Last November I did a trek to the top of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. Though already two months ago, I still think about it, and how it’s affected me. For one, I sprained my ankle on the way back down and my balance on that foot hasn’t been quite the same since. I find myself struggling in certain poses in yoga when I used to be able to be grounded. Nevertheless, it was truly a remarkable experience not without chaos, but I’ll never forget it because it has changed how I view myself ever since.
The hike was fourteen kilometers long ( 7 going up, 7 going down. This is maybe a 9 mile hike.) and took all day. We had to cross rivers like this on foot maybe 30 times…which meant I got my Nikes completely ruined and my calves totally wet. (This is crazy talk for a girly girl like me.)
This is what my hike looked like almost the whole way, with a lot of the rocks made of sulphur from the volcano. Towards the end, the path got a lot narrower and slipperier and it was like climbing stairs that had a tiny river flowing through it.
Mount Pinatubo is situated on the village/ land of the Aeta people, and since tourism boomed after the eruption in 1991, the Philippine government shares the profits with them. Aside from the hike package we paid for, we were required to pay 700 pesos each that goes to the Aeta people to visit their land. I thought that was pretty cool so we happy obliged. I saw some of the children, who were actually wearing normal clothing, but I was told that the adults still wore only loin cloths and lived on the top of the budoks.
The hike was a full 6 hours of slippery, uneven terrain, with torrential rain and the most exotic bugs I’ve ever seen up close. If I wasn’t so frozen with fear I may have taken a pic or two of those giant exotic…hornet/bird/bat creatures.
But..looking back..it was all worth it to get to view THIS:
At first I didn’t realize the body of water itself was the crater. I kept trying to look past the fog to see..until my cousin told me the crater in fact was the body of water. Back in the day they used to allow people to swim in it but have since disallowed it because of a drowning accident.
I love being outside and being in nature, but I’m by no means “outdoorsy” and consider myself a wuss when it comes to camping.
Well, not anymore.
This hike was literally the hardest hike I’ve ever been on, and though I underestimated how strenuous it was going to be, I was proud of myself for sticking through it, injury and all. I wanted nothing more but a hot shower after that twelve hour ordeal, ( we had to rise by 3;45 am and with the hike, travel time and all, we didn’t get home till 7 pm or so) but I have to admit, going through something like that made me appreciate so much: all the things in life we take for granted, and made me appreciate my body, for carrying me through that adventure. We were told some people died just last year on the same hike we took, on a particularly rainy day much like the one we had that day. Looking back, it’s probably crazy that we still went through with it given the weather conditions, but hey…we did it and we survived it!!
Nothing feels more empowering than going past your comfort zone and finding that, whatever it is…you can do it.
Evolve past your fears.
You just gotta breathe through it.
I love this quote my yoga teacher says at the end of each class,
“Use your breath to evolve, not to survive.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Maria. 😉
In life, you just gotta breathe past your comfort zone and see what adventure awaits you.
I promise you, you won’t regret it.
You might just find how strong you are. 🙂