After a Decade of Hiatus, I Returned to Backpacking with a new buddy, My Wife.

“World War III??”

“Two (2) planes crashed into the Twin Towers”

Returning to the base camp after summiting Mt. Batulao in Batangas, my Nokia 3210 cellular phone was filled of SMS informing said tragic news. “What an anti-climax to a great climb!” Instead of cherishing the beautiful views from the mountain, my friends and I headed home worried, further trembled by new information that another plane crashed into Pentagon, then that ill-fated but heroic United Airlines Flight 93. The rest is history.

Busy at work, Mt. Batulao became my last climb. Then I met Rowena early 2004, married her December 8 that year. She was a widow before, with a five years old son, now ours, Aaron, who served as our ring bearer. We were blessed by two more boys, Jonmer and Adrian. My wife always knew my favorite recreation, but work schedule wont let. Unfortunately, all my backpacking equipment perished when tropical storm “Ondoy” flooded wide areas of metropolitan Manila on 2009.

Christmas of the same year, my wife gave me a blue North Face belt-bag. Although not intended for climbing, she smiled when she saw me found out the brand is connected to mountaineering. I gave her a smile too. Valentines the following year, Rowena brought home a 20L rucksack. “Hey! that’s good for day hike!” But the nature of my work wont permit me to even file a leave. Came the good year of 2011. My new assignment now allows me to manage my work schedule. So I bought a 60L backpack, borrowed some lacking equipment from friends (who are all absent from the mountain since 2002) and trained Rowena through daily jogging. On June 2, twenty days before my birthday, I returned to backpacking with a new buddy, my wife.

Click the image below for a larger view.

Mt. Batulao taken that fateful day of 9/11 (two pictures stitched together).

Click the image below for itinerary of Mt. Batulao from “Pinoy Mountaineer” by sir Gideon Lasco.

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10 comments on “After a Decade of Hiatus, I Returned to Backpacking with a new buddy, My Wife.

  1. nice story! how i wish to do the same with my other half.. but the size won’t permit (*o*).. anyway, since we and our little naomi love water, better forget the hill and hit the pool..

  2. It’s never too late to do something as they say. That is so true to you, Jon. I envy you for one thing now: your new climbing buddy. If only my wife didn’t suffer from that malady more than a year ago then I would be confident to take her to the mountains again. She used to love mountain climbing back in college. I on the other hand didn’t have the chance to do the same since I can hardly provide for the basic stuff school. Until I got a job and the rest is history.

    Anyway, I am now training my soon to be 3-year old son (this October 13) to become my climbing buddy. I just brought him to his first summit two weeks ago at Ligñon Hill in Legazpi, Albay. Yeah, it’s just a hill but the energy he spent to reach the top of the hill is equivalent to what we, adults, spend for an average mountain summit. I was planning to give him his first major climb by the age seven at Batulao actually.

    Thing is, the mountain you featured on this blog post is equally historic and historical for me. This is the first mountain I summited last November 28, 2009 via the First Annual Climb for the Amputee. It’s apt for his Major Climb I supposed. First love never dies. 🙂

    The 9/11 tragedy is almost here and I was impressed at how you connected the dots to give a decent intro there. I must agree with your first commenter. This post is nice!

    • Yes Sony, my friends joked at that time that we can live on the mountain if World War III exploded. But I was living in Pasig City then and was very worried for my mother & sister.

      I am proud of your experience @ the Climb for the Amputee; and the Tirad Pass “Pinoy Mountaineer Charity Climb” to add to that.

      Maybe we can join you @ Mt.Batulao with my kids, my 11 years old son already climbed Mt.Tagapo but I have still two sons (turning 3 & 6 years old this December) to introduce on the outdoors.

      We reside now in Imus hours away from Nasugbu, looking forward to our son’s climb.

  3. It’s never too late to do something as they say. That is so true to you, Jon. I envy you for one thing now: your new climbing buddy. If only my wife didn’t suffer from that malady more than a year ago then I would be confident to take her to the mountains again. She used to love mountain climbing back in college. I on the other hand didn’t have the chance to do the same since I can hardly provide for the basic stuff in school. I bet you got what I meant there. Until I got a job and the rest is history.

    Anyway, I am now training my soon to be 3-year old son (this October 13) to become my climbing buddy. I just brought him to his first summit two weeks ago at Ligñon Hill in Legazpi, Albay. Yeah, it’s just a hill but the energy he spent to reach the top of the hill is equivalent to what we, adults, spend for an average mountain summit. I was planning to give him his first major climb by the age seven at Batulao actually.

    Thing is, the mountain you featured on this blog post is equally historic and historical for me. This is the first mountain I summited last November 28, 2009 via the First Annual Climb for the Amputee. It’s apt for his Major Climb I supposed. First love never dies. 🙂

    The 9/11 tragedy is almost here and I was impressed at how you connected the dots to give a decent intro there. I must agree with your first commenter. This post is nice!

  4. Pingback: Mountain and Kids « Cheap Camera, Priceless Memories.

  5. hello joni and rowena. knowing your story now makes me say, glad to have met you during the 3rd annual charity climb of pinoy mountaineer. i guess each of us who climbed mt. pulag last weekend has our own story to tell.
    at the age of 47, i never thought God would fulfill my long time dream to go back to the mountains, much less climb the rooftop of luzon.
    as i write this, i feel like still dreaming that i was able to reach the summit of mt. pulag.
    hope to see you both again in our future climbs, God willing 🙂

    • Hi mam Judy, thanks for visiting my simple (trying-hard) blog. We’re so lucky to have climbed Mt. Pulag with sir Gideon. Just like you I am still in cloud 9. Well, hope to see you soon mam, the chill at the base camp limit our time to chat.

  6. Pingback: Dream fulfilled in PinoyMountaineer Charity Climb at Mt. Pulag | Cheap Camera, Priceless Memories.

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