I’ve lost count of the mountains I have climbed, rivers crossed, distance walked and strangers that I have met along the way which later on became my new friends. It started as a simple outdoor gathering with friends two years ago and continued as a passion. Mount Batulao introduced me to the many wonders of nature, picturesque views, and appreciation of the very simple things we have in life. It’s like a rebirth with new values, values that shaped me for the past two years, with life lessons from every mountains and adventures, it molded me to what I am now.
But as a man, I have my own set of flaws, imperfections, ups and downs that at one point in life made me look elsewhere. As the saying goes, everything has an end and nothing lasts forever. Like your happiness, sadness will end too. I didn’t let those moments get the best of me, I returned to the great outdoors again, joined various groups, mountaineering clubs and reconnected with old friends. The rest are now a story, a memory waiting to be recalled at the right time, and in this case, it’s Mount Batulao, my mother mountain.
Walking the trails of Mount Batulao is like looking for your footprints, evidences of your past existence, and trying to find a connection with it. It’s still the same muddy surface, the rolling hills, and the same view. Although deep inside you know it is not the same, your senses tells you that a lot has happened. You can’t be with the same people again, but what is certain is, you can create a new one and potentially make it better.
It was once a popular hiking destination, it sure is to this date but not the same as before. A lot has changed, and by a lot, I mean everything like there’s literally little trace of the past. The river has run dry, there are stores everywhere, and some part of the mountain are now private property that you have to pay a certain fee just to get pass through. There are tollgates everywhere. It is no longer a place for someone to unwind, and to get away from the stress of life in the metro.
The tall grasses as it dances with the wind reminds me of the strong gusts two years ago, it is enough to push you off the edge if you are not careful. The campsite has seen some beautification with the placement of ornamental plants around the camp, a welcome change. The ropes on the final assault to the summit has been replaced with a new one, it is also no longer advisable to use the initial trail when descending from the summit as they have established a new one.
Mount Batulao still offers a good experience for anyone who are looking for some outdoor activity. Anyone can easily fall in love with the magnificent view and its unique character. As for me, it will always be my number one mountain. A place that I will always return to whenever I feel lost.