Mountain and Kids

Kids draw their inspirations from adults, especially their parents. It can be the other way around too. My article entitled “After a Decade of Hiatus, I Returned to Backpacking with a new buddy, My Wife.” describes how my wife emotionally pushed me to return to my favorite recreation. Before that comeback, her FarmVille time competed with my frequent visit to the Philippines’ hiking and mountain climbing guide site PinoyMountaineer.com.

During one of those visits, I stumbled on the feature “Marley, the three-year old mountaineer by Nico Waya B. Rabanillo (the kid’s father). Nico Waya recounts “Every time he meets a fellow mountaineers along the trails he never forgets to greet them like “Good morning Ma’am/Sir”. Some fellow mountaineers are also amazed with Marley’s determination to climb the summit of each mountain. At a young age, he was already educated about the LNT principles and was very keen in following all instructions given to him by his parents.” When Juls Marley accepted my Facebook friend request, I was awed by the pictures of his climbs. The three years old kid became one of my inspirations on my return to mountaineering.

Marveled by Marley, I requested from his parents accommodation to their climb, which materialized at Mt. Sto. Tomas via Mt. Cabuyao, both in Tuba, Benguet.

There are many ways to reach the summit of Mt. Sto. Tomas; driving off-road vehicles, mountain biking, or trekking. Guides are not necessary, the locals are very helpful for directions and the trails are wide. From Baguio, we hired a jeepney for Brgy. Digdigwayan, Benguet, a short-cut to Mt. Cabuyao saving you an hour trek on paved/rough roads, but the jump-off is assault. Marley, even on his first use of a backpack, hurdled it with ease, stopping intermittently on the trail when he found something interesting from nature like colorful stones, dried leaves and seed beads.

Marley with the mountaineer couple, paps & mam, Waya & Roly Rabanillo.

The base camp of Mt. Cabuyao (serving the same purpose for Mt. Sto. Tomas) can accommodate many tents but be there before night or you’ll be pitching under poor visibility and cold wind.

Awesome morning view from the base camp. (click the picture to enlarge)

Cell sites atop  Mt. Sto. Tomas might prickle some mountaineers but the views from the trek to the summit are great. (click the picture to enlarge)

The popular joke that there are two gigantic electric fans on Mt. Cabuyao that keep Baguio cool are actually twin radars. (click the picture to enlarge)

The summit has man-made structures, but hey- focus on the horizon.

Some take Mt. Sto. Tomas/Mt. Cabuyao as sidetrip from a major climb in the Cordilleras or from a tour of Baguio. But if you are planning to have your vacation in Baguio especially with your family, why not spend it on these very accessible mountains. Strawberries and brocolis are freshest here!

I wish I can do this from Manila! Where’s my genie?

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