The hard lesson my recent hike taught me about traveling

by - Sunday, April 28, 2019

Say the word travel and you’ll immediately see me smiling from ear to ear. I consider myself blessed because each journey I took in the past years had etched a beautiful mark in my soul. Because it's been the longest time since I last traversed a mountain, I looked forward to adrenaline rush on our morning climb to Mt. Nagpatong in Tanay, Rizal. Little did I know that this hike will never make me react to the word ‘travel’ the same way ever again.

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At the peak of Mt. Nagpatong in Tanay, Rizal
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with Trail Adventours, took us to the area of Mt. Masungki to conquer one of its two towering limestone cliffs. Atom Araullo, UNHCR Philippines’ Ambassador and Journalist, made this hike-for-a-cause even more special because of his presence.

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Hiking with Atom Araullo at Mt. Nagpatong
Even if I've been doing cardio once a week, the beginner level hike of Mt. Nagpatong still left me breathless a few times (literally and figuratively). While the trail is mostly flat, the few inclines somehow took a toll on me. My legs are still up for the challenge but there were times my lung were about to give up. Every time this happened, I stopped and sipped water while appreciating the dawn, morning air, and the scenic forest view.

Patty Villegas - The Lifestyle Wanderer - Mt. Nagpatong - Tanay - Rizal - UNCHR - Atom Araullo -3.5
Trail leading to the famed rock formation
Just when I thought the inclines were enough of a dare for the day, I was confronted by the 15-meter rock ascend to the rock summit. It looks steep but not as high as it looked in the pictures I saw online. It took me out of my comfort zone because this part required scrambling and climbing a makeshift ladder. I found myself breathing heavily for every successful step I took. HAHA 

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Some samples of the scrambling and climbing at Mt. Nagpatong
The Nagpatong rock formation is impressively layered with huge blocks of rock placed on top of each other, hence earning its name derived from the Tagalog word “patong”.

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Our local tour guide went to the other limestone rock formation so they can take our photo of us from afar. Talk about dedication for the gram!
More sharp rocks welcomed us as we reach the top of the rock formation, making me wish that I was wearing gloves for a better grip. Nonetheless, the view from the summit is one for the books! We can even point the location of Masungi Georeserve from where we stand. 

The rocky steps leading to the peak of the Mt. Nagpatong
Photos or it didn't happen, right? 😅
If you think that the challenging rock trail made me think twice about traveling, it's not. The fact that this hike draws parallelism to the difficulty faced by refugees’ difficult task to make it to a safe place by walking does. Imagine this, we have the privilege of traveling for leisure while they are forced to flee because of war or persecution.

Atom Araullo sharing us more about the 2B Kilometers to Safety
Atom explained to us how refugees around the world walk an estimated 2 billion kilometers every year to reach the first point of safety. He added the importance of acknowledging their resilience and strength in this time of struggle. Because of this, UNHCR initiated the 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety campaign to cover two billion kilometers in 12 months to show our solidarity, build a better understanding of refugees, and raise money to protect and help rebuild their lives.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE


Simply use your fitness apps to add your kilometers to the global total or you can add them on www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph for FREE. Every step you take from running, walking or cycling counts! Imagine reaching your daily fitness goal and honor their resilience at the same time!

Fret not if you don’t have a fitness app available because you can opt to add your distances manually on www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph. Just set yourself a target and add kilometers straight onto the website!

You can also join the next Trail Adventours hike every third Sunday of the month. Proceeds from these themed hikes will go in support of the campaign. More details when you visit www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph/trail-adventours.

Lastly, you can support by encouraging others to join the cause and helping raise funds. Fundraising campaigns can be organized in different kinds of communities to help refugees.

Patty Villegas - The Lifestyle Wanderer - Mt. Nagpatong - Tanay - Rizal - UNCHR - Atom Araullo -2
With Marco Esplana of The Pinoy Traveler
Many thanks to Marco Esplana of The Pinoy Traveler for some of the beautiful photos taken through his Realme phone! Show him some love by visiting his blog here. 🙌

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