Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mount Pulag 03: Reaching the Summit (a photo essay)

"If I ever reach heaven I expect to find three wonders there first,
to meet some I had not thought to see there second,
to miss some I had expected to see there and third,
the greatest wonder of all, to find MYSELF there. "

I don’t know who said this, but it is the best description I could summon for this entry. The closest thing I could get to heaven.

We set the alarm at 3am to have enough time to prepare for our early assault at the summit. Our aim for that day: to witness the sun ascend from the sea of clouds at the summit of Mount Pulag.

From the campsite to the summit, it would take 2 hours or less. When we woke up that early morning, the weather was not encouraging. It was raining, foggy, and chilly. My hands and my feet were all numb as we were making the assault. The combination of rain, cold wind, and thick fog surging on my face, made me feel frozen all the more.

In less than 2 hours, our group reached the summit. Ah, finally!

The temperature at the summit was colder than what I have expected. Since it was still dark and raining, I hid among the bushes just to moderate the surging of the cold wind and the mist. It was less than 5 degree Celsius at the summit and I could not feel my face anymore. My gloves and my shoes were useless as they were soaking wet.

A few minutes after, miraculously the rain stopped and the sun was peeking from the cottony clouds. It was a momentous day for me. The sun dance worked!

Below is a photo essay of my experience at the summit. :-D

Oki witnesses the sunrise

SUNRISE, FINALLY. Oki was happy to witness the sun rising from the thick clouds. She was the first person who suggested that we all do the sun dance (ala Sarah Geronimo). She believed something will come out of it and we all succeeded in convincing the god and goddess of the mountains that we deserve such nature's splendor. It was fun.

three gentlemen

THREE GENTLEMEN. Fellow climbers who were with us during the early assault. They were the first three who went to the other side of the hill to witness the sun rising. They brought with them tripod.

Willie rising

WILLIE RISING. Around this time, the sun was up and the cold weather was at a tolerable level. Members of our group were starting to disperse, positioning in every hill to stand and take every photo opportunity. I sure did position myself, strategically. For awhile, I felt that the hills were mine!

different colors

CHANGING COLORS. Facing the sun, this is the view at the east. One great attributes of Mount Pulag is its rolling hills that change colors depending on the season and the weather. Some portion are lush green, the others are light brown owing to the colors of the grass, and dark brown like the chocolote hills of Bohol.

green rolls

GREEN, LUSH ROLLS. This could be the back of a huge monster. It is a rolling hills from where I stood. The thick clouds are slowly dispersing as the sun reaches its peak.

brown rolls

BROWN ROLLS. This is the same grassland. It changed colors as the sky cleared up. There was no sign of the rain, but the dews were there...shimmering under the rays of the sun.

climbers at the top

STEALING BEAUTY. Fellow photographers and nature enthusiasts trying to capture the beauty they were witnessing. How could you not? This is the closest place to heaven. God could be wondering about the noise down there and opt to take a peak at us.


SOLITUDE. A fellow climber who was enjoying the moment.

blue sky and brown grassland

CONTRASTING COLORS. The sun was up, the spread of light was just stunning. The grassland turned yellowish, the best contrast against the blue, clear sky.

savoring the sun

SAVORING THE SUN. I've missed the sun that day. The cold was enduring but feeling the sun once again was just a breath of life. I was enjoying this moment.


I am taking each moment as it comes. I try to change what I think is wrong and learn from my own mistakes and misapprehensions. I cannot change everything, but I am trying to do something. Did I ever tell you I am the most amiss person?

But if there’s one thing I truly learned from this experience, it is trying NOT to miss on that “little moment” in my life --feeling the sun on my face, smelling the grass, touching the dew after the rain, enduring a freezing weather, and smiling back at you every time you give me the coldest “hi”.


Toe said...

Gusto ko sumali sa sundance ni Oki. Kaya lang baka maging raindance 'yan. :) Spectacular photos, as usual Rayts! Hindi ko kaya yang ginagawa mo. :) But those views are soooo worth it!

Jim said...

ang sarap naman rayts. I like the photos you presented here. ganda ng sunrise, ang langit at mga ulap! wow.

kyels said...

I remember the sundance by Sarah Geronimo ... It was hilarious!

Anyway, beautiful photos!


my gulch said...

of course kaya mo! madali lang ang trail to Mt Pulag. ang lamig ang di ko kinakaya, hehe.
ibang dance ang ginawa ko habang nagsa-sundance sila, hehe. natatwa kase ako. anway, epektib naman.

onga. para baot tanaw ko ang lahat kapag nasa tuktok. parang konti na alng abot ko na din ang langit. samalat.

oh you do? haha. you are really one of kind. there is already a sequel to that film. coming this feb 25. ;-)

Anonymous said...

ang sarap ng experience mo rayts! sometime people do go to places this to somehow lookback on how the way they live their life. i've seen you fellow mountaineer on this blog, he could be doing some reflections on himself. :)

Sidney said...

Beautiful...beautiful... and as a bonus you found yourself.

Maybe I should try this one day... although I might be quite disappointed if I discover myself... :-(

lagal[og] said...

i can relate to what you were writing about rayts. at times, it's not just the destination or the feat itself but of the idea of finding oneself there. anyway, love the pulag sunrise above the clouds :D

paoruiz said...

makakaakyat din ako dito. balang araw. itaga mo sa kung saan man. =p

my gulch said...

experiencing the beauty of nature could do a lot to us, an enticing moment to reflect--something that we city dwellers hardly afford to do lately because of so many things that are going on. :-)

haha. you might discover some other things aside from yourself. ;-)

precisely. really, one is bound to appreciate everything and feel lucky that he/she is on top of a mountain savoring even that one, fleeting moment of freedom.

itinaga ko na. tagang-taga na. baka nga di na maalis yung taga eh.

Ferdz said...

Beautiful images Rayts! I especially like the 3rd one. Hanep sa atmosphere.

I still think Mt Pulag is one of the ost beautiful mountains we have here. Mas nagustuhan ko pa nga sya sa Kota Kinabalu.

Ganda ganda. Takes me back there.

my gulch said...

welcome back Ferdz! tama ka, mas nagustuhan ko din ang Pulag kaysa sa Kinabalu. well, walang rock formations sa Pulag pero malupet naman ang view at yung feeling na ang lapit mo na sa langit.

pieterbie said...

That third photo is breathtaking.
Great writing as well, you truly are a talented woman.
Must have been a great experience.

Dai said...

Wow... these pictures are amazing! I'm planning to climb it this December. I can't wait. Your experience is inspiring! ^_^

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