The Philippine Mountaineering

Unpack First

Last April 10, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA officially announced the start of the summer of 2018. This announcement give the mountaineering community the ticket to set more climbs. The Philippines being a tropical country is expected to experience temperatures from 33 to 40 degree centigrade. The announcement of PAGASA should be taken seriously by the mountaineering community because of the unpredictability of the nature today due to global warming.

Many groups and individuals, freelance and barkadas have now set their schedule on what mountains to climb. Some are now set to fulfill the Ten Highest Mountains in the Country and some are now gearing up their essentials before setting their feet to the Ten Must Mountains in the Country. For now, allow Philmon to give you advice that might unpack your backpacks.

This post aims to encourage everyone to value their experience and take it as they go to their major climb destinations. As means of promoting enjoyable and safe mountaineering experience, we want everyone to consider this basic mountaineering equipment checklist for their major climb. Please be reminded that this is just an ideal checklist to consider and we are not forcing you. As an example, we don’t have to expect for snow here to experience hypothermia but too much exposure to nature in any means will cause our body temperature to fall down.

The lightweight equipmentchecklist was organized to help you to prepare accurately so that your climb will be safe and fun filled. The checklist has two optional points for you because it was a personal list of the author. The two optional points are the Bible and the stuffs for distribution. The checklist has five recommended points, these are the shelter and sleeping, packing, clothing bag, cooking and food and other essentials. We can guarantee that if you will use the lightweight equipment checklist you will lessen the instances of neglecting the essentials for your climbs.

Everyone should realize the big difference between day hike and major climb. The current trend of summiting mountains should be learned from past experiences. Though most of the mountains in the country are day hike-able we should never neglect the seriousness of our endeavor. Mountaineering is still one of the deadly activities in the country. The growing casualties of mountaineering related incidents is the evidence of this. There are notable factors to prevent the mountaineering-related death incidents. To lessen the possibility of risk, we should first gear our selves of the idea that we cannot control nature. Though we can assume sometimes, but it will be good for us to consider that we are living in the time where global warming is happening. Lastly, we should consider the fact that our gear/equipment preparation will determine our comfort and safety. 

As mentioned in our previous posts, the mountaineering related deaths in the Philippines are growing in number but manageable in nature. Yes, you read it right. Bringing proper gears is one of the means to prevent unwanted incidents in the mountains. As of now there are only two immediate reasons of deaths related to mountaineering - the person’s irresponsibility and improper management of body temperature. 

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Reminders for Dayhike

Day hike is one of the known practice today in mountaineering. Mountaineering is highly promoted today in metropolis like in Manila, Cebu and Davao due to growing number of curious individuals coming from BPO companies. The few known advantages of day hike is its itinerary friendly approach because the participants need only few hours to finish friendly elevation of a mountain. The second known advantage of day hike is that the participants is not expected to have to carry long inventory of equipment. In a day hike setting the participants needs only few equipment and more stamina. 

This post is intended to encourage and remind everyone regarding some neglected stuffs along with the ten essentials. The thin line between bringing and leaving few stuffs will bring us to emergency incidents. It is better to answer the following questions before setting the stuffs for day hike: 

    • Will it last for more seven hours?
    • What is the elevation of the mountain and what will be the possible altitude gain? 
    • What is the day's weather forecast?
    • Is there any river crossing?
    • Will there be source of potable water?
    • Who will be my companions? 
    • Is the place known for having network signal? 
From this set of questions we can now start assessing the list of the equipment.

Beyond the daypack, water bottle, trail food, wind breaker jacket, whistle, first aid kit, survival kit, charged cellphone, garbage bag, extra clothes, extra money and the expected ten outdoor essentials, it is good idea to bring the following stuffs to ensure safety and enjoyable outdoor experience: 

1. Tarptent with guy lines. This piece of tarpaulin, a plastic or nylon sheet will be the reliable lightweight shelters for sunny day rest stop or even in emergency situations. Beside its lighter weight, one of the main advantages of tarp tent is that it can be set up very quickly.  

2. Rain poncho. Due to unpredictability of the weather pattern today, it is a good habit to bring lightweight but watertight material inside the day pack. Even the cheap plastic-made rain poncho will keep the body dry from the rain and most especially preventing one self from hypothermia. Good size of rain poncho is that fits over a daypack. Carrying a military-sized poncho is another means of bringing improvised emergency shelter. 

