2012: A YEAR IN REVIEW FOR THE BACKPACKERS
I. MAJOR CLIMBS
A major climb separates the usual fun climbs because of its difficulty - longer and steeper trails, and exposure to extreme weather conditions. It may include grueling travels and enduring in a more technical climb. This is one of the requirements before being officially inducted in The BACKPACKERS family. The real bonding happens while you are facing a major mountain. This year, we had three major climbs which paved way to the inevitable growth of The BACKPACKERS family.
In January, the traverse trail of Mt. Cristobal witnessed ten individuals gleefully accepting the challenge of the Devil's mountain from Dolores, Quezon to San Pablo, Laguna. It is one of the most favorite and memorable climb this year for some BPs as they enjoyed maneuvering through the beautiful forest of Mt. Cristobal. It was at its enchanting saddle where we inducted BP Chons and BP Percy.
In May, perhaps the grandest induction venue, we conquered the most sought after mountain that every mountaineer should have conquered (or at least plans to conquer): Mt. Pulag. It is the third highest mountain in the country and the proudest in Luzon. There are several trails leading to Mt. Pulag's summit. Since it was The BACKPACKERS' first time here as a group, we chose to take the Ambangeg trail, more known as the 'Executive' trail. It was a leisurely walk-in-the-park but we all got a taste of the freezing cold weather when we settled in its camping ground. Here, we welcomed BPs Anna, April, Des and Tin to our family.
In November, The BACKPACKERS went through our most difficult climb for the year: Mt. Tapulao. The sixteen kilometer stretch of rocky, ascending trail seemed endless and the scorching heat of the sun was painfully challenging. But regardless of the elements, we were never down. And this test of patience paid off as we were treated by a magnificent vista of the nearby mountains and the pine forest of Mt. Tapulao was a delight! The heat and exhaustion were foes at noon, and in an ironic turn of events, it was the chilling atmosphere that we battled at night. But nonetheless, The BACKPACKERS prevailed and survived the highest mountain in Central Luzon! In its summit, we inducted BPs Alexi, Ghei, Gerald, Nick and Resty.
II. BATANGAS MOUNTAINS
The province of Batangas is blessed with several beautiful hiking destination worthy of a visit. This and its accessibility to Manila based group like us are perhaps the reasons why we have been going back and forth to this province. This year alone, 33.33% of the monthly travels (or 4 out of 12 climbs) were held in Batangas.
In June, we revisited the mother mountain of The BACKPACKERS: Mt. Gulugod Baboy. Accompanied by six guests, we dazed through its easy trail and once more, we were captivated by the same view from its wide camping ground. We were caught in awe because of the marvelous landscapes around Mabini, Batangas.
In July, we headed to Nasugbu, Batangas to conquer Mt. Talamitam. This is also the climb with the most number of official BPs present. It was our first foreseen night trek and boy did we literally night trekked our way through its slopes with raging horses and cows around. Some were even provoked by our presence and chased us. The next day, we feasted our eyes on unexpected sea of clouds on its summit.
In December, we had another revisit: Mt. Batulao. This time, we traversed it from its old trail to new trail. The bouldering at the old trail to its summit pumped everyone's adrenaline and it was an accomplishment in making it on top once again. This Nasugbu, Batangas mountain is clearly one of the best mountains where a newbie can start to appreciate the sport of mountaineering and we, The BACKPACKERS will not get tired revisiting it.
III. BIRTHDAY CLIMBS
We vowed to do at least one climb per month. With this vow comes the probability that a BACKPACKER will also be celebrating his or her natal day in the mountains. Or even if it may not fall exactly in the scheduled climb date, there will be a celebration or whatnot for this BP's birthday month. Just like BP Clue who celebrated her birthday in Mt. Pulag, BP Percy who was greeted atop Mt. Gulugod Baboy and BP Bogs atop Mt. Talamitam. Here are the other mountains we conquered where a birthday was celebrated:
In August, perhaps the biggest surprise for a BP in a birthday climb was done at Mt. Sembrano in Pililla, Rizal. It was BP Mon who celebrated his birth month. Unknown to him, we were all asked to wear a red shirt which is his favorite color. The surprise happened at the barangay hall of Malaya when the first group, mostly composed of guests accompanied by BP Vice Ralph and BP PRO Heinz, blindfolded this jolly fellow. The cake, lunch and a surprise guest in the form of BP Ghei were delivered by the second group, breaking him into tears. According to the grateful BP Mon, it was his first ever birthday cake which made it a memorable event.
