Ever since I’ve started traveling, I’ve always thought of taking my mom with me. I want her to see and experience the greatest things that this world offers. While she still can, I want her senses to be enlivened by anything naturally splendid – be it an element of a city, the sea or the summit. On top of all these, I live for her unfading bright eyes and precious smiles upon experiencing new thrills and adventures that she has never seen nor done before. I love how full of life her voice becomes every time she vividly speaks of her emprise. With that, I would chase for trips where her knees wouldn’t fail her and her fear of the depths wouldn’t take its toll on her. Just a few days ago, I took my mom on her first hike and camp at the mountains!
A Weekend in Batangas
I decided to take my mom on our dive-hike-camp trip to Mabini, Batangas. We decided to go for a dive in Anilao in the morning and camp at Mt. Gulugod Baboy overnight. We planned to enjoy some Korean barbecue and bowls of spicy ramyeon on top of the hill under the stars. The plan seemed pretty and simply fancy – something that is doable for my mom at the same time she would love and enjoy.
It has been showering at noon after our dive but we were pretty optimistic about some star-sprinkled clear skies at night at the mountains so we still pushed through with the drive to the foot of the campsite at the hill. After washing up, we took a smooth drive for almost an hour from Anilao to Malimatoc – the barangay where the parking lot near Mt. Gulugod Baboy’s campsite is. The trek might be short but we worried about how muddy the trails could get. My mom’s first hike and camp at the mountains might not turn out smooth as expected.
She braved the showers and the rain-roiled earth despite her knee issues. It was even challenging for her as she carried an added weight of our little Lhasa Apso in one of her arms. The jolts and pangs would be drawn into her face in every step but she would endure as she paces. I buried my worries into good tiny cheers to motivate her. There were times as well that she would pause to catch and steady her breaths but never would she be heard of complaining about being in that situation. When Christian finally told her that we’re only few steps away from the top, her face lit up and she enthusiastically paced.
Her Mother Mountain
She let out a long exhale with a shout when she took her first step on top of the hill – a sign of “I made it”. I was clapping and smiling at her. “So did I,” I was able to make it too; to take her to here. I was able to witness her smile on her first hike and camp on the mountains. The trek might be short but the challenge made it sweeter and more fulfilling for her. She was looking around, perhaps in awe of the scene and how it felt to be standing on top. She would occasionally brush her drizzle-dampen hair off from her face to soak in the immaculate scene of the clouds drowning everything in its own sea.
Christian offered his foldable chair to my mom upon our arrival to our spot. I drew my phone out and took a video of her with our dogs on her lap. Immediately after taking this, I joined the others who were setting up the tents as the sky has started to pour.
After setting our tents, Christian handed my mom a pack of disposable emergency blanket. Then, we hurriedly crawled into our safe spaces and warmed ourselves up with some socks, jackets and blankets.
The Night’s Unforeseen Ordeals
Since it has been pouring when we came, we stayed in our tents and waited for the people on the other tent to finish preparing for our dinner. The heavy rains and the winds were turbulently hammering our tents from the outside. Not used to being in this kind of situation, my mom prayed the rosary. Every time the wind blows harder, she would say the rosary louder.
I could feel her fright as I felt her legs trembled. Thinking that it might make her feel better, I wrapped my long, slender arms around her and rested my head on her shoulder. She sounded calmer as she gave my leg a pat. We stayed like that for several minutes until I heard the people from the other tent calling us for dinner.
Cozy in our makeshift safespace at the mountains! She can finally smile amidst the chaotic winds outside lol
The sky has halted from pouring just in time to enjoy our Korean barbecue and ramyeon. However, the wind still blew in all its might as if it would take our tents away. My mom refused to leave our tent then. Instead, I got her something to eat and enjoyed it at the comfort of our makeshift safe space.
I would occasionally leave my friends from our “cornucopia” to check my mom in our tent. After a round of game that we’re playing, I called it a night and joined my mom who seemed to have adjusted to the situation. She appeared to be peacefully in repose beneath the blankets so I quietly laid down on her side and wrapped my arms around her. The wind was blowing harder again but we both felt safe in each other’s arms and warmth.
We woke up to a calm, dewy and drizzly morning. Thanks to the socks, blankets and our tent that provided a great shield against the winds, we were warm all the way through. I could hear faint sizzles and clattering of utensils so I got up and thought of helping the guys who are preparing the breakfast from the other tent.
I’ve never loved gloomy mornings but the one I woke up to that morning was a great exception. The sky seemed just a stretch of an arm away above us. The winds would immaculately push the thin wisps of clouds upward. I could see the oceans from below but the low-lying clouds would cover them once again. I quickly ran back to the tent and grabbed my camera. Riley and Zoey, our lovely dogs, would curiously poke their heads out of the inner tent so I took them with me, too. I ran to the other side of the campsite where there were less people and my dogs followed.
Our little Lhasa Riley with his Tito EJ Edralin, lol Our Lhasa Apso furbaby, Zoey!
My senses were feasting over the morning. I caught a whiff of the smoky bacon but the scent of the damp earth beneath me was stronger. The air felt icy on my face and my feet were dampen with the grasses’ dew. The clouds moved faster revealing the ocean and the islands below – the scene’s transition was glorious and heavenly. I didn’t miss it as I took snapshots one after the other. I wanted my mom to see it but she said it was too cold for her to be staying outside.
Breaking the Camp
After some American breakfast at the mountains, we started breaking the camp. We were the last to leave so we get to see more of the sunny side in the campsite. It was around 9:00 AM and the rain has finally stopped. The sun rays would stubbornly make its way through the thick clouds above us. At times, it would open up and the rays would warm our faces and skins.
Breaking the camp took us some time. After we packed most of our tents and stuff, the guys descended first and carried the things to our cars. The girls stayed so we had more time to enjoy the day in there. My mom finally had a chance to take a look at the beauty under the morning sun. I enjoyed pointing her this and that; introducing her to the islands, mountains and seas that we could see from there.
Finally, it was our time to descend. Christian, in barefoot, took my mom by the arm and supported her all the way through her descent. We all seriously trekked slowly to ensure everyone’s safety. The trail was muddier than it was since it was raining the whole night. This made the trek even more challenging. Gladly, my mom safely arrived at the jump off without slipping off.
All she spoke the moment she took her last step off the trail was, “Thanks, God.”
Mom’s First Hike and Camp at the Mountains, In a Nutshell
Overall, my mom’s first hike and camp at the mountains was truly memorable. Did she enjoy it? She said she did, somehow. But after our trip, she could not stop talking about it with her friends and our family.
I’m glad I could still show her a few great things this world has to offer. I may have lost the chances to do it with the both of them but still, I have her.