3. Powder fruit juice. This concentrated inside the sachet will give additional sugar to the body. In some incident, powdered juice can also be used to enhance the taste of the water. 

4. Pocket knife. This is the most neglected stuff by some "mountaineers."  Bringing pocket knife for a lawful activity like mountaineering is allowed by the law of the land. Knife is the only reliable cutting tool for everyone and also good size of this piece of metal will give us flexible tool that can be used for nearly anything. A knife can give anyone extra  confidence and at the same time gives comfort in doing some task. This could also enhances ones ability to survive in any emergency situation. Good knife could enhance the survival skills like cordage making, snares making, and shaping sticks to create new tools. 

5. Paracord. Real paracord can carry load up to  550 pounds because of its seven strong nylon cord that each cord is made of several smaller woven stands, which all wrapped in a flexible outer braided nylon wrapper. Carrying ten feet or more of paracord could be used for guide rope, replacement for a broken shoestring and reliable tool for lashing in building temporary shelter to sleep over in case of emergency. As an advise, if you will buy paracord bracelet, make it as of emergency tool and not just an accessory or "pangporma." Thus, the paracord should be quick deploy/ release and the buckle is made of a whistle. 

6. Packed Lunch. The nutrients of this food prepared at home should not be compromised to trail food or energy bars. Keeping this food safe in a plastic container will give us sufficient nutrients to finish the trek. Also, having this inside the backpack will give us the assurance of surviving a day without foraging. 

7. Alcohol. This is one of the items inside the first aid kit but bring at least 100ml. More of this volatile liquid could be a fuel for aluminum can alcohol stove which eliminates need for denatured alcohol. Some brands of isopropyl and ethyl alcohol in 70 percent concentration burns but not that like with denatured alcohol, this is because of the water content. 

8. Piece of Paper and Pencil. In the absence of the battery life of our camera and cellphone this two items will be the best partner for documentation. 

As conclusion, it is better for us mountaineers to be reminded with Al Alvarez quote, which states that, "The pleasure of risk is in the control needed to ride it with assurance so that what appears dangerous to the outsider is, to the participant, simply a matter of intelligence, skill, intuition, coordination... in a word, experience. Climbing in particular, is a paradoxically intellectual pastime, but with this difference: you have to think with your body. Every move has to be worked out in terms of playing chess with your body. If I make a mistake the consequences are immediate, obvious, embarrassing, and possibly painful. For a brief period I am directly responsible for my actions. In that beautiful, silent, world of mountains, it seems to me worth a little risk." 

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Mountaineers' Cry for Peace

The Philippine mountaineering community is now being haunt by the news of national insurgency in the country. Currently, many schedules were cancelled due to fear brought by numerous reports of NPA sightings. This post is intended to express the position of the Philippine mountaineering community regarding the termination of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front- Communist Party of the Philippines.

photo taken from

The five-decade insurgency in the country is evidence that there is big socio-economic problem to cure. Having President Duterte in the Malacanang Palace brought hope to the nation that the stain of bloody revolution will be lessen because of his identification to the left. The few months of peace in the country was experienced even to the country side. There were a lot of explorations done in some known Communist's territory like in Sierra Madre. The mountainous areas of Rizal were explored and the mountaineering community enjoyed the peace in the land but today the community is under fear.

Most of the mountaineering facebook pages and groups today are flooded with posts of inquiry regarding the status of mountains. Fellow mountaineers asking one another about possible closure of various mountains and the sad is the inquiry heightens the fear of some.

photo from bayan

The mountaineering community is now directly affected of the current all-out war of the government against the New People’s Army. The fear of possible inclusion in cross fire between the two parties is the most worrisome and being falsely identified is an issue also. Thus, we are calling for the immediate resumption of the peace talk between the government and the Communist Party so that the mountain destinations will be enjoying again by the mountaineers and tourist. The mountaineering community of the Philippines deserves peaceful opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our country. We as community are looking for LASTING JUST PEACE.

