It’s a Thursday, so here’s what I dug from my treasure trove of unpublished blog posts. Four years later, I’ll finally finish my series of posts on our first mountain climbing experience.
So there we were, at the Timpohon Gate, finally waiting for our suffering to end. We had to wait for another 15 minutes or so for the bus to arrive and take us back to the headquarters. Believe me, you do not want to walk that route. We thought the previous night’s climb was scarier but apparently, the bus driver’s driving is scarier. He never seemed to mind the zigzag road. It’s as if he knows all the twists and turns by heart. But really, Mr. Driver, we did not survive the night just to die in your bus. He took us back safely, don’t worry, and once we unloaded from the bus, our mountain guide just walked away without even saying a word and headed to his quarters. I wanted to say thank you despite the bad experience but he never gave us a chance.
We thought our problems were over, but in reality, they weren’t. The first thing that greeted us was that we will be having a difficult travel back home since it was already late and buses that go back to the city only travel until 6pm. It was nearing 7pm when reached the headquarters. So we dismissed that idea for a while since we were starving and decided to make the most of the buffet dinner that was included in our package. Food wasn’t so great, but hey, we paid for it. It was expensive. Might as well make the most of it, right?
After dinner, we went outside and waited for a ride back home. For like 2 hours. Okay, an hour and a half, perhaps? We looked like freakin’ hitchhikers waiting to be picked up on the side of the road – in all our mountaineering gear and clothing…and wooden sticks. No one would dare mess with us. It was around 9pm when we decided it was hopeless. We were gonna take a private car back to the city and just pay that (inhale) 200RM ride. That’s around Php2,800 for us Filipinos.
The road and view at night was priceless though. It was like Baguio, except a little colder. It was an hour or so of straight driving before we reached our hotel and we had to withdraw to pay the driver (who was really nice despite having to drive all the way back to Mt. Kinabalu HQ at that late hour, with no passengers at all) since we ran out of cash already. As soon as we arrived, we praised the universe, took a shower, and paid 15RM for a 30-minute massage at the hotel lobby. I can’t even remember if we had eaten a decent meal that night.
So what have we learned from this experience?
First is that suicide never cost this expensive. Our parents were worried, yet at the same time, berated us for spending so much on this obviously suicidal mission. We were crazy, as what everyone said. Deep down I’m sure they were just happy we got home safely. We returned with as much pride we could muster. We were like kids on our graduation day.
Second is that this physical and mental challenge made our relationship stronger. Sure, we’ve gone through a lot. But man, this was our make or break situation. This would have defined the course of our relationship. Had we fought, argued, and blamed each other during the entire climb, we knew it would take a lot of time to repair our relationship – if it will ever be fixed. This was that one challenge that tested two of us. How we dealt with this is a preview, or rather a reflection, of how we will face future trials in our lives and in our relationship. No one is as thankful as I that we made it. I am the proudest girlfriend for being able to pass this with flying colors. How Love and I supported each other throughout the entire ordeal only proved how much we value, respect, love, and commit to each other. I never thought it possible but it is.
Finally, this experience seemed to be a sneak preview of all the “firsts” I am about to experience this year. What “firsts” those are you will have to watch out for.
Here are a few more photos that made the whole experience actually worth it.