climb

have compass, will find bearing...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usi spent the weekend out in the wild. it all began when i left home late at night last friday. i went to rolly's home in alabang, and i think the earthquake occurred either while i was in transit, or while i was walking. i wouldn't have felt the tremor as much as others did since i was burdened by a backpack laden with the most unnecessary things. the entire friday was crazy to begin with. i went out to have a check encashed, and this girl at the bank didn't want to accept my lawyer's ID and my passport as proper forms of identification. she was unfamiliar with the violet and pink ensemble of the integrated bar, and was concerned that my passport had already expired. does that change my identity? i wanted to tell her, look bitch, i'm not leaving the country. i just want to show that i'm the guy named in the check.

after i finally got the spare change, i went to quiapo to get some photography stuff. i purchased some batteries and film, and then proceeded to makati to pay my credit card bill and hand over some negatives to johnbee at his office. we talked for a while in their conference room and he briefed me on what i had missed when i skipped the thursday bash at cowboy grill. after that, i passed by SM for some trail food, and went home to pack. it took me all of 4 hours to get a few things into my salomon high route 500, and another 2 and half hours to reach alabang (the trip to los baños is much shorter).

at rolly's, he and i spent an hour just talking and viewing this video of his trip to chicago. i fell asleep while i was watching the tape, so i asked that we turn in since we had to get up early for the 7am departure for makiling. we met jun, mike and tet at alabang. mike's towering bag troubled me a little. it was large enough to fit a small girl inside. we took a non-aircon bus to los baños and waited for tin and doc ron at jollibee. other than our bags, each one of us were saddled with plastic bags filled with a variety of stuff. only later when we had finally reached the UPLB nursery that i realized what the sierra guys had in mind: they intended to have nothing less than a fiesta. they took along a cooler, 5 roasted chicken, several pieces of embotido, a lot of marinated pork, and so many other things. it was a huge picnic under the thick foliage of makiling's forest reserve. we set up camp, and placed johnbee's giant tarp over four concrete tables. having been the lightest and most agile person in the group, i was tasked with tying two ends of a rope onto two giant mahogany trees. i stood on jun's strong shoulders while mike was in hand to catch me in case i fell, since i had little regard for my balance and safety.

after lunch, i decided to review while the guys went out to set the course, and while the girls sneaked into their tents. i found jun's hammock to be a most ideal place. ideal, however, for sleep rather than study, because i quickly dozed off. a cool afternoon breeze gently swirled around the campsite, and the tall mahoganies were kind enough to shelter us from the sun's punishing gaze. a little later, our neighbors started arriving. another outdoor group, AMCI, had also scheduled their orienteering activity that same weekend. they came in small trickles, and i even passed by to say hello to my friends. some of them asked, rather repeatedly, why i didn't join AMCI. after all, i had already climbed with AMCI twice before. i failed to answer the question truthfully.

when night fell, we had a sumptuous dinner under the giant blue tarp. roasted chicken and barbecued pork was in abundant supply, and so was really fluffy sinandomeng rice. immediately after that, we began our tradition of drinking ourselves half blind. absolut vanilia was on board, and i refused the brusque whip of gin in favor of the smooth but firm pinch of the swedish brew. before long, the alcohol had invaded our brains, and we began laughing with little regard for the others around us. we even had some guests from the neighboring camp come over for a few shots. some guys recognized me as the are-you-certain-you're-a-lawyer funny man from the pico de loro open climb.

at half past midnight, the rest of my co-trainees arrived. dennis and judith carried bags the sizes of which were less than a third of mine. why, this is unfair! then jr and i finally decided to turn in to prepare for the exam and the orienteering thing. i was already well on my way to reaching slumber land when rolly took his place and began snoring like a diseased train. not only did he snore ever so loudly, the three of us inside that tadpole tent turned it into a dry sauna. rolly, in his drunken and wasted state, was hardly affected by the heat. jr eventually crawled out and slept under the tarp.

at 4am, we were already up, packing our stuff, preparing for the variety of challenges up ahead. then i had the worst exam in my life. i'd been subjected to many arbitrary modes of measuring one's knowledge or ability to regurgitate information, but this has got to be the worst. thanks, however, to my talents for circumlocution, i still managed to fill the page with my nice handwriting. but my paper had BS written all over it, something which i am admittedly good at. i turned in my paper with no trepidation, but with no fantasy of doing even remotely well. i refocused my energies at the next activity: orienteering.

i was paired with chito, and we did rather well. we only had trouble finding the first station, since we debated on how far, exactly, is 95 meters. but after that, all the flags were where we expected them to be. at the different stations, we took another battery of tests. there were also arbitrary requests for theatrical performances, to which chito and i obliged gladly and with little hesitation. we finished the course with little incident (except maybe my full body contact with mud), and were back at the nursery just after lunchtime.

pretty soon, we were marching down back to civilization. i hitched a ride with miah, who insisted that we pass by go nuts donuts. edgar and dong were go nuts donuts virgins, and were visibly not disappointed. i only just got home to an empty house. only the dogs were around to greet me. i opened one of my cans for dinner since only cooked rice was available, and am just about ready to turn in.

tomorrow, i leave for cebu to act as moderator in this symposium for new solons. we're staying at the mactan shangri-la. yes! i hope i get a nice view of the sea. i am unsure though if i'd be able to make updates while i'm there. finally, i'll get to have some rest and relaxation out of town, but not up in the mountains.
(Anonymous)
So did you find your bearing....literally and figuratively??

J.
hmmm... a cryptic question deserves an equally cryptic answer. yes and no. a compass is usually not enough for one to find what one is really looking for. if you can be less anonymous, and perhaps, more specific, i can give a more substantial response. wink.
(Anonymous)
how come you didn't mention that you and your best friend, jay raymund e. jallorina, engaged in horseplay and wrestled a bit before you got in miah's car? just wondering...

j.
(Anonymous)
Whoa...now, that's something. You better write about that soon. Otherwise..... :-)

J.
the "horseplay", which consisted of an exchange of everyone's favorite cusswords, was an insignificant footnote undeserving of mention. and a bit of pushing and shoving can hardly be considered "wrestling". besides, jay's already too famous. this is my blog, not his.

one more thing, hindi naman seryoso yun eh.

one question though. is "j" different from "J"?
(Anonymous)
While we may have similarities, J.'s different from j.
Where the difference actually ends, I don't know. That may be an interesting find. :-)
i have a hunch, and it may just be correct. but i'll hold it off for now. so did J. or j. post this comment? :D