Three days. Two nights. Six life lessons. 3 – 2 – 6. Most trips last for three days and two nights. But the lessons we pick up from each leg of travelling are ingrained for a lifetime.
1. Mind the gap.
Whether traveling alone or with a buddy, there will be considerations and sensitivities. You will consider each other’s preferences in the choice of trips and activities. You will be sensitive to leaving minimum impact and attaining maximum learning on the places visited.
Travel to build bridges between cultures, between interests and between personalities. Mind those simple and daunting differences. And that gap between the platform and the train.
2. Fall in love.
Travel ignites passion; like falling in love. Fall in love – with the place or with the experience. Relish the memories and feel the moment when you hold on to someone while exploring. Like falling in love, do not hold back. Do not be afraid to get hurt. That activity or national treasure other travelers rave about may not be what you expect; be prepared to be disheartened.
Travel to treasure the enjoyment and remember the disappointment.
3. Get lost.
Lose yourself. Break the rhythm. Enjoy the cloak of the unfamiliar and being unknown in a foreign land. Go around the side streets and keep on walking. Losing yourself may be the ticket to enjoying how to wander and explore. Going nowhere will actually lead you to where you are supposed to be. Those unannounced changes in itineraries make magnificent teachers.
Remember: happy accidents make the best trips. Travel to create lots. And begin again.
continue wandering here…
Hitting three mountains in one trip, the Mangisi Traverse goes through Mt. Pack or Mt. Banshila (2,290 MASL), Mt. Purgatory (2,080 MASL) and Mt. Kom-kompol (2,325 MASL). About three hours from Baguio City, the jumpoff point is located at Japas, Bobok-Bisal in Bokod, Benguet. The trek commences with a straightforward ascent on unpaved roads leading to the Mangakew community. All visitors register here and attend an orientation conducted by a local. As mapped by the Association of Bokod Adventure Eco-Guides (ABADEG) and the Bokod Municipal Tourism Office, the entire Mangisi trail covers more than 21 kilometers from the jumpoff point in Japas to the endpoint in Ekip.
The trek continues on open and pine tree-forested trails. After passing the Bangtinen campsite, at the junction of Prospect, climbers enter a mossy forest that goes all the way to Bakian and even past Mt. Kom-kompol. The cool forest and dense greenery counter the continuous ascending trail to Mt. Pack and Mt. Purgatory. The summit of Pack is approximately three hours from Mangakew. It is flat and affords a view of the towns of Benguet on one side and Nueva Viscaya on the other. A marker conveniently distinguishes the two provinces’ boundaries from one another. Entering the mossy forest once again, the viewpoint of Mt. Purgatory is reached after 1.5 hours from Mt. Pack. Wooden railings line the area and a makeshift shelter provides respite to climbers.
The last stretch of the day’s trek is on the Bakian trail where the beloved limatiks make their presence felt. If camping or staying at the Bakian Primary School, it is another 1.5 hours from the Purgatory viewpoint. Toilets and running water are available in this area. It is highly advised that if a group stays here for the night, a donation be extended to the school (for the use of the facilities). Otherwise, the vast campsite at Mt. Tangbaw is the next option and is only half an hour away.
The second day of trekking commences with a quick ascent to the grassland summit of Tangbaw. Towns of Benguet are also visible at this point. Afterwards, another section of thick vegetation is negotiated to get to Mt. Kom-kompol. It affords a view of the golden peaks of Mt. Pulag on one side. Finally completing the Mangisi trail, the descent brings climbers out of the mossy forest and into a breathtaking pine tree-forested and narrow rocky trail that is characteristic of a typical Benguet hike. The seemingly long descent ends at Ekip proper where climbers can freshen up at one of the local’s houses.
continue wandering here…
Throw caution to the wind and live life to the fullest. Embrace what makes you passionate and alive. Appreciate routine’s simplicity and silence; that way, you will be left breathless by unique experiences and grand adventures. Remember that old adage on life beginning at the end of your comfort zone? There is (or at least some) truth in that.
Go on long walks. Take silly pictures. Just take lots of pictures. Sing pop songs. Microwave leftovers. Play ball and blow bubbles. Wake up earlier than usual to see the sunrise. Stay out long enough to see the sun set.
It has been said time and again – travel enriches you. Travel, even though you spend for it, makes you richer. Go somewhere new each year; more often if you can afford to. Organize your own trip or join a tour group; whatever floats your boat. No one will judge you for being a backpacker or a poshpacker.
Regrets? No, don’t take back that night. Go out for drinks – or a cup of hot cocoa. Jump. Make friends. Hold hands and hug. Fall in love – with a person, with the place or with the experience.
All the small lights? They make up that bright picture in the horizon. Life is complex enough back home; learn to let go for a while. Be so happy that people around you get infected with your joy.
Carpe diem. There will be remarkable days. There will be low moments. There will be days of sunburn and days when you will miss the sun. There will be days on the road and lots of running around. Or only lazy days at home in the comforts of your couch and bed. There will be glitter in the air and nights that you wish know no end.
“Have you ever wished for an endless night? Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself Will it ever get better than tonight?”
Glitter in the Air by Alecia Moore and Billy Mann