I AM BUT A MOUNTAIN BOY

I am but a mountain boy. That is a fact. I was born, grew up and finished my studies, and even worked for nearly a decade in the mountainous part of the northern Philippines. And yes, not a mountain man but a MOUNTAIN BOY. Now, this boy in me wishes again to bivouac under the bright stars, to feel the cool breeze, and to tread the grass-strewn and shaded paths [or no paths] of the boondocks.
Cry as you might but not of fear nor sorrow. Cry as much with a light heart
The rocks, trees, grasses and soil of the mountains have always been a mute witness to my life’s transitions, aches and gladness. To the mountain I go when I am stressed from the hustle and bustle of the city life. To the mountain I can ultimately cry all the anguishes in my life. When I want to shout for joy to the mountains I go.
A mountain of rock! I takes years before it succumbs to its natural degradation, then the trees will invade [if humans will not do it first].

 
This is a typical cloud kissing the mountain. You’ll be in a great treat if you’ll see a sea of clouds. Such is common among the Philippine mountains at the northern part.
These behemoths are unconquerable when you hike through it. Most social media posts after a mountain hike would be like “I conquered Mt. Pulag” or “I beat the tough Mt. Guiting-Guiting”. A real mountaineer would know better than these social media-hyped and [almost] cheesy quotes. It is not the mountain that we conquer—we could never do that. It is ourselves that we conquer when we climb mountains. It is us that the mountain conquers! We bow down to the earth as the ache in our legs are felt. We gasp for air as our body needs more oxygen from exertion. We take refuge on its rock crevices and flat plains in our need for physical rest. We cry from the color of the sunset, the squeaks and chirps of the forest insects, the gentle curves of the mountains, and even the sheets of rain and network of lightning bolts. We conquer ourselves as we go beyond what we thought is our limit. Yes, the mountain is conquering us as we abide by its physical rule.
At the mountains, you will also see different fruit that would make you wonder if it is edible or not. This one in particular is a peculiar fruit. Crush it, lit a fire on it and it will burn.
One of the most beautiful peaks in Philippine mountains, Mt. Pulag. You could spend hours lazing on the grass as you behold nature at its best.
This exertion, both physical and psychological, keeps our health in tune. Evidences on the good effects of mountain hiking have always been there. Cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, lipid profile, well, almost on all aspects of our life. There are a lot of success stories in the internet about getting fit, thanks to the hills and even to 9/9 hiking destinations. I have seen a lot of slow-paced hikers who moans from body pains, complains of never going back again in the mountains, and outbursts of expletives during the trek. Then [lo and behold!], at the peak of the mountain and/or after the trek, they would ask for the next hiking destination. It is addicting.
Yes, it gets cold, and very very cold. Be prepared.
According to the BBC, in places where no lichens are growing, it is often a sign that the air is heavily polluted with sulfur dioxide. The presence of a bushy or a leafy lichen indicates that the place has a clean air. Next time you go a-climbing a mountain, check them lichens!
I grow as I get to know more of the mountains. I kept maturing as I see the law of nature. I widen my horizon as I get to hear stories around bonfires and along footpaths from people of different colors, race, creed, religion, and language. I learn more as I go to the mountain. Yes, I still weep and get that open-mouthed awe when I see wonders of this world and how minute we are in this world when I get to a mountain peak. Well, I am but [and just] a mountain boy.

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