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Pushing Through: Overcoming Mt. Baloy’s Challenges and Completing the Panay Trilogy

The Kinulitan trail of Mt. Baloy. As we go further up nearing the summit, the trail changed from walking to crawling under and over these plants called lagiwriw. Our crawl to the lagiwriws was seems never-ending. It took us more or less 15 minutes to cross completely.

“We advise you not to go,“ said PSI Jose Nemias P. Pamplona, OIC of the Calinog Municipal Police Station. Exactly 3:00 in the afternoon of April 16, 2018 when we arrived at the station for log in. We were entertained first by an officer who asked for our IDs and recorded our personal information in a sheet of paper. Afterward, he brought us to the room of PSI Pamplona who was still out for an official business that time. With the use of a topographic map hanging on the wall of the office, he oriented us about the geographical location of the trail we will take to reach Mt. Baloy from Calinog side. He told us of the dangers ahead which at some point, made me think of backing out. The whole area is considered as a ‘hotspot'. While deciding to proceed or not, Sir Pamplona suddenly arrived. We shook hands and introduced ourselves as friends of the 20 hikers of Higher Grounds Mountaineers-Iloilo who did the same traverse two weeks ago headed by Sir Jay Plantinos. We showed to him the photo of the map provided to us by Sir Jay and explained to him our goals for the hike. He then continued the orientation and upon hearing his negative advise, I turned my head to Richard and consulted him. Richard said he wants to proceed and convinced me to drop the negativity. After a while, we told Sir Pamplona that it is unethical for us to abandon the hike prior to meeting our host in Karatagan and we wanted to assess the situation personally when we reach the jump-off point. He then wished us good luck and even joked to send his office a copy of the trail photos after our descent. That lightened up our mood.

July 10, 2018

Open Letter: 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Stop Me, a Teacher, From Traveling

Reading a book story to one of the Aberling Tribe families in Sitio Baag, San Jose, Tarlac.

Dear you, yes you. Don't stop me (a teacher) from traveling. Why? Because wherever I go, I never forget I'm a teacher. "I will share this to my students," is a common line people I meet in my travels hear from me. The road has taught me more functional lessons than my degree, certificates, seminars, and training. Outside my usual environment, every place is a new experience, every moment is a learning opportunity, every person is a channel of new ideas, and every journey is a window to a new world. It seems to me that every time I decide to go out, I become a better person when I come home.

July 8, 2018