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The Other Trail of Mt. Terranos
Friday, March 09, 2012
Rushel M. Agagas

Mountain-trekking has become a tradition for Planters Products, Inc. - a climb of Mt. Terranos in Dinalupihan is anticipated by employees every year, giving them a day or two of communing with nature.

On the 9th of March, 2012, beginners and experts, the young ones and the young once, took a trip to Bataan, passing through towns and villages, and arriving at the jump off point at about five in the morning. After a prayer, the group started to walk, and the ascent was divided into three (3) Teams. With guides, the Teams started crossing small streams of water, hopping and leaping over large pile of rocks and dusting beads of sweat under their brows, and under the scorching heat of the sun.

Making it through the trail wasn’t easy, especially when carrying huge backpacks. After hours of trekking, and as gaps widened across Teams, half of the group without a guide in sight, kept pushing and guessing what they perceive to be the right way. Trusting instincts, climbing steeps and tough hills of bushes and trees (to keep moving forward) proved to be a nasty choice. Going back was an option that is NOT being considered.

With sheer (and dogged) determination, the Team pushed forward and attempted any possible ways to reach the top. Passing dry and eerie creeks, swinging through tall bamboos, crawling on crumbling sands, passing by the side cliffs and deep ravines, and creating trails among the thorny grasses (and on grinding stomachs) were no excuse. The Team must not stop. There must be a way somewhere, the right way is simply to go nowhere but up.

Getting rested and feeling the prolonged absence of another Team, the first two Teams atop Mt Terranos, sent guides to locate the missing Team (well, they did for a good couple of hours!). When found, and learning that they needed to walk for two more hours before reaching te camp, frustration filled their faces. But the knowledge of being back on the right track overshadowed the frustration.

When the third Team reached camp, everybody was jubilant – but no one uttered a word.

Activities as tree planting, slacking, rappelling and group games were done smoothly. Socials were done at night to tighten the bond of young and not so young people. And as the quiet of the night unfolds, loud snores filled the air, tired bodies littered the cold mats and tents as if to prepare for an early morning trek, as we have to go down and drive back to the city.

Getting lost comes in many forms - experiences, realizations and learnings. We make mistakes, we learn, we move on. Sometimes in our life, we take the wrong route and we make a wrong decision. But trusting our guts (our internal compass) we can make a turn and take another route. Often, one that is more daunting and scenic. And that’s the beauty of it, the ability to recognize we made a wrong turn. For it takes courage to take another route and make the right decision, to take a step back, in order to make two steps forward – to make steps in the right direction.

Rather than getting frustrated, we bask in knowing we took a different path, learned a new trail and saw the other side of Mt. Terranos. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – and we did!