STRIKE HOME| Unfinished business; scaling Mt. Apo itself    

THE NEWS that the Department of Tourism would re-open Mt. Apo to hikers sooner than expected should excite mountaineering buffs looking for exactly the place to go during the holidays.

It is one unfinished business that I regret not to have done in my younger years.

Of course, like Mt. Pulag northeast of Baguio, the trail to Mt. Apo has been made shorter by access roads that allow vehicles to bring you midway, and from there hitch up with a team to the peak itself.  In short, you can be up on the peak on the same day without having to spend the night along the trail.

It is one trip I intend to take while my legs can carry me. The prospect of staring down the rest of Davao, Cotabato and Bukidnon from the country’s highest peak is one unique experience that is hard to resist.

Communing with nature at this vantage point I believe can make the experience even more profound and compelling.

I am also fascinated with the kind of plants and animals that live on the slopes of the mountains and how they stack up to those found in the mountainous region of Benguet.

There, at the foothills of Mt. Pulag, locals are fascinated with the Ruby throat bird which they referred to as kiling. This particular bird, which has a special place in folklore, was nature’s announcer of the last typhoon that would hit the region in the year. Its appearance and its peculiar sing-songs normally in the month of October or November was indication that the last typhoon has since passed and that summer has just began. Is there by chance a similar folklore associated to the plants and flora and Mt. Apo?

Another folklore common where I came from was the revelation that eagles, of the same species that roam the wilds of Mindanao, used to be abundant in the cold regions of Benguet. Today, the remaining eagle population in Luzon can only been seen in parts of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges and eastern Mt. Province near the boundary with Isabela.

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One advantage to this profession is the varying flurry of e-mails that can clog your inbox.  Five years ago, I was recipient to an exchange of emails assailing a newly appointed chairman of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.  Intrigued and with a sly look on my face, I inserted a message to say I was nominating myself to the position to end the squabble considering that I speak the major languages of the archipelago. But no reply or even an acknowledgement came as my name probably did not ring a bell.

Several times in the past, e-mails purportedly sent from some command in the mountains would appear in the inbox which I promptly deleted so as not to alarm my missus.

One coming from Zorpia tells of women asking for a date while one link reveals successful executives in different professions sharing information and views. One wanted to know if I was a male since I use the e-mail address of the wife.

The e-mails from boxing promoter Brico Santig to his boxing partners in Japan, Thailand and China were a joy to read considering the telegram-like composition of the messages that cannot pass for complete sentences, not to mention glitches in spelling and in the tenses.

But I understand Brico and his partners understood each other perfectly enough to close and to honor deals at will so there was no cause for alarm.

The tools of the trade never fail to amaze me, considering that I started with only a pen and notebook as a reporter.  Pretty soon, I had me a tape recorder but was not dependent on it after I heard a story about Carlos P. Romulo who as a reporter claimed he could remember every word a speaker would say and write the news from memory.

Aside from the typewriter, I was handy with the teletype, then from then on to the computers that today’s generation of reporters use, with two or three fingers crisscrossing the keyboards. Now reporters are also expected to be handy with cameras or the built-in cameras lodged in their mobile phones.

What next?

Posted in Opinion