Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mountaineering: a booming leisure 
activity in the Philippines

Norberto Puda

According to, mountaineering, also called mountain climbing is  the sport of attaining, or attempting to attain, high points in mountainous regions, mainly for the pleasure of the climb. PNU-Mountaineering Club defined mountaineering as physical and mental activity that requires skills, experience, common sense, and guts in ascending and descending mountains.

Mountaineering in the Philippines is one of the booming leisure, recreational and physical activity nowadays because during these days, hundreds of organized mountaineering groups were formed. According to, in our country, there are 48 school-based and 97 community-based (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) actively participating in different organized climb such as the “Freedom Climb” held last June 12, 2011 in different mountain locations garnering points to be qualified in Guiness Book of Record in the category of climbing together and celebrating the independence day in various number in different mountain locations all over the country.

There are accounts in different website telling stories about the experiences in the mountain they have conquered. The fact that when we go to different malls, we can see outdoor shops side-by-side. It only means that it needs to feed the necessities of outdoorsmen especially on the basic equipment used in trekking and camping.

 The pleasures of mountaineering lie not only in the conquest of the peak but also in the physical and spiritual satisfactions brought about through intense personal effort, ever-increasing proficiency, and contact with natural grandeur. The greater rewards do not come without considerable risk and danger. The first great peak ascended in modern times was Mont Blanc, in 1786. Other Alpine peaks followed, capped by the ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. By the 1910s, most peaks of the Andes, the Rockies, and other Western Hemisphere ranges had been climbed, including Mount McKinley (1913). Beginning in the 1930s a series of successful ascents of mountains in the Himalayas occurred; the summits of many of the Himalayan Mountains were not reached until the 1950s, however. Of these climbs, the best known is the 1953 ascent of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. In the 1960s mountaineering became an increasingly technical sport, emphasizing the use of specialized anchoring, tethering, and grappling gear in the ascent of vertical rock or ice faces.
As with many life-changing decisions that people make, many people became full-fledged outdoor enthusiasts for many reasons. It only used to be a dream, so far-fetched they never imagined that someday they would be among the privileged few who, despite a chaotic schedule, would still find time to commune with nature, meet new friends, discover hidden wonders, and have the pleasure of writing about it.

Mountaineering has been in existence for years. In the Philippines, it met its glorious height in the early 1990s. Ascents to the country’s highest peak have become more frequent that throughout the years thousands have conquered and survived. The sport itself has lured thousands in its web of danger, challenges and risks.

Equipping members to know the basic knowledge about Basic Mountaineering Course which covers the trainings about the history of mountaineering in the Philippines, trail movements, camp management, equipment familiarization, and about learning the culture of a place were planned to go to. Group members were also empowered with the knowledge in first aiding, swimming, orienteering/map reading, rope-safety courses and various physical activities before setting out for a climb.

Mountaineering is not only a leisure activity but rather an avenue for promoting fitness and wellness and nature preservation, for developing leadership, and for reaching out to other communities.

As the Filipinos reached the highest peak of the world, Mt. Everest in 2008, it started the awareness of Mountaineering not just a physical or leisure activity but in a way that gives honor to the country. Many Filipinos on this time were motivated to try trekking different unknown and undocumented mountains and for some, to conquer fear of heights or even the darkness of during the stay in summit. As Rommy Garduce of UP-Mountaineer reached the highest summit of the seven continents, Filipinos were proud and amazed.

Many were lured into the sport itself. How could they not with mountaineer friends from all over the Philippines? These people would often tell stories about their climbs, their treks that many have become envious of them. They weren’t comfortable about it at first. They fought so hard but they couldn’t beat the desire to experience it myself so they joined.

And it was one of the greatest decisions they’ve made and they’re extremely glad they joined. It brought me so much pleasure that they would gladly go exploring some more despite the dangers and risks it poses and a chaotic schedule – especially now when most people do both day and night shifts at work.

Climbing nowadays viewed as an outlet of busy, stressful, and unaccommodating circumstances experienced during work. For some people trekking and climbing played a vital role for their fitness so many of them tried to climb mountain once a month and for some addict-outdoors men, during the weekends. If mountaineering would be imparted as an active recreational activity, concerns such as spiritual (God, nature and meditation), conquering fears, escape to busy and stressing work, travel (an avenue to see places), relationship which refers to improving social skills, growth and skills (first aid skills, cooking, backpacking, leadership, and time management), physical fitness, camping, cost-effective hobby and research education.