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San Jose, Tarlac Flash flood

The news regarding flash flood in San Jose, Tarlac is both correct and wrong. As a rule of thumb for us, better  to get information from the Baag outreach team. It will be best for us to wait for the official declaration from the survivors as well as from the search and rescue teams. I am not discrediting the fact that this is another unwanted part of the mountaineering history. 

The lost of men and women in the caress of nature is something to reflect for us. As of now, let us continually pray for the comfort for the family members and friends of the casualties. Also pray for the immediate result of search and rescue for the missing member. 

This is the moment for us not to initiate blame game but to educate our line to experience safe and enjoyable mountaineering.  

Kudos to all the individuals and groups who untiringly participated to the search and rescue, truly by your action we can say that mountaineering community is more than friendship- it's a growing family. 

GOD bless us all! 


NO TO Resolution No.2015-11 of Mt. Apo NP-PAMB

Hayaan nyo nawa akong ilahad ko ang aking mga puntos hinggil sa lumabas na bagong resolusyon patungkol sa Mt. Apo. Ang aking tinutukoy ay ang Resolution No. 2015-11 ng Mt. Apo Natural Park-Protected Area Management Board na kinilala ng mga lokal na pamahalaan ng Sta. Cruz, Bansalan at Digos City ng Davao del Sur maging ng Makilala, Magpet at Kidapawan City ng North Cotabato. Sa nasabing resoluyon kanilang pinagtibay ang pagkilala sa Mt. Apo bilang isang "common trekking site."

Sa ilang ulit na pagbabasa sa nasabing resolusyon maaring ang unang papasok na tanong sa isipan ay, "bakit ang mahal naman?" Subalit nawa mas bigyan natin ng lalim ang isyu na ito hindi lamang sa usapin ng salapi sapagkat ito ay may malawak na epekto sa ating komunidad. 

Ang anumang resolusyon na ilalabas ng MANP-PAMB ay sasalamin sa maaaring sapitin sa hinaharap ng ating mga bundok o kabundukang inaakyat. Bilang pinakamataas na bundok sa bansa, ang Mt. Apo ay may kakayanang diktahan ang kinabukasan ng ating mountaineering activities.  Sa ilang ulit kong pagbabasa ng nasabing resolusyon akoý nakakita ng ilang kwestyonableng puntos ng Resolution No. 2015-11 ng MANP-PAMB na ula dito ay masasabi kong hindi nila inaral ang kalagayan ng bundok. 

Ito ang aking ilang obserbasyon at reaksyon:

1. Ang Mt. Apo ay Isang Natural Park. 
Tila nakalimutan nila na ang Mt. Apo ay Liwasang Bayan. Ang ibig sabihin ng liwasang bayan ay pook mga pook na may likas at historikong kahalagahan sa bansa na pinoprotektahan at inaalagaan ng DENR gamit ang NIPAS bilang pangunahing batayan. Ang Mt. Apo bilang isang likas ng liwasang bayan, ay kinakailangang protektahan sa anumang pagkasira mula sa pagkuha at paggamit ng mga likas ng yaman nito. At bilang isang liwasang bayan ay Mt. Apo ay dapat na maging bukas sa anumang makatarungan at legal na gawain tulad ng scientific, educational at recreational sapagkat sa ganitong gawi mababantayan ang kalagayan nito maging ng mga iniingatang  mga halaman, hayop at likas na yaman.   

Image by Dan Bacus via facebook

Subalit sa pamamagitan ng Resolution No. 2015-11 inilayo nito ang dapat na mangyari sa kasalukuyan. Kung susuriin ang nagyayari sa kasalukuyan ang Aboitiz na kumontrol sa tubig ng Tudaya Falls ng Sibulan, Sta. Cruz na ginawang hydro power plant at ang Energy Development Corporation ng mga Lopez na nagmamay-ari ng Mount Apo Geothermal Power Plant sa Kidapawan ay mga nagpapakasasa sa likas ng yaman ng nasabing bundok. Maaaring gagamitin na naman nila ang palusot na ang mga nasabing mga kumpanya ay malayo bundok o itoý nasa paanan lamang, ang punto ko rito ay ganun pa rin kanilang ginaganap ang likas ng kondisyon ng bundok. Parehas ang EDC at Aboitiz na naging ganid sa dapat na tinatamasa natin, dati nadadaanan pa ang Tudaya falls sa Sibulan subalit dahil itoý hydro power plant area na bawal nang dumaan ang mga mountaineers lalo na sa EDC na babarilin kung mga guwardiya kung hindi si Lopez ang kasama. 