IV. HIRIT SA TAG INIT
That season of the year everyone's waiting for, other than Christmas,... SUMMER! Here, not only mountaineers, most travelers draft and execute their best getaway to enjoy the season where the sun shines radiantly in the sky opening up an avenue to enjoy the outdoors. Summer of 2012 was a big one for The BACKPACKERS. Thus, a 'Tatlong Hirit sa Tag Init' was created, three trips during the summer months March to May.
In March, to open up the summer season, The BACKPACKERS headed to the historic town of Bataan to climb Mt. Samat and spend the night at Raven Resort. The BACKPACKERS enjoyed touring the mountain a la educational trip where we were treated with the view of the Bataan mountains and a nice glimpse of the past. Part of the site of death march, we recounted the courage and strength of the Filipinos during the Japanese occupation. Perhaps the highlight of the trip was riding the elevator inside the famous big cross where we saw more breathtaking surroundings.
V. EASTERN VISAYAS
October of this year when The BACKPACKERS had a major five day backpacking trip in the Eastern Visayas region.
Matalom, Leyte, we enjoyed the small and calm island of
Canigao. We had a blast touring the entire island and were surprised
to see an enticing sandbar on the other side.
|MAASIN CITY, SOUTHERN LEYTE|
|SOGOD, SOUTHERN LEYTE|
VI. BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS & MAJESTIC WATERFALLS
The BACKPACKERS aims to show the world how beautiful our country is. Our primary activity is conquering mountains but we also enjoy visiting other natural wonders - particularly in this section, islands and waterfalls.
|KALANGGAMAN ISLAND & CANIGAO ISLAND IN LEYTE|
|MOTHER FALLS, CAGNITUAN FALLS & DARANAK FALLS|
VII. SOLO BACKPACKING
The BACKPACKERS climbs mountains as a group, explore caves as a group, hop from one island to another as a group and check out magnificent waterfalls as a group. But what if there are no scheduled activities and the member is in itch for an adventure? This year, we saw a lot of The BACKPACKERS spirit in several members. They took time off from work and from the group and explored the outdoors by themselves. This was the year of the Solo Backpackers.
VIII. BACKPACKERS HEADQUARTERS
The BACKPACKERS Headquarters in Mandaluyong City easily became an avenue where we can eat, sleep, drink and party. This year, the HQ had seen a lot of memorable events and celebration which only proved that the group's bonding is not only done in the highest of heights.
|FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS IN HQ|
|MAY BIRTHDAY IN HQ|
|JULY BIRTHDAY IN HQ|
|SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY IN HQ|
|OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS IN HQ|
|DECEMBER BIRTHDAY IN HQ|
IX. OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
The BACKPACKERS is also about reaching to the communities in need. We foster camaraderie through these programs which aimed to help children and other fellowmen who are not fortunate in their status in life.
In October, led by BP Chons, The BACKPACKERS held We Care, We Share and visited Nayon Ng Kabataan and sponsored and conducted a christmas party for one hall there. Each hall in Nayon Ng Kabataan houses kids which are abandoned by their parents. It was a memorable one interacting, playing and dancing with these kids. The event was hosted by BP Nick which was his first hosting stint in the group.
|WE CARE, WE SHARE PROGRAM|
|BE LOVED GIVE LOVE YEAR 2|
|ABC+ BENEFIT GIG|
X. ANNIVERSARY PARTY
In December, The BACKPACKERS celebrated two years of growth and friendship during our Wild Wild West Anniversary Party. Held in The Ascott Hotel in Makati City, everyone put on their best cowboy costume and partied our way until morning.
It was a very memorable 2012 for The BACKPACKERS.
And we are looking forward to what's in store for us in 2013!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!