May 26, 2015

Mountain Diaries: Zooming Out in Life (Mt Talamitam)

Work has been more exciting and stressful this past weeks that I temporarily forgot the need to go on trips. Well because I was sincerely focused on learning the ropes in my new post. And it worked! I quickly learned the language, arrangements, and challenges of our team - especially the challenges really.

I wanted to help so I focused on getting to the bottom of things, and dissecting the problems very carefully. That burned me out, and gave me unnecessary worries so much that I just had to go away from it all. I had to go. Never mind that it was already Friday, and I had no idea where to go or what to do yet. All that matters is that I will go somewhere.

Mt. Talamitam.

It was my sweet escape. The climb was successfully organized by someone from LUCP. Woohoo! Shoutout to Kenneth (and all the responsible hikers out there) for being well prepared, well researched, on-time, and encouraging throughout the whole day! You guys make the trek so much easier and less hassle for everyone.

The trail was easy, but the heat was unbearable. We had to take long rests and desperately look for a shade to avoid passing out. It did not help that there were no blowing wind at the time too. We were still on the ground, but I felt like the air was already so thin.

Peer Pressured Team

While waiting for a cloud to save us from the sun :D

Once we saw a big chunk of cloud approaching, we decided to move on to the assault part - quickly before the sun becomes high and almighty once again! This part is steeper and has big rocks, but it was still manageable.

The summit gives you a 360 view of the nearby provinces and mountains such as Batulao, Pico de Loro, and Makiling.

The Lead aka Hugot King in Prideland

At Mt Talamitam Summit

It was already an enjoyable hike for me, but it got better once we got to Layong Bilog River near the foot of the mountain. There was a cliff diving spot! HAHAHA I am sooo scared of such activities, but it amazes me endless when  people do it - when I do it!

Just for that fleeting moment, there were no more inhibitions. I was free to let go, to not be on top of things, to let things slip into my hands, to not control, to just be, and to just fall. 

For a while there, I didn't mind everything - my quota, difficult clients, family problems, etc. They all looked so small and distant, like the long forgotten past that couldn't hurt you anymore. The week before today suddenly seemed like a blown out of proportion picture. And my mind just zoomed it out to its proper size.

Such is common in life, don't get stuck zooming in your problems, works, etc. Make it a habit to wiggle your way out of it, and ask yourself how big of an issue is this in my life? A year from  now, five years, ten  years from now, will it make sense that I'm draining myself for this issue?

I realized that even if we run to the ends of the world, climb the tallest mountains, or swim the deepest oceans - it is ultimately our minds that we cannot escape from. Hence we have to make peace with it before we can expect to find gratitude in where we are and where we will go.

 See you around!

Getting There

Just hop on a Nasugbu or Calatagan bound bus at Coastal Mall Terminal, and drop off at Sitio Bayabasan (120php)

May 17, 2015

Bigger Than Anger

In movies, people have alter egos that think and act in different ways than the main characters would have. Remember The Mask? Incredible Hulk? And who would forget Tyler Durden? I think in our own little ways, we have these alter egos too - alter egos that behave in a manner that isn't aligned with how we see ourselves or with how we want to be.

And really, how often have we lost our true selves in front of an intense emotion?

Imagine your friend Kat. She is a very amiable and unassuming person, but becomes overbearing when depressed. Or your friend Mark, a jolly guy that turns tactless when angry.

When we're talking, you're talking with me, Arlet. But when I'm angry, you're not talking with me anymore. You're talking with 'Angry', or 'Ecstatic', or 'Drunk.' This is not to say that I'm no longer responsible, because the words or thoughts come from me primarily. But I hope you can try and forgive me until such time that I am bigger than my anger, hatred, sadness, or confusion. That said, I apologize for all the pain I've caused, because I am not yet skilled to handle my own emotions.

Arlet, the longer it takes, the harder it will be for you to apologize. Correct your mistakes as soon as you notice or sense it. Otherwise, honest as you are, you'll drown yourself in guilt.

Signing off,
Sadness, disappointment, and guilt

May 16, 2015

When The Truth Didn't Matter

Deep regret and guilt.

That was how I felt after seeing Emil and the other teams at the door. I just finished talking to management about the problems with Emil's team. The things I said were true, but I spoke bluntly and heartlessly- thinking that we were alone, only to find Emil and the others within hearing distance outside.

"Tell the truth, but be kind about it - especially when it's hard to hear." 

I've humiliated Emil by speaking ill of him "in front of" the other teams, and without giving him a chance to explain himself. I was such an asshole that night. And to be honest, I really don't know what to do about it...

Remember this, Arlet. And don't be such a jerk next time. Always speak as if the world is listening.

May 3, 2015

In Case of Fire

For less than a month, we've experienced 2 occasions of fire in the neighborhood. And on both occasions our family got very stressed - especially my mom. Firetrucks couldn't enter our streets because (1) firetrucks were too big, and (2) there were parked cars with no owners around. Some of our neighbors' home were also built with light materials that can easily carry fire. That said, I'm putting this out to (1) organize my thoughts on what just happened, and (2) serve as a reminder for everyone that accidents can happen - and planning beforehand can keep us in check and more prepared for such occurrence.


1. Plan two escape routes from each room
2. Plan where to meet outside
3. Save fire department's number
4. Confirm with insurer what will happen if the insurance policy gets burned?
5. Have a fire kit ready (backpack and list of things you need to get and can get in a minute or less ie money, car keys, important documents, computer back up, cash, etc) Include a whistle and flashlight to serve as signal in case you get trapped.
5. Have a fire extinguisher and water hose ready at home and everyone should know  how to use it.

Fire Prevention

1. Keep pets off cooking surfaces to avoid spilling/bumping anything
2. Unplug electrical appliances to avoid overheating and sudden explosion
3. Check for faulty wiring and cheap cords that does not follow safety standards.
4. Stay in the kitchen when cooking.
5.  Call the local fire department and request for fire inspection
6. Put smoke alarms in all areas of your home

In Case of Actual Fire

1. Practice low crawling - smoke is dangerous.
2. Stop, drop, and roll in case your clothes get on fire.
3. Never open doors that have warm handle
4. Make sure to know where your pet is and/or have a way of calling him/her

Keep safe.