2. Ang Mt. Apo ay Cultural at Historical Site. 
Mayaman ang Mt. Apo kaya ang tingin ng mga pulitiko dito ay isang malalim na balon na bumubulwak ng salapi at kanilang nakalimutang tingnan na ito ay lugar ng mayamang kultura at kasayasayan. Ang Mt. Apo ay lupain ng mga kapatid nating Lumad na nagmula sa mga tribung Bagobo, Manobo at  Klata. Ang kabundukan ay ang kanilang naging tahanan, libingan at tanging pinagkukunan ng kanilang ikabubuhay. Para sa mga kapatid nating mga Lumad sa Bundok ding ito naninirahan ang kanilang sinasambang si Apo Sandawa. Ang mga komunidad sa Mt. Apo ay nagpapakita ng mayamang kasyasayan na hindi sila nasakop ng mga kastila at hindi sila kinain ng lason ng modernisasyon. 

Subalit para sa mga pulitiko ang Mt. Apo ay isang ekonomikal na lugar, lugar na pwedeng pagkakitaan. Kung babalikan ang kanilang ginawang bagong resolusyon naglaan lamang sila ng 25% para sa Integrated Protected Areas Fund (IPAF) at 15% naman para sa komunidad ng mga katutubo at ang 60% ay tutungo na sa bulsa ng mga pulitiko. Subalit kung titingnan ang REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10629 mayroon nang nakalaan na 75% na trust fund para sa Mt. Apo bilang isa sa kinikilala ng NIPAS. Malinaw lamang ito na nais lamang ng PAMB at mga lokal na pamahalaan na makihati sa kinikita ng mga kapatid nating lumad na nagsisilbing mga guides at porters. 

Dati ang pag-akyat sa Mt. Apo ay hindi usapin ng salapi bagkus pagtahak ispirwal at pakiki-pagkapwa tao kasabay ng abot-kayang registration mula sa mga lokal na pamahalaan. Subalit ngayon, kakailanganin aga ng tatlong libo para makapasok at makalabas sa nasabing bundok. Maaaring gagamitin na naman nila ang palusot na ang salaping kikitain ay gagamitin sa pagkakaroon ng mga kagamitang pangrescue. Hindi po ba, may budget ng dati ang bawat bayan para sa Rescue at disaster management? Liliwanagin ko lamang na hindi ako tutol sa pagbili ng mga gamit sa pangrescue sapagkat kailangan natin yan subalit kung magmumula sa mountaineers ang radyo at iba pang gamit kawawa naman kami sapagkat di kami tumatae ng salapi. 

Kay sarap balikan na dati na katutubo ang kasama sa Lake Venado walang naliligaw at walang napipinsala sa Kidapawan river. Mas maasahan pa rin ang mga kapatid na lumad sapagkat hindi lamang nila bakuran ang Mt. Apo ito ay kanilang pinapahalahang tahanan. 

3. Ang Mt. Apo ay Dapat Alagaan at Hindi Pagkakitaan. 
Itigil na nawa ng PAMB ang pagsasabi na nasisira ang Mt. Apo dahil sa mountaineers sapagkat hindi ito totoo. Mas maniniwala pa ako na may ilang nagpapakilalang mountaineers ang nagdala at nagdadala ng kalat sa nasabing bundok. Ang sumisira sa Mt. Apo ay ang mga pangako ng mga pulitikong pagbabago at pag-asenso na hanggang sa ngayon ay nakasulat sa hangin. Ang mga kapatid nating  lumad ay mas minabuti na lamang na nagtanim ng mga gulay at bulaklak o dili kayaý magkaingin dahil may pamilya silang kailangang pakainin. 

Kaya bilang hamon sa mga pulitikong ng mga bayan at lalawigan na nakakasakop sa Mt. Apo, gawin nyo ang inyong mga pangako noong nagdaang eleksyon at wag ninyo kaming gawin gatasan. 

