I have conquered Osmeña Peak!

I am a city guy who ultimately loves to just stay in my comfort zone – the “Typical Cebuano Guy” in Jeepney Stop Chillin’s 11 Guys You Meet in Cebu. This just accurately depicts what kind of a dude I am. I’ve had my fair share of adventures but…I really can’t say that I left my comfort zone on those. On one fateful day, a single nod has made a difference. One day I decided to stay out of my comfort zone and discover the world – I was not disappointed!

First day of the week – like any other unproductive weekend for my rest days, I was planning to just be at home and play MMORPGs. All of a sudden, one of my buddies at work blurted that we should go somewhere – Osmeña Peak (O-Peak). I didn’t say a word. I didn’t want to go. I haven’t been there but i have heard more complains, from my feeds in a social networking site that “it’s too tiresome,” than good comments. At the back of my mind – I sincerely agree that it IS going to be tiresome, not to mention cumbersome, hot and inconvenient, the list just goes on and on; and that staying at home is THE best way to spend my rest days.

Mid-week – they plotted the itinerary. Reading through it raised serious doubts about my decision to join my friends on their camp on the coming weekend. Children guides? Bloated budget? Four hours on the bus to the south? These made me asked myself “what am I going to put myself into?” If ever I wanted to stay out of my comfort zone, it should be planned at the very least. I pulled a devil’s advocate on one of my friends who organized the O-peak adventure.

Why do we have children guides? What if they lead us somewhere to our doom? I should NOT pay P500 for road food! To the south? On a bus? What if the bus falls over one of the cliffs going there?

His comeback was simple, but I found it persuasive (and because I wasn’t able to think of a rebuttal) – we don’t need to plan on anything, let’s be spontaneous. FINE. I will go, Mr. Persuasive!

Weekend – the day has finally come. We left the office with our ginormous backpacks, ready for the trek-camp. We were head-turners! We arrived at the bus station and took our first step on our spontaneous adventure –the agonizing, butt-numbing, sweat-inducing teeth-grinding bus ride. As expected, we were all sleepy, head-banging for half of time on our commute to the site. We arrived noon and grabbed some lunch in one of the carenderias where we got off. After eating, we regrouped and came up with a list on what to buy for our supplies.

I volunteered a buddy of mine to buy the supplies; unfortunately I was counter-volunteered by him, too! We went to the market place and bought canned food, rice, water and all the other stuff that we need to survive. When we got back with the group, they already had children gathering around them asking us if they could guide us to O-peak. Mr. Persuasive knew a kid that once guided his group and we all agreed to have him as our guide.

And now the bloody part: the two-hour, calves-tearing, sweat-breaking, fat-burning, abs-forming, soul-crushing, will-withering trek to the camp site. We treaded from hard concrete to muddy ground to slippery and sharp rocks to itchy weeds to cow poop infested paths and the worst of all – a nearly-impossible-steep-and-dangerous-close-to-lethal terrain to the top of the mountain.

“The mapmakers (children guides in this case) tell us the shortest distance between two points is a straight line…” So a straight line it is!

Walk. Trek. Climb. Trip. Slip. Shrug dirt off pants. Rest. Trek. Step on cow poop. Climb. Grab wrong twig. I’m still alive!!

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What have I gotten myself into? Why did I have to come here? I’m so not coming back! I’m too old for this shit! Thoughts I had while trekking. I really felt like giving up, I wanted to just turn-around and get the next bus going back to the city. I felt bad for not being able to keep up with the rest of the group. But I didn’t have much of a choice, don’t I? I was already there – might as well finish what I have started. I then started to sing, in my thoughts, No Giving Up by Crossfade – my lullaby for times like those. I also had Volunteer Buddy who was kind enough to come down to my level of stamina and trekked with me, all the way to the top of the mountain.

A few more steps and I’ll reach the peak.

As I ascend with a few more steps, I felt the gentle rays of the setting sun. My eyes opened wide with wonder. The stress on my back gone. The strain on my calves disappeared. The smell of cow poop on my sandals, gone! I felt rejuvenated laying eyes on the grandeur of the mountain range and rock formations. I took a few steps more; I see the vast sea and the calming clouds painted by the sun in relaxing orange and I have never inhaled fresher air than that of O-peak.

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I have stepped out of my comfort zone. I treaded the perilous path to the summit. I survived grabbing the wrong twig. I overcame my sloth-ish traits.

Cliché as it may sound, but it’s kinda good to have something new once in a while. Would I go back there? Yes! Would I take the bus ride again? Yes and I’ll take pictures of my friends sleeping! Would I take the shortest path going there again? Bring it on, I will be prepared next time!

I have experienced one of the things that every Cebuano should never live without – reaching the highest peak of the province. I have come to a realization that there’s a world out there waiting to be discovered. A world of adventure that needs “adventuring”. With a fulfilled heart, I am proud to say that I have conquered Osmeña Peak!

Guest post by: Matthew Mendoza

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#cebu #camping #philippines #OsmeñaPeak #mountainclimbing #Travel

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