On the surface, it looks like the PH is an inclusive country. But one look at the comment section on Facebook and/or Twitter threads whenever a hate crime is posted in the news or the subject of gay marriage is brought up and we get jolted back to the reality that we still have a long way to go.
I have cut ties with people who post lengthy justifications for their bigotry, often invoking God to justify their hate. The quest to educate is still there but sometimes we just have to accept that there are people who are set on their ways. And while I am at an age where I don’t give a crap what people think, the younger generation who may still be grappling and coming to terms with their sexuality, is in constant need for representation in the media.
Last year, a love story between two boys rose to critical fame and international success/recognition. Their message was simple – that love has no gender. Gameboys ushered in a slew of Boys Love series and movies, and recently an ad promoting inclusivity. That it is partnered with the City of Pasig makes it even more special and official.
I would have loved to be a gay kid at a time when content like this is shown in the mainstream. And yes, we have a long way to go even today. But this makes me feel that things are less bleak and maybe there is a chance for things to get better after all.
Our decision to go back to Batanes was mostly driven by a tempting seat sale by Philippine Airlines earlier in the year. I did not realize until today, a few hours before I go back to life and adulting, that I badly needed that time to disconnect from the rest of the world.
2017 has been a year loaded with changes – mostly unplanned and unwelcome; both at home and at work. Going to a place that is seemingly frozen in time is somehow comforting after all that.
Ever since That Thing Called Tadhana, I have made it my mission to go emo while staring at the sea of clouds at Sagada’s Mount Kiltepan. Turns out, if you are not in your twenties anymore, you can’t just go to Sagada on a whim. While Kiltepan is supposed to be an easy climb, you have to do it at dawn in freezing weather which makes it challenging for first time climbers. Some preparation is needed and setting the incline on the treadmill at a higher percentage just won’t cut it.
The closest and easiest option for first time climbers is Mount Maculot in Batangas. The place is only two hours away from Alabang Town Center and smacked equally between Nuvali and Tagaytay in terms of travel time according to Waze. It is rated 3/9 in difficulty by Pinoy Mountaineers which should mean that it is fairly easy to hike.
Registration is required but your guide can take care of this for you. You may park at an area right before the start of the trail that has public bathrooms for rent. You would need to come back here and take a shower for sure unless you’d want to ride home all sweaty and muddy. It would also be prudent to bring an extra set of clothes and shoes. The toiletries, you can just buy from there.
Now, I am not exactly the fit – sporty type and my doctors (note that it is plural) have told me that I have a weak heart. Going up was pretty challenging for me but there were several set stopovers. In most of these there were stalls where you could get water and/or food… if you went on a weekend. We were there on a Monday which meant that we had to carry enough water to sustain us until we get to a campsite at the top where only one store was open on weekdays.
It wasn’t really that the trail was difficult. I just ran out of breath faster than a normal human and my heart kept pounding in protest so I had to rest at least twice between each designated stop. Luckily, our guide was very patient and Jae kept me company (surprisingly) on my unceremonious stops. They also managed to endure my Justin Bieber playlist and my ‘Cathy Garcia Molina-verbally abusive because I am tired’ moments.
Speaking of tour guides, rate is at P400 for every five people. I think we got one really cheap though because the sites I checked out before our trip quoted P500-P700.
After about two hours – you get to have this amazing view. I remember a friend who hikes regularly mentioned something about having a sense of accomplishment when you get to a mountain’s summit. I think I prefer my accomplishments better when I don’t have to sweat or get sunburnt. But one thing I won’t argue against is the view. It sure is prettier when you are on top.