Text and Photo by Euden Valdez
Crying Mountains to Tacadang
HOW does one prepare for a journey to someplace one has never been before? Often, a traveler relies on research and recommendations.
For us mountaineers involved in community work, communication among locals and leaders are required. It is them whom we based our itinerary and estimations on trek time. Often, if they say it takes them one hour to summit from jump off, then we double it for ourselves.
This was the case for our Kibungan circuit, in which half was to be spent on unfamiliar trails despite RAK Ph Mountaineers’ regular outreach activities in the mountainous province. We were aware that coming from Sitio Lanipew, all of us would technically be “first-timers” going to Barangay Tacadang proper on Day 2.
Thankfully, we were rested, albeit, not fully restored.
Still, we had already accomplished our mission to conduct an ocular and interview with Lanipew locals for our solar project, which had been in the pipeline for over a year already.
Now, we had to continue our journey.
Text and Photos by Euden Valdez
(First of Three Parts)
Rainy Assault at Almasi
IMAGINE assaulting a steep trail with small steps carved from a mountain’s solid surface while being exposed to the forces of nature—behind you is the open mountain range covered in white. You realize you’re actually inside the clouds or the fog, whichever, for it is raining and every now and then, the wind blows sharp, cold stings. Below, you see the endless and tiresome steps you just took but not the bottom.
Now imagine arriving at the top of such the arduous ascent only to be faced with a new peak, beyond it, a silhouette of yet another peak. It feels and seems like there is no end to this assault.
This was the infamous Almasi trail of Kibungan’s mountain range of high summits, deep gorges, thick forests and countless waterfalls. For its very steepness and length, the trail isn’t part of Kibungan’s commercial circuit for hikers. Despite this, it was the access we took to reach Sitio Lanipew in Barangay Tacadang, the site of RAK Ph Mountaineers’ next potential solar project and outreach.
Text and Photos by Euden Valdez / Additional Photos by Coleen Salamat
This is one concept that Random Act of Kindness – RAK Ph Mountaineers live by. That whatever you give, you also receive. By extending kindness in the form of our Christmas outreach called “Give Light on Christmas Day and Pasko Fiesta,” we also received so much more from our Aeta recipients.
Our beneficiaries, 36 households residing in an Aeta Resettlement in Sitio Camiling, Brgy. Papaac, Camiling, Tarlac, through their very own hands, dug earth crops like ube, cassava and ginger from their own lands as gifts in exchange of our donations.
Text and Photos by Euden Valdez
IT’s not every day that ordinary Filipinos like us meet our nation’s indigenous peoples. As in personally interact with them, and not just treat them with disdain whenever they board a jeepney playing makeshift instruments to ask for alms—like how we would normally encounter them in the big city.
But IPs who are leaving their ancestral domains and local communities in the hopes of finding better life in the urban jungle that is Metro Manila is a whole different matter altogether, one that I am not capable of writing about yet.
is a former dyarista,