Mountain climbing is not just going to different places, conquering nature, and achieving goals, it is a lifestyle where in people should impart climbing as a part of weekly or monthly routine. Have you seen sun floating in the clouds during the break of dawn? Have you seen a rounded shape rainbow? Have you ever experience to feel the chill that ticks to the bone? Have you ever seen species that you do not knew its’ name? Have you ever asked yourself how great is our gods? I challenge you to see the wonders of nature, the beauty of nature that it is not only seeing through pictures but experiencing it. Come on! Believe me. You will find it refreshing and soul-gratifying. Have a passion for the outdoors. Be a nature lover for a change.


Sunday, April 24, 2011



Endowed with a variety of natural wonders, the Philippines is one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Its shorelines, home for many of the world s finest white-sand beaches, are among the most beautiful in the world. Its waters are so rich it is the sanctuary of abundant colorful and rare marine life. It’s 7,107 islands, from northern Luzon to southern Mindanao abounds with spectacular and unique sites. The most famous among these spots are the St. Paul’s subterranean river system in Palawan measuring 4, 380 meters and is regarded as the longest underground river system in Southest Asia; the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, which resemble scattered chocolate drops when seen from a high elevation; and the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Ifugao province, culled in with great symmetry from the mountains some 2,000 years ago by ancient Ifugaos and dubbed as the "Eight Wonder of the World."

These natural wonders are some of the reasons that enchant many foreign tourists to the Philippines. But what really attract these foreigners in the country are the ever-smiling locals and the warm hospitality of the Filipino people.

                                                      Rice Terraces of Banaue
The Rice Terraces of Banaue are perhaps the most well know attraction in the Philippines, and no list of the Seven Wonders of the Philippines would be complete without them.. Located in central Luzon, they have been carved by local Ifugao people over the last 3,000 thousand years. When you visit, you can see terraces still being built today. The locals often describe the terraces as the largest man made structure created without forced labor. If each terrace were laid end to end, they would stretch almost 14,000 miles. They were declared a UNESCO World  Heritage site in 1995 and placed on the endangered list in 2001.

                                                      Tubbataha Reef
Located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reef is one of the largest and best preserved reef systems in the world. Actually composed to two atolls, Tubbataha is far removed from any human settlement, it is a 92 mile boat trip from the city of Puerto Princessa. The marine park covers over 968 km² and is home to over 300 coral species and 400 fish species, rivaling the diversity of the Great Barrier Reef. The few pieces of atoll which are above water are also home to a large number of seabirds. It was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites in 1993.

                                                      Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills are located on the Island of Bohol. They are over 1,200 hills, covering over 50 km² and get their name because the grass which covers the hills turns brown during the dry season. The hills are almost all conical in shape and made of limestone. Many people have believed that they were human creations. Geologists are not entirely sure how they were created. Theories include erosion of limestone, volcanic uplift, and accretion of limestone around basalt fragments from a volcanic eruption. The government of the Philippines has declared it one of their flagship tourist destinations. The Chocolate Hills are so central to the people of Bohol, they appear on the flag of the province.

                                                      Taal Volcano
Taal volcano has a unique distinction in the world. It contains the largest island, inside of a lake, which is on an island, which is inside a lake, which is on an island. (got that?) Taal is a very active volcano which has killed over 5,000 people in recorded history. It has been named one of 16 decade volcanoes in the world worthy of special study. Inside the Taal caldera is Lake Tall, which is a 25km across. The lake is know for its high sulfur content and is also home to many endemic species of freshwater fish. Taal is only 50km from the city of Manila.

                                                                Mayon Volcano
Mayon volcano is perhaps the most perfectly shaped conic volcano in the world. It has been called by some the “Filipino Mount Fuji”. Located in south east Luzon, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It has erupted close to 50 times since the year 1600, with the most recent eruption occurring in 2006. 77 people were killed in an eruption in 1993 and 75,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes during an eruption in 1984. It rises 2462 m over Legazpi City in the province of Albany.

Boracay is a small island approximately 200 miles south of Manila and is very close to the major island of Panay. Its white sand beaches and direct flights from all over Asia, have made it one of the Philippines most popular tourist destinations. White Beach is the longest beach on Boracay and extends 4 km on west side of the islands.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


More than 2,000 species of fish are found in the Philippine waters. Both the biggest and the smallest fish in the world are found in the waters of the Philippines. The whale shark (Rhineodon typus), the largest fish, weighs several tons and measures 15.24 meters or more in length when fully grown. The dwarf pygmy (Pandaka pygmaea) the smallest fish in the world is less than 10 millimeters in length. The endangered Sinarapan (listichthys luzonensis), the smallest commercial fish in the world, can also be found in Lake Buhi, in the Bicol region. Aside from fish, other marine products such as shells, crabs, shrimps, corals, pearls are so abundant in the Philippine waters. Seafood lovers will surely find their delights, fresh and reasonably priced, wherever they are in the country.

