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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

Last weekend I spent some time on Mt Pulag, the third highest mountain in the Philippines, but more on that below. Before I left for Mt Pulag, I told my Dad, living in the U.S. to take care of his foot because he has a cyst and now he'll have an MRI on it next week. However, he kept telling everybody and me that it was nothing even though he had to use a cane for a few days and was limping pretty badly according to witnesses.  This stubbornness reminds me of my own ascending up Mt Pulag last week.

We hiked at night and it was a terrific hike, the stars were out, all of us hiking together in the cold, but I slipped on one of the wet rocks while hiking. Although I didn't fall, my ankle felt like it did. Next, guess what happened. Yep, you guessed it, I kept walking. I thought I would walk it off. When our group took a break, I kept moving my ankle thinking stretching it in circles would cure it and I would turn into self-acclaimed Dr. Steve. Nope. As we ascended I did consider stopping and not continuing, but to hike all that way and not go to the top, I had to go for it.  Once we made it to the top, we stayed there for 2 hours.  It was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), but it felt like zero considering the temperature I’ve been accustomed to in Olongapo City is the mid-90s.  After a while all the volunteers bundled our bodies together for warmth to no avail, it was still cold.  However, the sun started to peek out and above is what it looked like, the pic below is what it looked like 20 minutes later.

Yes, those are clouds

The hike down was something I wasn’t looking forward to for obvious reasons and also, the view from the top was breathtaking.  We were above the clouds, and even had a cup of coffee on top before going down from one of our members who brought his big gas stove.  As I started to go down, I just thought to myself one step at a time and at first I was doing well.  Our group had gotten to what I thought was the halfway point in no time.  Then, we started back down and I started to feel the pain in my ankle more.   Next, we arrived at another rest stop to have breakfast and I got to use my backpacker stove for the first time in the Philippines to make coffee and tea.  After that I took off my barefoot sandal and noticed the swelling.  (Yes, I hiked in these thinking if I could run down the street block and climb a small mountain, I could climb Mt Pulag in these, but no cigar.  These particular barefoot sandals aren’t good on rocks for me.)  The one thing I had going for me was that there was no discoloration on my ankle.  One person wrapped a bandage around my ankle and gave me a stick to walk with along with pain reliever.  After breakfast we had a longer walk than I thought heading back down to the beginning.  Some of the areas we walked down I didn’t even remember from the night before. 

Moving on, I took one last shot of the scenery I couldn’t see in the dark (to the left).  Finally, we got back to the jeep and I had my friend re-wrap the bandage because it was wrapped too tight on the trail.  I tried to sleep, but going down the hill was bumpy, which made it impossible to sleep.  Once I got back to La Trinidad, I got plenty of rest.

As for my father, we skyped the other day and he criticized my decision to wear the barefoot sandals and I the same to him for not seeing a doctor soon enough.  I hate to admit, but I can relate to his stubbornness, but I think all of us are a little stubborn at one point or another and will find a way to procrastinate our problem until we can’t delay no more.  Next hike, I will definitely be hiking in boots.  As for my Dad, I only hope he reacts faster next time.  Ingat na.


  1. you looked so strong that we couldnt even tell something was wrong until 6 hours into the hike! glad you could make it steve!

  2. Ikaw rin!

    Nice story Steve, I enjoy your writing. Have you had any adobo and rice lately?

    Ingat na Steve