Bilang pangwakas, nais kong hamunin ang Philippine Mountaineering community na maging isa sa isyu ng pagtutol sa  Resolution No. 2015-11 ng Mt. Apo Natural Park-Protected Area Management Board sapagkat matapos sa Apo lahat ng bundok ay maaring sumunod. Sa ngayon ay ating inisyal na magagawa ay wag muna tayong umakyat sa Mt. Apo bilang pagtutol sa mataas na singil, ipamukha natin sa kanila na ating pinaghihirapang kumita. Ikalawa, patuloy nating mahalin ang ating mga kapatid na katutubo di lamang ang mga lumad magagawa natin ito sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon ng aktibong pakikinig sa kanilang kalagayan ay bukas pusong pagtulong sa abot ng ating makakaya. At ang ikatlo, ikalat natin ang ating pagtutol sa  Resolution No. 2015-11 ng Mt. Apo Natural Park-PAMB.

Pumirma at maging kabahagi ng nagaganap na petisyon upang maibasura ang Resolution no. 2015-11
ng Mt. Apo Natural Park- Protected Area Management Board. 


Paalam Pamana

Matapos ang simbolikong pagpapalipad pabalik sa kagubatan ng Agilang si Pamana na naging dahilan upang tayoý maging masaya subalit ngayon ay nagdulot din ito ng luha. Sa pinagsamang lakas at pagtitiyaga ng Philippine Eagle Foundation, lalawigan ng Davao Oriental, lokal na Pamahalaan ng San Isidro, Lungsod ng Mati, DENR, UNESCO Philippines, at DOT  si Pamana ay inalagaan at pinalakas upang itoý makabalik sa kagubatan. Ang pag-aalaga kay Pamana ay binigyang pansin din ng mga kumpanyang may pagnanais sa kaisipang pag-aalaga ng Agila, ang Pacific Paint (Boysen) Phils, Inc., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Inc., at Globe Telecom ay ang mga kumpanyang tumugon sa hamon. 

Si Pamana ay isang babaeng agila na nasagip mula sa kabundukan ng Gabunan sa Iligan City, Lanao del Norte matapos itoý makatamo ng dalawang tama ng bala ng baril sa kaliwang dibdib. Si Pamana ay isa sa lumalaking bilang ng mga 'Critically endangered' o yaong mga nanganganib ng maubos na uri ng hayop sa buong mundo. Mula noong 2012 tang Philippine Eagle Foundation ay inalagaan si Pamana hanggan itoý pabalikin sa kagubatan ng UNESCO World Heritage Site – Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary sa Brgy. La Union, San Isidro, Davao Oriental.  

Image by Blogie Robillo via facebook

Si Pamanaý binalik sa kagubatan kasabay ng pagdiriwang nang ika-117 taon Araw ng Kalayaan  ng bansa. Ang pagpapakawala kay Pamana sa kagubatan ay nagsilbing simboliko't makasayayan para sa ating upang magbigay ng malalim na pagpapahalaga sa Philippine Monkey-eating Eagle (Lat. Pithecophaga jefferyi) at pangangalaga sa kagubatan na kanilang tahanan. Subalit matapos ang dalawang buwan na paglipad ni Pamana sa Kagubatan ng Mt. Hamiguitan, kumalat sa social media ang balita ng pagkamatay ng agila. Ayon sa balita, ang Agilang si Pamana ay tinamaan ng bala ng baril noong ika-16 ng Agosto. 

Bilang isang komunidad, tayong mga mountaineers ay inaasahan maging pangunahing komunidad na mangangalaga sa kalikasan. Tayo ay may ilang bagay na dapat nating gawin bilang mga aktibong kasapi ng komunindad, at ito ay ang magbigay para sa kalikasan, maging kabahagi ng komunidad at maging kasaping boluntaryo sa pangangalaga. 