It is said that close to twenty percent of the worlds more than 60,000 species of shells can be found in the archipelago. Not surprisingly, the rarest shell (Connus gloriamaris), the smallest (Pisidum) and the largest (Tridacna gigas) shell, are all found in the Philippine waters. Philippine pearls are also considered among the finest in the worlds. The largest pearl in the world, known as the "Pearl of Allah," measuring more than 22.86 centimeters long and 12.7 centimeters in diameter and weighing 6.3 kilograms was found by a Filipino diver in the Palawan Sea. Its value was approximated at US$40-42 million as of May 1984.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Do you know how rich the Philippine Forest is? Theres a lot of species still yet to discovered. 

The Philippine forests boast of its rich flora and fauna. It is a haven for almost 4,000 species of trees, about 10,000 species of flowering plants and ferns, 580 species of birds, and 25,000 species of insects. The biggest Philippine bird, Sharpe’s Crane (Cruz antigone sharpei) is almost as tall as a man. The monkey-eating eagle, found in the jungles of Mindanao is the largest eagle in the world. The Philippine Falconet (Microhierax erythrogonys), less than seven centimeters long is said to be the world’s smallest falcon. The smallest monkey in the world, the tarsius, the mouse deer, the smallest deer in the world which is located in Palawan and the Philippine tamaraw (Anoa mindorensis) of Mindoro are some of the unique animals that can only be found in the Philippine forests. The largest flower in the world, thepungapung can also be found in the Philippines. It has a diameter of 30 centimeters and grows in Mindanao’s forests. The most famous of the Philippine trees is the Narra (Pterocarpus indicus), also the Philippine national tree. Aside from its grand beauty and symmetry it is reputed for its durability, no doubt it has become a favorite material for furniture makers.

Do you have an idea how to protect our mother nature? Is there something else we can do to stop illegal and harmful activities in our forests? Theres a way we can both do in order to appreciate nature and earn something, it can be in form of money or even in form wealth referring to the benefits of having a good health and abundant flora and fauna resources. You can be engaged in outdoor activities like trekking, zip lining, rappelling and even rock climbing. Now, in your opinion how can you help your community in preserving and protecting forest and at the same time promoting the wonders of flora and fauna?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


The "Pearl of the Orient", as it is popularly known throughout the world, speaks ofthe Philippines unique riches and beauty. Many times was it mentioned as the richestland in the world. Its fertile soil, capable of producing a wide variety of crops, thefavorable tropical climate envied by the westerners and the rich natural resources areendowments not enjoyed by most countries in the world. With these naturalendowments, needless to say, agriculture plays a vital role in the country’sdevelopment. Its fertile arable land is said to be at 180 million square kilometers, nearly70 percent of the total land area. Of this arable land, more than 160 million squarekilometers are forests. In Asia, the Philippines ranks third in forest reserves next toIndonesia and Japan. Unfortunately, the destruction of the rich Philippine forest, duemainly to illegal logging activities and the practice ofkaingin, has been proceeding atthe rate of 1,700,000 square kilometers per year. If this could not be prevented, at thisrate, the Philippines would be totally deforested within a few decades.

As it is situated in the earthquake belt of the Pacific, the country is rocked fromtime to time by seismic tremors and volcanic eruptions. The Philippine Fault, the biggestof its seismic faults, runs from Luzon to Mindanao. Of the more than a hundredvolcanoes in the country, 22 are said to be active. The most famous of these volcanoesare Mount Mayon in Bicol, which is known for its perfect symmetry; Taal Volcano,situated at the center of Taal Lake and reputed to be the smallest volcano on earth; andMount Pinatubo whose eruption in 1991 is deemed as the world’s worst volcaniceruption of the 20th century. It left more than one million Filipinos homeless, and itsfumes affected the weather and the ozone layer throughout the world.

