Thursday, May 15, 2008

Challenging Mountain Climb

My college friend, Donald had invited me a week ago to a Mountain-River-Ocean Adventure in Kiamba, and I right away, said "Yes" as I have been wanting some fun while in General Santos City. So May 14, 2008, we went to Kiamba, an east-coast municipality in Sarangani Province. What we tought as a 2-day affair was actually 4 days! So, I only worried as I packed only for 1-overnight sleep and 2-day food! Good thing, Donald helped me out with his ever-complete mountain climb stuffs, and the rest was fun.

There were other 15 climbers from Sarangani Province, and whew, I was all fascinated by their stuffs, from bags and tents to their portable burner. I only wanted to have all those basic essential as I want to climb and conquer more mountains.

In day 1, at 10:00 am, the trail started with a 1-hour-very-stiff climb to Sitio Falil, where families of Tiboli tribe reside. We had the chance to see a coffin made from Lawaan log, where a 70-old dead man had been lying in for 2-months. According to their priest, this burial ritual has long been practiced for 70 years. I could only laud them for preserving their culture. We had our compact lunch uphill the sitio in their school compound. The next trails led us to a more exhausting, leg-cramping walk (I only climbed twice in Zamboanga with 4-hours tops!). The hot sun drained us more, we had to quench our 2-liter water and refill them from the springs along the way. And, WOW, the water was all flowing, sweet and cold!!!!

The next hours of walk were all tiring, we would wish, we did not come at all. We traversed one river to proceed to the base camp. Geez, I could only catch my breath. But then, as we continued and when we were on one summit, and viewed the rest of the mountains we traversed and the panorama of Kiamba mountains, all our exhaustion could go vain, so we just continued, moved on! When, we reached the last stop toward the base camp, and saw the muddy, all stiff and dangerous climb down hill, I could feel my knees tremble of fear!!!! I could only pray that my son, Yuri, will be taken care of, just in case, something would go wrong. The 1 hour walk to base camp, took so long and fearsome!!!! It was 6:00 pm, and the trail became dim and futile, I could only hold on to my trail pole and other climbers to guide me.

When we reached the base camp, I saw Donald and Bulingking, our other climb companion, set our dinner and sleep tent. I could only retire on a bench and massage my legs and my feet. WOW! I could still feel my body tremble from the last downhill climb.

We retired with a half-cup liquor to relax me and speed up my sleep. I could then feel that every bone I had was aching and complaining from the 8-hour-day climb!

The next morning was more relaxed, but still dreadful as we have to traverse the almost-90-degree climb uphil. It took us 1 hour to finish it, but we had to pass on our bags to the porter, as they exhausted us more. The next 7-hour walks were lighter, as we would head to Tuka Beach for the supposed snorkeling, but the strong rain changed our itenerary, so we only headed to the beach for evening socials. My feet were all full of blisters from the hike, I could only look forward to sink my legs to the nice beach of Kiamba.

Reaching the final stop in Woodbridge Resort, I just took off my hiking clothes, stayed on my swim wear, and plunged directly into the sea. What a relief!!!!!!!

We consumed the night, with the locals' sugar cane wine, called "Basi." It was sweet, a little bitter but had that warming effect from the wind and the sea-soaked body. We mingled then with the rest of the climbers and just had fun from the climb that just concluded. I hit the bed and dozed right away.

The next morning, I could only bid my new friends goodbye as I had to go back to Gensan. They would still await the snorkeling that still has to happen.

We look forward to the next adventure of climb, water tubing, snorkeling and many more with Kiamba locals and othe climbers. The experience was very great, fun-filled and worth-every-bone-pain experience!!!!!