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Friday, July 25, 2014

MY TEN LEARNING EXPERIENCES FROM SOLO TREKKING

Nearing the peak of Mt. Kanlaon

I usually travel solo. Admittedly, some trips I had were really frustrating. But I had to accept that not every venture ends in climax. Based on my experience, solo trip has both ups and downs.



Click here to read THE PROS AND CONS OF SOLO TREKKING. 

At one of the stops going to Batad Village
For me, having traveled is already rewarding and fulfilling. Whether I got what I wanted or not, what's more important are the learnings I got.

1. I WAS FORCED TO TALK
 A silent, shy and loner person who doesn't know what to do will really be forced to talk. He needs to ask somebody for guidance. It's all about survival. Shyness can kill so they say. In places I am not familiar with, I usually go to tourism offices and inquire for guidance like in Basilan, Antique, Compostela Valley and Iloilo.
Despite being haggard and no bath for two days, I forced myself to meet the people who can extend me help.

2. I MET MORE FRIENDS
When you are alone, your friendly instinct goes into action. When I tripped solo to Benguet, Ifugao, Puerto Princesa and Coron, most of the tour services are packaged. So I thickened my face to befriend some locals and foreigners to share the expenses with. Friendship budded among the total strangers. And we still have contacts until now.

The different nationals I agreed to share expenses with during my Batad trek

The new friends I met whom I shared expenses with during island hopping in Coron

A French national whom I shared expenses with during my trek to see the Kabayan Mummies.

3. I BECAME BRAVER
Why I became braver? Because some mountains don't require guides so I had no choice but to climb alone like I did in Ampacao, Arayat, Maculot and Makiling. I also took an unguided hike to minor peaks in strange places like Mt. Aguado, Mt. Manalinga, Balaan Bukid and water falls like Kulaman, Malatan-og etc. I also stayed alone in a lodge in Concepcion and an uninhabited hut in Don Salvador. I even insisted to visit Patikul in Sulu that impelled the police to tap armed escorts for me.

The enchanted trail to Mt. Makiling

At the opposite side of Mt. Maculot Rockies

The falls I hiked in Don Salvador Benedicto

The uninhabited house in Don Salvador where I stayed the night alone.

The police car that took me to Quezon Beach, Patikul

4. I BECAME A GOOD DECISION MAKER
I really cherish spontaneity. During my uncoordinated travel to Palawan for the Underground River Tour, the tickets already ran out. So I opted to join a tour to Honda Bay. And to suffice my quest for cave, I traveled to Quezon and intruded the already closed gate of Tabon Cave in a late afternoon.

Some of the tourists enjoying in Honda Bay

Though Tabon Cave can, in no way, replace the Underground River, at least I visited one in Palawan.

5. I EXPERIENCED BEING HELPLESS
There are times I really felt helpless and needed somebody to pamper me. After my guided solo climb to Mt. Kanlaon, the food poison navigated throughout my system. I suffered fever and diarrhea which stimulated my shamelessness to ask my guide to attend to my needs during the night of shivering cold and head spinning ache.

After descending from Mt. Kanlaon, my stomach ached due to food poisoning, I vomitted 3 times and got a very high fever and was soaked in rain along the way to the village. 


6. I MISSED SOME OF MY TARGETED SITES
I missed the Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour due to lack of coordination. Another frustration I had was missing the Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary in Busuanga. I also happened to visit Magpupungko Rock Formation on a wrong time.

Missing Calauit Safari Tour led me to climbing Mt. Tapias a lot of times.
Had I known earlier, I would have visited Magpupungko Beach on a low tide when the rock formations are clearly visible and accessible. 

7. I GOT NO GOOD SHOTS
Many times I got no good shots of myself because no one would take me pics. Even with tripod or monopod, I'm not really good in taking selfie.
This shot would have been better if somebody took it for me


8. I INCURRED HEAVY EXPENSES AND RAN OUT OF CASH (on hand)
Doing anything unplanned is not really good. Relying on luck alone will leave your mouth wide open. Aside from missing my target sites, I also broke my pocket from unexpected expenses. 
In places where there are no budget lodge, I alone had to shoulder the burden of expensive rates. And I had to take a chartered vehicle alone to get to my desired site.
It's also important to have cash on hand. Don't rely too much on your ATM card(s). I was almost left behind by the last trip van from Bontoc to Banaue while joining the very long queue at the ATM. Worse, the absence of ATM's like in Kabayan, Benguet caused me to panic. Worst, I had to miss some important spots because I ran out of cash on hand.   

Sans ATM, I almost couldn't go home from Kabayan because of the very limited cash on hand. 


9. I GOT LOST
I can be described as a solo trekker with a very, very poor navigational skills. Yes, I got lost many times. Deceiving crossroads do their jobs well on me. I was enchanted by the mysterious trails in Mt. Makiling. I was also misled by the very first crosstrail in Mt. Maculot. I even spent about an hour going back and forth the trail 1km away from the village when I descended from my own playground Mt. Kalatungan. It also took me 2 hours traveling from Ayala Center Cebu to Mactan Airport mounting and unmounting countless rides. 
The first crosstrail to Mt. Maculot got me lost my way.
  

10. I SURVIVED!
Traveling solo, though missing some sites and experiencing some mischances, but coming home safe and whole is still very fulfilling! And it always uplifts my spirit knowing I SURVIVED!... 

Probably one of my best selfie shots!

2 comments:

  1. If i were younger i could have been your female version except that i guess i have a better navigational skill and i am not naturally shy��

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    Replies
    1. hehe. i can be like you too, pinaytunay. i will improve my navigational skill, overcome my shyness and add more years to my age. hehe!

      thanks for passing by. keep journeying.

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