MT. BALAGBAG: The Battle Between
My Lungs and Faith

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub We weren’t even far from the drop off point when the impact of climbing hit me — my heart started poun...

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Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub

We weren’t even far from the drop off point when the impact of climbing hit me — my heart started pounding and breathing became a difficult chore.  This was the 2nd mountain that I climbed. Well, 2nd if you can consider the time when we climbed the mountain of Nagsasa in Zambales wherein we didn’t bother reaching the summit. Aside from being out of shape, I am one of the people who actually suck at breathing. I’ve had asthma since I was a kid but I don’t let that hinder me from doing the things I want to do. (E.g. Mountain Climbing)

It was one Wednesday morning, third week of March when we decided to climb Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez Rizal. I told Denise and Hesi to hop on a bus to Tungko, San Jose del Monte Bulacan. Without knowledge that they will be on the road for almost 2 hours, I received comments of disbelief of how far they have traveled.

We rode a jeepney in Tungko to Licao Licao after catching up about each others' lives and after eating a disappointing shawarma. It was an hour of jam-packed and uphill ride before we reached the tricycle terminal. We hailed one for 30php each to bring us to the drop off point. One can skip the tricycle if they’re on a tight budget and they want to start walking right away but it will take you an hour of walking.

Inhale, Exhale, Inhale, Exhale

I managed to develop a breathing exercise to keep asthma at bay so I continued hiking up the trail and soon we were showered with greetings of “Magandang Hapon po!” (“Good afternoon!”) and “Ingat po, kayo!(“Take Care!”) from the children who live there.

“Malapit na kami, diba?” (“We’re almost there, right?”)

We kept on asking the children who we encounter on the trail if we’re already near the summit and we always receive the answer yes. Feeling motivated and pumped, we continued.

We made stops every time the scorching sun comes out so we took that opportunity to hydrate ourselves.

In the mountains, it’s as if it has been a courtesy to always answer yes if climbers ask you if they are near the summit to keep you encouraged. However, when we asked again after resting, one kid decided to drop the truth bomb and said no. It was an arduous journey and eating Jollibee after the hike made it somehow bearable.

Almost an hour had passed when we reached what we thought was the summit. Most of the photos that we saw were taken from that place so we assumed that that was the summit. It turned out we needed to walk another 15 minutes to reach the true summit.

We let ourselves think if we will still push through and then we met three senior citizens who had just descended from the peak. That inspired us terribly to finish what we started.

After countless “Are we there yet?” and heavy breathing, we finally made it to the top. We were greeted by a chubby orange cat that made Denise and Hesi furry excited, we laid our eyes on the majestic view of the Sierra Madre landscape, we managed to squeeze in a spontaneous shoot just in time for the golden hour and we let ourselves be in awe of The Artist’s creations.  Faith won. Just like always.

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  1. Such a good read! And lovely photos <3 <3 <3

  2. beautiful photos and such a beautiful experience! <3 grabe, i really want to hike and climb mountains and explore kaso i have no time and wala ako kasama. kainggit! hehe

    xoxo, rae

    1. Thanks, Rae! I hope you can hike soon too. It's very fulfilling! :)

  3. I miss hiking so much. I've been there many times and had so much experiences. Anyway, as the photos say it is still beautiful. Looking forward to climb and camp there again soon. Nice photos tho.

  4. This made me miss the last time I went up a mountain. And that's in Cebu. I also have difficult times breathing everytime we hike but there's just something in hiking that makes me feel so fulfilled. Kahit na lagi kong kinakanta yung "I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing" na part ng kanta ng The Script kapag umaakyat ng bundok haha. Ang ganda ganda kasi talaga sa taas. <3

    Angelica|The PolyHobbyist



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