the boy with the broken stomach
"It was a hell of an adventure to paradise!"

Hiking wasn't my thing, but going to an adventure is my last name. My trek to Mt. Pico de Loro is actually a last minute decision to whether stay on my apartment the entire boring weekend or pack to hit the road and go to an escapade of uncertainty, excitement, adrenaline-rush and everything in between. I made a choice, a good one and here's my story.

Rumors and fears filled me after reading online reviews and hearing friends gossip, that the route from Santo Tomas, Batangas to Mt. Pico De Leo was literally #CirclingCavite. I had to travel alone to a land very unfamiliar to me, ask strangers and be a big boy so I can find my way, though the only thing I have is an offline copy of Google maps and a few bucks. I know I had to, because deep in my gut I know there's a hell of an adventure to paradise that awaits me.

Luckily after a couple of hours I was able to reach our meeting place, though an hour late it's better than never. We had to leave immediately to get things done as early as possible. The path to the actual hike was a magnetic hill but there was no magically unicorn or anything like, only an eardrum-breaking tricycle could take you there and you need an earplug to protect you from acoustic trauma.

We started the hike 10 o'clock and the trek was amazing, you're like inside Narnia plus the mosquito bites and slippery-rocky track. You'll never be lost because there's a lot of friendly hikers boosting you and deceiving you're almost there. I'm a bit amazed with their warm attitude and camaraderie which feels natural among them. I think it's a hiker's thing. They were even surprised of our threesome hike, then it dawned on me that it was suicide.

Our first stop after two hours was a waterfalls and it was crazy! I fell in love with it that I even thought of not continuing the hike and just stay there...forever. It was the perfect cold water, rushing from the top hitting my sore muscle and the inviting-jiggly splash whispering to my ears but I had to stop day dreaming. The rain poured and we're not prepared but luckily a group of hikers extended great esprit de corps offering us shade.

The clock starts ticking and we had to continue hiking. We need to get to the summit quick before it gets dark. Just when I thought it's gonna be a walk in the park, I was wrong. The path gets steeper, rocks get bigger and air gets thinner like it was the hardest level of Temple Run. No one's chasing you but you're catching your breathe. Occasionally other hikers cross telling you're almost there, telling you lies straight from your face but these you should not shatter me, it's just a matter of time.

Time was just the only thing I need, small rest and water break. I think I have passed all the enormous boulders, I don't think Mother Nature could be so much hard to get. I few steps more, I saw the light, the mist and the summit. It was a mixture of disbelief and relief with my heart rumbling and pounding.I made it!  The view faded all my exhaustion and fatigue because this was paradise. A few minutes and the ecstasy subsided and my consciousness lit up and my logical brain asked me: "Summit's at the top. I came from the bottom. How the hell will I go down?"

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