For the longest time, Baguio has been a huge part of my growing years. Our family has been going up and down Kennon Road ever since I was in grade 4 or grade 3, or exactly when, I already lost track. It's been a home away from home, a place I’ve come to cherish where many good memories lie - staying in room 34B in ESLA compound at Green Valley, rolling on the carpeted dim hallways of Building B, playing Galaxians in the nearby video arcade, showing off Mastermind skills with the neighbors before dinner . . . and walking in the long fog-covered uphill driveway to the clubhouse, not fearing the black of night or whatever goes bump in the dark. It always felt safe, even through those solitary walks at midnight. Baguio is a place that sheltered me, and continues to do so up until now. It's a place I seek when I need it and it welcomes me every time I come running up its slopes.
I go up fairly often, again and again, to refresh and recharge myself with the pine-scented air of the northern city. I always need it and I’m glad Baguio always feels like the haven I had known too well. Over the course of many years, “my” Baguio continues to expand. Now, when I say Baguio, it includes Lamtang, Ambongdolan, La Trinidad and several other places where boulders upon boulders rest on top of each other. I grew and so did “my” Baguio.
Bouldering at Lamtang, Naguilian
As a small kid, I had sprees of climbing on the terraced slopes near our vacation house. After years and years of scrambling on the riprapped slopes to the clubhouse, climbing to Room 34B's 2nd floor defective veranda, and honing hanging skills on the playground monkey bars, these memories are now slowly shadowed by “Vision”, “La Bajo Bajo”, “Psychic”, “Dragon New Year” and other memorable ascents on some of the finest boulder problems I’ve ever climbed on. My climbing began to root itself in Baguio. The circle of friends I went out with grew. The “Baguio Boys” club was formed and though I was not exactly a local, I felt the spirit and I’m glad I was able to share my childish climbing passion with like-minded people.
Bouldering at Benguet Capitol
Last March 1-3, “Pump Freaktion”, a bouldering rock trip, led me again to “my” Baguio. Rock trips are a great way of sharing love for climbing in the outdoors. Being out there with a small group of people feels calming. Being out there with tons of people, bouldering day in and day out feels very reassuring. It drives deep within our psyche that we are, after all, not totally different from others.
Bouldering at Ambongdolan, Benguet
Bouldering is a more social kind of climbing. An attempt takes seconds and a minute on the rock feels too long a time that allows for less and less efficiency. Recovery takes longer and allows more interaction with fellow climbers. This is what I need. My spirit rests easy in Baguio, in bouldering, and in a community that is driven by passion. I’m urging more climbers to come and share in it next time. Baguio is a short ride from Manila. There is a home there for everyone.