Snap and Ponder: How Mountaineering Changed My Life


The ever feeling of triumph from the moment I stepped into the highest point of a mountain no matter how extreme and treacherous the journey will always make me wanna come back and keep on going.

This episode of #SnapAndPonder is special. Supposedly, I take snaps and select the best and ponder life moments. But this time, I’m having myself taken a picture then reflect. Hence, this photo is credited to James Adalim (Instagram handle: @asanasadsijames).

I grew up being this kid that always sticks on books and computer where grades and levels matter. Most of the time, I study, do my homework, play with my toys, do some household chores, watch TV shows and other typical things a normal kid does. I was being secluded from the outside world where nature shines. Yet, I knew I have a lot to carry on as early as 9 when my Mama passed away.

When I was 15, I moved to a bigger city – new environment, new people, new family and new challenges. I was catching up a lot of things in life especially things I don’t normally experience during my childhood years. Being able to mingle more with people with same interests, keeping up on tests with my classmates and catching up what life has to offer.

I entered College and I chose the degree of my passion. Luckily, I excelled with diligence and luck. With a lot of hard effort from home, studies and work, my soul and will was ravishingly burning and thinking away my burdens and keeping ‘em inside of me. That trait gave me such focus to excel in the fields I wanted to pursue which I was successful. I was a nerd, being happy and satisfied with my daily life of work and studies. The universe filled me with such blessings that I was able to finish my studies with flying colors.

A new chapter was unveiled as I entered the world of real industry. I was pressured yet very happy of what I’m currently doing. I love my job then.  You know that feeling of being able to deliver the tasks given to me and giving smiles from my colleagues which fulfilled not only my pocket by also my soul.

However, destiny is playful and a college friend invited me into an activity that I did not even think of doing and that could have changed my life. I weighed 56 kilograms and physically unfit and I indulged into my first ever trek. It was a day hike to the 2nd highest mountain in Cebu City which is entirely alien to me. I have no idea about the tips and tricks but I am sure that it would be extreme.

That expectation did not fail me because the journey was tough. Imagine trekking to Mt. Kapayas for the first time with someone that does not have many workouts done, except for a few jogs. I even brought a guest which I should attend to. The 1.5L water was not enough for me but luckily, water source was available for me to refill. I thought of quitting but I have left no choice but to continue.

As we were approaching the kiss-the-wall summit, I was skeptical because I don’t know what will happen. Luckily, our backpacks were left behind the campsite which made our climb easier. The sun was so high thus the temperature was unacceptable. My hands and legs were trembling and my shirt soaked with sweat.


*Say hello to my awkward photo during my first trek ever at Mt. Kapayas! Dated September 2015.

However, from the moment the summit has laid eyes on me. All of my complaints and the feel exhaustion was completely wiped away. The limitless view of the cascading mountains enriched my four-eyes with such pleasure. The structure of the beautiful rocks of torre and the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains was enough to leave me in awe. By then I knew, my life was about to change.

As the year passed by, I became addicted to adrenaline. Enduring the body pains and fiery heat of the sun just to attain the satisfaction I was longing for. I became as jubilant as a kid playing on its playground. My body became healthier and weighted 62! I could not stay in a place where I just sit down. I became an extrovert and I became the happiest four-eyed alive (well in my world, of course, :P).

In the mountains, I feel so free and energetic. The nature embracing my soul and my body were capturing moments that I had to catch up from my childhood. It tested my courage, endurance, will and faith as well as my patience, humor, and temper. The interpersonal side of me started to feel what it meant. I felt the warmth of friendship sharing the same agony and sharing the same triumph.


*Hello to the bigger me! 😀 Dated February 2017.

I am very thankful that I got to explore the mountains. It indeed changed my entire life and I completely have no regrets. Sooner, I wanted to see myself as someone that encourages people like the before me to the new me. There’s so much to explore on the outside, why stay on the inside? Go out and set forth in an exciting adventure of life! Happy travels!

How about you? What is that event or activity that has changed your life? Comment down below I would love to hear that. 🙂

#TravelokaPH #WhyITravel #TravelokaStories

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  • hannafrej

    Awwwee. I remember our conversation the other night. Despite everything, the Universe has blessed you with so much, Ciji. I hope you find whatever it is you are looking for in this life. To more mountains to climb! Kaya ayusin mo yang tuhod mo, kaibigan. Duklon tika ron.

    • “A lot of miles, a lot of tears that given me my best years” geez, unsee, doseee.. hahahaha! Okay pa tuhod ko bes 😛

  • Leo Esmalin

    Yay, motivational kaayo idol.

  • Angel Feolino Sombilon

    This stimulates my sleepy soul hahaha bitaw, I’m happy for you por-ayd. Hehe ❤

  • Terence Jan Serencio

    Oh my god! You really changed a lot and that first picture of yours, it’s literally awkward. Good job man

    • Thanks! I was not a blogger back then so it’s truly an awkward pose hahaha

  • Irene Dalo

    sa akong pag browse-browse ug mga ngan sa bukid sa mindanao naabot ko dri sa imung blog.. WOW makaamaze ang imung pag change physically, dako jud ug tabang ang mga ning.ani na activities.

    • Hello Irene, Thanks for your comment. Yes dako jud tabang ang mga ingun ani na activities. hehe. 🙂 Thanks!

  • I’m amazed with how much you’ve changed since 2015, while I think my body type is pretty much the same since 10 years ago until now. Sheesh.

    Nice to know that you found your favorite hobby. Daghang tao ang nasaag sa life so it’s good that you found your own path. Nothing’s set in stone so let’s enjoy what we can do while we’re young!!! Wuhooo

  • It’s adorable to see how much has changed in you physically ever since you started this pursuit almost 2 years ago. I hope you continue with your passion and I wish you nothing but the best in your endeavor. We may have contrasting avocations, but Im with you when you say that there’s more to life than just staying indoors.

  • You look so different! Hehehe. I also lost my mom when I was 11. You know what, I’m thinking of going up the mountains too one of these days so I can breathe fresh air. I’m currently having asthma attacks 🙁

  • This is so funny! Earlier today, I met a girl who asked if we were friends and she told me that she was your classmate in your high school in the city. She said that you moved their when you were in 4th year. I was even teasing the girl if she has a crush on you. hahaha.. She said you were really a bright boy. 😉 Your heart is in the mountains and you will find someone there who will call your home or own. 😉

  • Ramzy Magbitang

    You literally look like a different person in that first trek photo! Hahaha. But whether its because of having physical routines such as your treks, or what have you, sometimes we really just get drastic changes that feel ridiculous almost when it gets highlighted. Haha.

  • Good job mountains! You changed this man a lot. Getting out from comfort zones can really open our minds to different perspectives. I believe most people will experience change of views once they got unshackled and got out from their norms of everyday life hustles. I got mine by traveling to different places, mountain trekking included.
    Kudos bro! To more mountains we climb!

  • Emelie Anggoy (of Emelie Empir

    This is one of the inspiring writeups I read today. Thanks for the motivation, John!
    I couldn’t agree more on this, absolutely true!
    “There’s so much to explore on the outside, why stay on the inside? Go out and set forth in an exciting adventure of life!”
    And by the way, makapasamot diay nig kagwapo ang cgeg saka bukid sah? Hehe, all nature green views, fresh air and everything (see the pic transformation) 🙂

  • Jullian Robin Sibi

    Wow! Mountaineering really did a lot for your well-being! I hope you do more and teach others the ways of mountaineering! 🙂

  • That’s awesome Herbert!

  • Thanks Kath!

  • Char! #Lodi #Petmalu #Werpa #Erp