1. Magbigay ng Karapat-dapat. Isa sa nakakagulat sa pangangalaga kay Pamana ay ang aktibong logo ng multi-national company na Shell na nagsasabing sila ay nangangalaga sa kalikasan subalit kung titingnan ang datus ng kumpanyang ito ay napakaraming paglabag sa batas pangkalikasan sa buong mundo isama na ang tinututulang pagmimina ng langis sa Arktiko. Isa pa sa aktibong logo ay ang Globe na may nakakatawang estratehiya na kapag nagtext ang mga subscribers ay may bahaging salaping mapupunta sa Philippine Eagle Foundation, subalit alam naman nating nakapadaya ng kumpanyang ito sa usapin ng pagpapakita ng kanilang librata ng pananalapi at kita. Kung babalikan ang kasaysayan labag sa Globe ang panawagang ibalik ang sobrang kita sa mga subscribers.  

Bilang mga mountaineers kailangan nating ibandila ang pangangalaga sa kalikasan ng walang interes na ibandila ang ating mga pangalan maging ang ating organisasyon. Nawa tunay at bukal sa ating buhay ang pangangalaga sa kalikasan hindi katulad ng Shell at Globe Telecom na may interes na pagtakpan ang pandaraya at paninirang ginagawa ng kanilang kumpanya. 

2. Maging Kabahagi ng Komunidad.  Bilang mga mountaineers kabahagi tayo ng mga pangunahing apektado sa tuwing may pagkasira sa kalikasan. Ang Mt. Hamiguitan bilang isang UNESCO Heritage site ay nagpapakita ng pagpapala ng bansa na tinamo mula sa kamay ng Panginoong lumikha subalit tunay talagang sa bawat bakuran may mga pasaway. Ang hindi mawalang bilang ng hunters sa kabundukan ay hindi natin nais sapagkat ito ang pagkain ng mga hayop ay malalim sa kultura at kasaysayan ng bawat lipunan lalo na ng mga kapatid nating katutubo. Mayroon tayong partipasyon sa komunidad sa pagiging mainam makisalamuha sa tao ng kabundukan. Nawa patuloy nating isapamuhay ang pagiging maalam sa pag-aalaga ng kalikasan at unti-unti natin itong ibahagi sa mga taong ating kakasalamuha sa syudad man o sa kabundukan. At higit saa lahat, nawa tayo ay patuloy na maging bukas sa pagtanggap ng mga isyung pangkalikasan di lamang sa bansa at handang kumilos para sa pakakanan ng karamihan. 

3. Maging Kasaping Boluntaryo sa Pangangalaga. Ang nakakalungkot na kaganapang sumambulat sa netizens at manonood ng balita sa telebisyon sa pagpamatay ni Pamana ay pagpapakita na may pagnanais tayong mangalaga. Ang pangangalaga sa Philippine Eagle ay pinagtibay ng Republic Act 9147 or Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act subalit katulad ng ibang batas ito lamang ay mainam sa prinsipyo. Ang pagkakaroon lamang ng labindalawang (12) bantay-gubat o ""forest rangers" sa Mt. Hamiguitan na may humigit kumulang na 32,000 hectares ay hindi makasasapat para sa pangangalaga ng nasabing kagubatan. Ito na ang tamang panahon upang ikonsidera na ang "matitinong" mountaineers o grupo ng mountaineers ay kilalanin bilang mga deputize forest rangers. Ang mga mountaineers bilang deputize forest rangers ay magiging mainam sapagkat nasa atin ang lakas at resources upang madalaw at maimbentaryo ang kalagayan ng kagubatan. Ang pagkasara ng kagubatan para sa mountaineers ay nangangahulugan din ng pagkasira at duda na may nakikinabang sa kalikasan habang ang Mt. Hamiguitan ay nakasara. 

Bilang pagtatapos, ang mountaineering community ay kinakailangang kakitaan ng kaseryosohan sa aksyong karapat-dapat sa nagaganap na pagkasira ng kalikasan. Kaya, ating pagkaisahin ang ating lakas at kakayanan upang alagaan ang ating kalikasan at ating palakasin ang ating hanay sa pamamagitan ng patuloy na pagiging bukas sa isyu pangkalikasan. 

Ang Philippine Mountaineering community ay inaasahang gumawa ng hakbang upang magbigay ng aktibo at makatotohanang pangangalaga sa kalikasan at lahat ng mga may buhay dito. Inaasahan na ang pangunahing reaksyon ng mga mountaineers sa pagkawala ni Pamana ay pagtangis at panghihinayang. Kaya bilang marunong mag-isip at may kakayanang gumawa ng mga aksyon para sa ikahuhusay ng kalikasan, hayaan nawa natin na ang ating panghihinayang at ang mga luha ay maging gasolina ng ating makatotohanang pangangalaga sa kalikasan. 


