Amidst a busy work schedule, BRB Mountaineering has once again conquered yet another mountain. This time it’s Mt. Lanaya in Brgy Legaspi, Alegria, Cebu. It was a minor climb, estimated to be a 4-5 hour trek to the summit. Despite the short stay on this mountain, it has come to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. After the single night that we camped there, a new name was coined for this mountain: “Love-naya”. I will gladly explain why.
Everything started when the Ceres bus left the Cebu South Bus Terminal. We rode a non-aircon bus which was obviously the cheaper option. But then after a few hours realized that the aircon bus would have been a smarter choice. I, for one, was very uncomfortable. The seats were too small (or the person sitting next to me was just too big). I was able to sit with only half a butt. That, or stand up for more than 3 hours of travel.
That’s life, it has its ups and downs. The bus experience was one of the “downs” but reaching Nanay Lucing’s house was definitely an “up”. Nanay Lucing is the primary contact of mountaineers willing to climb Mt. Lanaya. She welcomed us to her home with a warm smile, and warm bibingka, warm gulay, and warm humba. Weeee! We were there on perfect timing for the town fiesta! Thank you Nanay Lucing! God bless you and your family for the hospitality and kindness you shared with us.
After the perfect lunch at Nanay Lucing’s, we started the trek through shanty houses, farm animals and coconut trees. We were accompanied by two boys recommended by Nanay Lucing to serve as our guide.
After about 2 hours in the mountain, I started to notice that the mountain was literally swarming with ants. And they bite. And it hurts. And it’s annoying. You wouldn’t want to stop and catch your breath because the ants will catch up with you!
Further through the mountain, there was even more bad news. A swarm of bees were waiting for us. One of the girls was stung 3 times and one of the guys was stung 9 times! It was a great thing that none of them were allergic. As in, whew.
At around 4pm, we faced the greatest disaster of all. Every mountaineer’s enemy: “leg cramps”. One of us just couldn’t make one more step because of the pain in his leg. Our group was divided into two. Some went ahead to the campsite while the rest had to stay and massage a leg. And then the other leg. And then the other one again. I felt pity for the guy but I also didn’t want to massage another man’s leg in front of my boyfriend. Hahaha, call it “excuses” but it’s a perfectly good excuse. 😛
The massaging went on like forever but it was okay because it was just another chance for the group to bond, laugh and fool around. We took little steps, moving closer to the campsite. At past 5pm I started to feel that this was no joke anymore. The sky was beginning to darken and droplets of rain had started to fall. It felt like the sky had given up hope, and so did I. I didn’t have a headlamp and boyfie didn’t have a raincoat. And remember there were bees somewhere in the mountain. I’ve never been stung by a bee before, and I definitely don’t want to be stung now.
But somehow, we managed to arrive at the campsite just before it got completely dark. I dropped my heavy rucksack to the ground, wanting to do nothing else but eat dinner. Thankfully, dinner was awesome! That night’s menu was hot noodles and spam fried into golden-brown perfection. ♥
I have to mention that a friend from Tribu Lapukon joined us. He was the ultimate reason why that night was Legen–wait for it–dary! Each of us shared stories about love, ex-girlfriends, crushes, holding-hands by the sea, failed attempts at a love interest, blossoming relationships, and so on. We talked and laughed until some of us lost our voices. No wonder the mountain was filled with ants and bees, it was visited by sweet lover boys and girls! Hahaha! ♥ Hence, the name “Love-naya”. Because it was a night of Love in Lanaya.
As much as we wanted to go on talking, we had to take our rest and save energy for tomorrow’s trek down the mountain. So I laid out my sleeping bag and snored my way through the night.
I woke up to the sound a person’s coarse voice saying “Sunrise, sunrise. Get up, let’s go see the sunrise!” So I woke up and one by one, everybody else got up too. Our campsite was less than 10 minutes away from the summit, but we must have moved pretty slow because we weren’t able to catch the golden glory of the early-morning sun. Sigh.
Still, it was a great 360-degree view of unobstructed sky, sparkling blue ocean, and landscapes having all shades of green and hints of yellow where the first rays of the sun has reached it.
We stayed there for a while and left only after taking a few hundred dozen photos or so. After a quick breakfast, it was finally time to pack up and leave.
As I made my way down the mountain, I thought to myself: I’ve spent thousands buying all the necessary gears, gotten myself dirty, including the gear that I spent thousands on, it’s an expensive hobby, and quite risky, I’ve gotten gashes, bruises, sunburns, nasty cuts, dead toe nails, insect bites, head aches, body pains… the list goes on and on.
So I then asked myself: “Why do I keep coming back? What is so great about climbing mountains?”
With just a fraction of a heartbeat, I already knew the answer:
It’s the view.
It’s the sky.
It’s the fresh air.
It’s the experience.
It’s the excitement.
It’s the satisfaction of reaching the top.