Dingle, Iloilo. Photo by Marco Malaca
In a world soaked with harsh realities, wet from world hunger, poverty, global warming, and civil wars that trickles down to unrealized dreams, forced unions, and broken promises, a climber is reduced to just that, a climber. He becomes someone with a personal agenda having little or having not much effect on society or a community. He is not bound to save the world from itself; he is not destined to solve world problems. He practices climbing that becomes an excruciating luxury to some and becomes just a passing fancy to most.
|Manalmon Bulacan, 2003|
A climber veers bravely away from the norm when time permits. A climber takes himself far away from urbanity, far from the idiosyncrasies of the city, and far into the wilder side of his surroundings. He takes to an escape sometimes looked upon by others as almost solitary and sad. It is an image tainted with prejudice. It is judged through standards of a society that rose from commonality, living in a coexistence that sometimes become full of multiple compromises.
Disinterested, indifferent, solitary; this is a climber to the eyes of most. Why become a climber? Why is it good to be a climber? This maybe the question one may ask that would aim to fit the branched out world of climbing within a uniform society. It would try to fit a world where a climbing trip, the next 5.14, or the next project takes precedence over politics, stock markets, religions and washing dishes.
Benguet Capitol Boulders
Catanico Boulders, CDO
Sto. Tomas Boulders, Baguio
Puting Bato, Cogeo
Slayer, Wawa, Montalban
Hugan Province, China
Let me offer a few maybes. Maybe it is good to be a climber because we climbers get to see the world in the eyes like that of a child. Everything we see is vast, the expanse of where we go is endless. Everything is new, and even the small things become of great interest. The view from atop a cliff is undeniably surreal. It takes great effort to be there, and the time we spend up there is always a short-lived moment lasting a few eternal minutes at the most. We celebrate small victories then move on onto the next quest. It’s pure and untainted. It is as honest as it can be. There is no way of cheating up a cliff. We get to where we want to be the only way we can, through hard effort and pure grit. You can’t say this and do that, you’re always real when you climb and to share this honesty amongst people who share the same passion is intoxicatingly magical.
Central Crag, Hong Kong
Training in Malaysia
World Cup Singapore
Getu Valley, China
Under the Gran Boveda, Rodellar, Spain
Asian X-Games 1998
The climbing life is simple. It is a gift and gifts are always good. There will always be a crux in any climb. It is right where a lot of “the difficult” conspires to make you give up. Everything hard for you come to one point, condenses to give you the toughest time, and blurs your vision of the imaginable. The gift is that single moment when all the right elements fall into place and allow the convergence of all the good to come play with you to finish the route. It is that single moment when the absence of one element can spell the difference. That single moment when the wind blows, when the pain in the finger tips vanish, when there is only silence, when everything that was so impossible becomes possible, … that is when you get to feel why it is good to be a climber.
Ambongdolan, Mt. Province