things.

That's why I always say that climbing is, in every bit of the way, also a seminar. Like in the indoor seminars that we are used to, reaching the summit IS not (and shouldn't be?) THE thing to get excited about. Rather it should be the process of getting there and the learnings that one (I) will find along the way.

The Summit is the prize of Learning! I've come to learn not to have any expectations nor project invincibility. It's hard to be in that space although I know for a fact that some are. Rather, I've come to learn to accept the mountain as it is and myself as I am. That way, it's easier for me to receive whatever the mountain and the nature has in store for me. I've come to respect them.

Why do I climb? For the gift.
Emil dela Cruz, volunteer for a self-empowerment seminar and a computer programmer

I climb because it gives me the chance to rediscover myself.  It's really amazing that you get to have the chance to really think(!!) and learn about a lot of things when you go climb a mountain (without losing ur sanity). I'ts almost like a religious thing when your up there and suddenly all kinds of thoughts get into your mind. I guess climbing makes one realize the true meaning of being HUMAN. God,I miss climbing.
Darius Jorjan, mainframe programmer of Worldspan darius.masuhud@worldspan.com

Exciting, fun, good for the health, meet new friends, I conquered myself, para makatakas sa work, escape from all the burden, feeling of freedom, it's an obstacle at least now I know how to handle when those things comes my way.
Bing, employee affiliated with Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas

I climb because ... gusto kong ma-meet ang Chito Mountaineering Club
(CMC). Eto ang pantapat sa MFPI, Mountain Madness, PALMC, ano pa bang malalakas na org yun ... ahhhh Team Albertos! Yun lang po ... BOW!
Mick-Chen, fireman/student affiliated with MESAU

Because I can't dance,
And I don't know how to sing
- Rocky Balboa
Roderick Rebada of MESAU working with InfoStructures Systems

Do every climber has his own reason? I think not. All climbers climbs because there is something about the climb that is INEXPRESSIBLE. All we could do is describe about the feeling. And yet, all the words combined isn't enough to capture what backpacking can bring to our heart, body, mind and soul.

If you are a climber just like all of us, well ... there's no reason for further explanation because all you could do is to give all these comments a high salute ... I have felt what you felt, you also have felt what he felt, and he felt what she felt ... it's like beating in ONE heartbeat.

If you haven't tried climbing yet ... it's high time you do. So, you can understand all the things being said here. When that time comes, you'll be coming back into this site and read if what was written was indeed right.

We'll be waiting for your comeback!!!
Mylene student (again!)

noong una dahil sa challenge pero pag naroon ka na sa itaas hindi mo na alam kung bakit.basta I just realized na tuldok ka lang sa mundo na bale wala ang talino,lakas at yaman mo,na mayroong ISA na higit sa lahat.pero siyempre, umaakyat dahil sa bundok hindi pinapansin ang babaeng umiinom ng gilbey's at lapad na walang chaser, natutulog nang hindi naliligo at humaharap sa mga boys nang bagong gising sa umaga na walang make-up at yagit ang damit tapos isusuot and damit na ginamit na medyo basa pa pero mahal pa rin ng mga lalaking kasama niya dahil kasama sa hirap at ginhawa.
jopee a. maduro_42k mountaineers of social security system-taipei

At first, I hate them (mountaineers na nakikita ko noon), pero ngayon, ako na ngayon ang umaakyat ng bundok. Kahit mahirap at nakakapagod ang sports na ito, pinipilit kong marating ang tuktok (summit) ng bundok na aakyatin para lang makita ko ang kabuuan ng ganda ng nature.

Aside from my other activities, this is one of my very challenging hobby and very expensive. I can compare the steep trail to the trials, and other problems of life, while the summit is my goal of my life. until now, I can't express what I felt once I reached the highest portion of the mountain.
Manny Zacarias, a manufacturing engr. from a semicon company

why i climb???????? to experience the adventure of nature and discover its beauty ... understand the wildlife and protecting the sanctuary ...
NormanV, I.T. (technical dept) from a semicon company

i'm looking forward to my next climb. i will climb again because i just realized that i can focus and do things i thought were impossible or boring, etc.
i felt a different kind of pain after the climb which in a way was ... strengthening. i don't know. it was really beautiful. and the cleansing it brought to my body - no wonder i craved for a smoke once we reached the camp site. bumaba yung nicotine level ko.
we'll try to organize mountain climbing expeditions and introduce the experience to our friends.
peace and God bless!
Joel A., a planner for a meat processing company on his first climb

The lessons I learned on that climb will never equal the sheer exhilaration of reaching the summit after a challenging ascent. The quiet on that mountaintop was as rare as the clean air and the brisk, cool wind. On the way down, the weather was as perfect as the climb, the company, and the memories of the weekend spent away from the world. I would wish that more exciting events happened while we were at the summit, but nothing could have been more exciting than sitting down and absorbing nature.
BobTongco, a Biology student

because life is full of uncertainties that you need a very good diversion for you to overcome every struggles... and I found it!!! ... the only way is to climb ... if you have the guts to climb... who cares
what life brings ... ciao ... hike,climb and be proud!!!
Joven Rito an officer at the philippine health insurance co.


  1. Nolan Tianco says "Seems we are Jurassic already since my PALMC days go way back two decades ago. Nowadays for me to climb the mountain is for fellowship."

  2. JV Duque says" I remember the portion in the PALMC site before, "Why Do I Climb?" Ganda ng mga answers natin, Tochs."

  3. Jaja Reyes writes "Ultimate throwback! It's hard to believe that's more than a decade ago... Thanks Chito for bringing back these good memories to life! It is also an encouragement that I should find the time to reflect & write about the experiences of this adventurous spirit - that way I can immortalize my stories the way you have with yours"

  4. Jojo Palad declares his 1st climbing experience was in Pinatubo in 1999. " 2014 blog mo... 1999 ako nag Pinatubo..."

  5. You're correct Maestro Chito. This blog came a few years after my first climb in Pulag. I still maintain though that I answered the question "Why do I climb?" much earlier before this blog, through your email. I think it was from one of your group mailing list before blogging went mainstream.