BSI Medicated Spray (Review)

Product Review: BSI Medicated Spray
Review sent by RotsapReb

Last year, we met a lady in BaseKamp Trinoma who challenged us to use a BSI Medicated Spray.  We gave her an opportunity to introduce the product by being on of our resource speaker on our free classroom-based Basic Mountaineering Course. There, she demonstrated the use and effectivity of BSI Medicated Spray as effective and efficient treatment for muscular pain.  She gave one for the The Philippine Mountaineering for free to test the effectiveness of the product.

From product presentation, we've learned that BSI Medicated Spray is approved by Philippine FDA as a home remedy drug. It is the only non-aerosol topical pain reliever in the Philippines.  The product has been in the market over 5 years in the Philippines.  It contains all Users include athletes, senior citizens, office workers, housewives, OFWs who suffer muscular pain. BSI Medicated Spray is available in the market nationwide in all branches of Mercury Drug Store, Rose Pharmacy, and South Star Drug.

Mountaineering is a strenuous activity and one of the common effects of this to us is to suffer muscle pain. Sometimes, because of severe muscle pains some decided to end the trek half-way, and this tendency could be avoided by having BSI Medicated Spray inside our packs. Through our experienced muscle cramps, we recommend every mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast to always bring BSI Medicated Spray inside their backpacks just like bringing water and sunblock.

On our few months of usage of the product we tested the effectivity of this while during the during warm- up prior to the trekking or climbing proper, it relaxes the muscle, hence, helps with the warm up. Also, during the trekking or climbing proper, it relieves the pain; muscles feel refreshed, and experienced more endurance.  The attack of muscle cramps for many times in the middle of trail was immediately relieved by simply having first means of spraying BSI to the affected area.

We recommend BSI Medicated Spray inside our packs because of the following reasons:

  1. Convenient. It is convenient to bring along because the packaging is handy, lightweight, and non-breakable (plastic bottle). It can be also store inside the top load of our packs for easy access.
  2. Spray form. They can easily apply the product by spraying on the affected part.
  3. No Mess.  Not messy on your hands during application. Not messy when applied to hairy parts such as legs.
  4. Effective.  It effectively relieves the muscular pain in minutes.  It is also effective in reducing muscle swelling such as muscle cramps and sprains.
  5. Just Spray. No need to massage unlike other topical pain relievers.
  6. Nice menthol odor. You will not be irritated of foul odor like other product such as liniment.

As conclusion, we recommend every mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast to always bring BSI Medicated Spray inside their backpacks just like bringing water, survival kit. This is also a MUST content of our first aid kit. Disclosure
The writers who contribute to The Philippine Mountaineering are sometimes given the opportunity to review gear that they get for free. If we get stuff for free, we’ll tell you about it. If it is necessary to extend, we’ll give it away through our facebook page (fb). We welcome sponsored posts as long as they are useful to the mountaineering community. You may contact us at

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Apexus Andes 33 Tent (Review)

Gear Review: Apexus Andes 33 Tent
Review sent by RotsapReb

Thanks Apexus of Mtr. Terry​ for allowing me to use once more the much awaited Andes 33. It's a year now since I tested the prototype of this tent and at that time this was unnamed. I used to test this model twice in known low-temperature mountains, Mt. Tapulao of Zambales with Alliance Mountaineering and Outdoor Society on our Bible distribution   (February 2014) and Mt. Pulag (March 2014) with my friends Ian Prince of Tees and Prints, Kuya Jun of Tribu ni Bro and John Nixon from London.

One good thing with Apexus they are open-minded for any observation and recommendation. After a year since I gave back the prototype to Mtr. Terry, I noticed the adjustments they made to make this model more lighter. Last year, I tested the red flysheet and this year, a blue one- fabric material of this is same with imported brands tents, which are made from nylon. The fabric of the body of this tent is great, can sustain the user to experience higher temperature. The flysheet was like tuber plant "gabe," water was just dripped.

