Unforgettable climb to Mt. Hibok-Hibok or how a neophyte conquers fear of heights

Take a close look at the picture and notice Camiguin’s White Island in the background peeping at us mountain-climber beginners negotiating the sloping terrain of Mt. Hibok-Hibok. Or is it the other way around-we neophyte climbers courageously peeped at the shimmering islet before us, down, down below.

In one summer day many suns and moons ago, I met Butch Dagondon, Ruth Atega, Arturo Atega and some Cabadbaranons who invited me to climb Mt. Hibok-Hibok and I readily said yes, thinking of some kind of picnic, not realizing we be conquering a volcano after all and I have never even climb a hill.

How naive can one gets, but hey! I was 19 then, the age when nothing seem impossible- at least to me.

When my father asked me what lessons did I get there, I said not to forget eating breakfast before climbing a volcano. No joke because I nearly fainted as I scaled the first volcano of my life not only because of starvation but out of fear as we battled the “neck” of the volcano before we reached the crater.

Who the hell invented the word, picnic? It was no picnic really, my ignorance finally got me as reality started to bite. The long craggy uphill, the unbearable heat and the desire to go home but one has to surrender to the truth which spells adventure in the end.

But afterwards, during and after blood, sweat, tears and regrets, the rewards are tremendous. So tremendous you feel like you’re no longer ordinary, for you have successfully conquer the world. Like you have wings at your feet.

The white clouds, the blue sky and White Island all below you teasing and waving at you like your favorite friends. cheering and embracing you. It was an unforgettable affair that taught me to be one with the world.

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