The choices we make lead up to actual experiences. It is one thing to decide to climb a mountain. It is quite another to be on top of it.
Herbert A. Simon
Reaching the top of any mountain is a goal reached for me. As for other people, they climb for various reasons — to gain experience, to take their mind away from stress, to challenge themselves, to heal from a broken heart, to be near to God, or to prove that they can make it. For me, my sole reason I’m climbing mountains is to see the stars at night when we do overnight camping, and be in awe of God’s majestic creations. When I reached Treasure Mountain, I was surely not disappointed.
A quick backtrack: Year 2013, my officemates who are part of the Buhawi Mountaineering Club invited me to hike Mt. Pico de Loro in Cavite. I was excited, yet a bit nervous. Back then, I was going in and out the hospital for checkups. I remember I was not able to walk for longer distance without having difficulty in breathing. So, I accepted the invitation to challenge myself and prove one thing: that I can reach the summit with my lungs still intact. I did reach the summit of Mt. Pico de Loro and marveled at the beauty of God’s creation. Since then, I promised myself to join mountain climbing trips at least once a year.
Going back to Treasure Mountain, I cannot consider it a major or minor climb since we have easy access to the summit. My Buhawi friends and I made a commute — van from Cubao to Cogeo (35php), then jeep from Cogeo to Kurambai (46php) in Tanay, Rizal. Once we are in Kurambai, we rode a motorcycle at the trail going to Treasure Mountain (50php) and was dropped off at the entrance of the place. It is actually a private area but the owner took advantage of the place and made it a tourist destination. We paid overnight camping fee (200php/head) and then pitching fee (300php/tent). We don’t have a car, but those who do also have a parking fee (50php). The place is easily accessible by car and reaching the summit will only take you about 15 minutes from the entrance, so I cannot fully say it’s even a minor climb. Hmm, I can safely say you have a 15-minute hike at that.
Once we’re on the summit, we pitched our tents and fortunately, my other Buhawi friends already pitched theirs and were already fixing dinner. I did help a bit, but once it’s dark and the food’s ready, we started our night socials.
It has been a tradition for Buhawi members to introduce ourselves for the getting to know portion. I did introduce myself and was a bit astounded upon realizing that this is already my 5th climb. I already made friends that I only see once a year (only every anniversary climb) and that my introvert self has now become comfortable in their company. (I think it took me three years before I actually memorized their names!).
After the socials, I had time to gaze up at the heavens and talk to God. I thanked Him for a wonderful creation, with the stars so many and I feel like it’s so easy to grab one. The wind’s getting cold, and I was enjoying my alone time. I remembered those times when I cried and I just didn’t feel God hearing my prayers, but at that very moment, I was just in awe at the beauty of the heavens. The moon was so bright, the stars so many and so beautiful I couldn’t take my eyes off the picturesque view of the universe. I remembered the scenes I’ve read from the book “Every Soul a Star” by Wendy Mass and wondered where could be the North Star, and if the brightest stars were actually talking to me. I just felt peace. I’m hoping for things in my life and at that very moment, I just felt so close to God and felt everything would be alright. I wonder if this was also what Jesus felt whenever He went to the mountain to pray during his time here on Earth 🤔🤔🤔.
As the night went deeper into the darkness, I again joined the group for more socials. It was very cold this time, good thing I brought my sweatshirt with me. We shared stories and by around 3am, we called it a night.
Early in the morning, I heard voices outside our tent. I didn’t want to get up yet, but I remembered I wanted to witness the sea of clouds. Treasure Mountain is famous for its sea of clouds so I immediately fixed my things and grabbed my phone. As I went out, I saw the beautiful mountain ranges, without the sea of clouds 😔😔😔. Nevertheless, the view was breathtaking so I took some photos. In case you’ll visit Treasure mountain, don’t forget to bring jacket as it’s cold especially at night. 😍
So there. Basically, after the breakfast, we fixed our tents and started our way home. We didn’t have a major nor climb for Buhawi’s 15th anniversary celebration. However, the fact that we met together and shared stories about the mountains for an overnight camping is already a relaxing time for quite a busy and stressful week at that.
If you haven’t climbed a mountain, maybe this is the time to challenge yourself and experience the beauty of nature. 🙂