This year, Alliance Mountaineering and Outdoor Society climbed Mt. Pulag once more after four years. It was a wet camping due to continuous raining, a good weather condition to test outdoor shelter. The temperature was lower than 10 degree Celsius (the last time I measured at around 6pm). The performance of the ground sheet or footprint was awesome, even the West Saddle or the known Camp 3 was watered and muddy due to continuous visits of campers and raining I didn't experienced wetness in tent floor.


Two vents turned any kind of breeze into a condensation killing cross wind. There are also two stowage pockets (pretty standard), and the two vestibule doors, this made entry and exit easy and made it easy to refresh air inside. Technically, Apexus Andes 33 is a three-season. A four-pole structure provides excellent resistance to wind. Andes 33 has good vestibule, ideal for stuffs storage. Exceptionally durable and high quality materials plus extensive research and solid design. Highly packable tent with lots of room and excellent weather protection. It's roomy enough not to feel claustrophobia.

Dimension- 8 ft. X 3.10 ft. ( ideal for 2pax) 
Pole- Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy
Flysheet- nylon materials, hexagon ripstop w/ PU coating for waterproofing + technologically seam-taped to last.
Entry- 2 doors w/ 2 vestibule areas (good for any unwanted weather)
Approximate weight- 2.5 kgs. (excluding pegs)

  • Can be heavy for solo (ideal for weight sharing)
  • Elastic guy loops make it harder to tension fly
  • Zipper gets caught if not handled properly
  • Cannot fit more than 3 people.
  • The internal pole system makes this tent bulky to pack and heavy in the bag
  • Good ventilation
  • Two large doors makes moving in and out of the tent comfortable
  • Comfortable interior
  • Exceptionally spacious
  • Durable
  • Weather resistant for its weight
  • Aerodynamic design can withstand even without the aid of guy line
  • The two vestibules
  • Full- taped bathtub
  • Convenient overhead
  • Semi-full mesh design for comfort and ventilation
  • Packs small and light
  • Easy to set up only takes about less five minutes
  • Lots of room for two

This is a roomy tent with a 46-inch width and plenty of room for two. The 42-inch height runs through most of the tent, creating plenty of sitting up room. Two big doors with both vestibule sizing of 24-inch each, made the tent feel even roomier.

Apexus mastered the aspect of packability not only the tent design. Designed small tube shaped stuff sacks. They also cut their pole sections smaller to 17 inches—so they would be more compact for cramming inside packs. At two point two pounds per person, there’s nothing to complain about in weight distribution.

If will not identify earlier the length of the two sets of poles, setup of the Andes 33 couldn't be simpler. Through color-coded poles, it’s a quick and intuitive setup: the two cross corner to corner lengthwise (longer) while another two poles arc over the doors (shorter). All the poles system run through clips, making the tent very easy and quick to set up. This four-pole intersections give the tent a strong and stable base. Even in strong wind or rainy environment it was no problem.

The 30-inches U-shaped walk-in with mesh doors, 3’6” max interior height, make this a very livable tent.

The bathtub floor is made of waterproof fabric to withstand abuse from under the tent as well as within.  Along with non-YKK zippers, aluminum poles and aluminum stakes, this tent, including the bag it comes in, is made to last.

The design of this tent comes from the idea of two back-to-back or Hybrid of  Apexus Tadpole where the ridge line poles pull the vestibule well beyond the tent doors, creating a covered porch that keeps drips out of the tent and off head while exiting the tent. A bathtub floor kept the water on the outside and a well-designed roof stayed puddle free even in heavy rain.  Possible for warmer environments, the large mesh doors offer excellent ventilation.

Apexus offers another model to invest with. Definitely the amount of this will be cheaper than imported tents available in the market today. Apexus assures everyone of their life-time repair warranty and pole spare available anytime in-case of breakage. Support  local economy and uphold the welfare of your fellow- Filipino. Disclosure
The writers who contribute to The Philippine Mountaineering are sometimes given the opportunity to review gear that they get for free. If we get stuff for free, we’ll tell you about it. If it is necessary to extend, we’ll give it away through our facebook page (fb). We welcome sponsored posts as long as they are useful to the mountaineering community. You may contact us at

Bookmark and visit our website regularly, like our Facebook fan page, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google+contact us and/or subscribe to our news feeds via RSS or Email.