The country has rich deposits of gold, silver, copper, and many other expensive metals and minerals. It has the biggest deposit of chromite, the largest deposit of nickel and one of the richest undeveloped iron ore deposits in the world. Gold, silver and other precious stones have been found all over the country in enormous amounts. The Philippine climate is one of the best tropical climates in the world. In fact, it is one place on earth where flowers bloom all year round. There are only two seasons, the dry and the wet. March to June is the dry season. It is humid but tolerable. The average daytime temperature is at 30 to 35 degrees centigrade. The wet season is from June to October. Strong winds and heavy rains visit the islands of the Philippines during this season. Being situated close to the typhoon belt, preparing for the strong wind, rain, and floods has become a way of life during the wet season. If rain is a blessing, the Philippines is one of the most blessed countries. It hold the world s record for the heaviest 24- hour rainfall of 979 millimeters experienced in Manila on October 17, 1967.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What Makes A Cultural Entrepreneur?

After blogging about cultural entrepreneurship last November 13, many fellow-advocates and multiply-ers inquired who we perceived qualified as 'cultural entrepreneurs'. We said... "Actually there are many...". Our country has a lot of potential cultural entrepreneurs. They just have to embrace a broader outlook for for the arts industry and what it can do to society. It's not really just selling the artist's product, it's also awakening a wider market for arts with impact that equally wakes up society with a new passion. Because more than arts, it's about culture.

Culture is very important and is seen to provide social cohesion. It is not just a source of jobs and income but also a sense of confidence and belonging. Taking this into account cultural entrepreneurs are said to revive and bring life back into cities, working within networks and creative clusters to maximise output. Cultural entrepreneurs ‘have a passion for the culture, traditions, talent and creators…[and think of innovative] out of ordinary ways to achieve solutions.

Does this set them apart from all other entrepreneurs? Is it the passion they hold for the arts and circuits in which they work? I believe that all art promoters, gallery owners, cultural event organizers, et. al. holds passion for the action and output they are producing whether it is for an artistic work of art or even just management based. Nonetheless business and creativity are often considered to require different skills and mind sets to succeed however entrepreneurs require an amalgamation of the two, encompassing all aspects of a business.

Cultural entrepreneurs are learners, doers and visionaries. Due to less bureaucratic restraints and levels in management ‘cultural entrepreneurs’ are able to recognize the need not only to innovate but to deliver and disseminate new ideas to art customers and enthusiasts.

As mentioned in a previous blog article here in this homepage, a good cultural entrepreneur may have the basic traits of a corporate entrepreneur --- like having a vision for exploring out-of-the-box opportunities for arts and cultural products. Regular characteristics of this type of person includes:

* The tenacity and drive
* A strong Passion
* Good organizing skills Skill at organizing
* A Future orientation – the ability to visualize opportunities in the future
* Placing value of achievement over money
* And having a strong confidence in their ability to succeed

Moreso, a cultural entrepreneur's characteristics not only include the traits mentioned above, they also encompass the following:

* They are independent!
* Their work and non-work issues are packaged together.
* They are collaborative and work together as independents and as clusters.
* They are mostly socially engage with outside issues.
* They use idea exchange as a cultural currency.
* They build networks, share information and resources.
* They are also interested in business' effects on society.

What mainly differentiates them from the classic corporate entrepreneur is the fact that their motivations are less profit driven and more cultural driven providing a more meaningful approach to business. An entrepreneurial approach helps to generate possibilities and plan accordingly. Some commentators argue that cultural entrepreneurs usually take a project-based outlook, rather than managing a single business.

Above the promotion of arts, arriving at creative solutions is what cultural entrepreneurship is all about. Cultural entrepreneurs should have a flair for creative thinking which can be instrumental in solving problems --- of individual artists and organizations --- with models that could possibly work for the sector. problems They may experience difficulties in the promotion and distribution of art products, so oftentimes they do this themselves. Sometimes it may even be necessary for cultural entrepreneurs to diversify into other aspects of their industry, in order to remove obstacles and help the art business succeed.

All entrepreneurs take risks... but the planning, implementation and creative process appears to be more fluid and active in the cultural entrepreneurial approach. The focus on value and converging that with technology and the economy seems to be the secret behind the success of a cultural entrepreneur. The need to understand that it is not just about attracting new business, increasing profits or sales or that the process of running a business excludes relationships with others outside the managerial sector is extremely significant in today’s business world. The process of being a cultural entrepreneur and being cultural entrepreneurial is very much “a state of mind” and it is that drive and focus that keeps the cultural entrepreneur going regardless of what adversities come their way.

In summary, the cultural entrepreneur has all the traits of an entrepreneur with the addition of social responsibility and an altruistic attitude to business.

Go and disciples of arts. Promote artists. Capture new markets. and above all, let arts stir the passion of our countrymen.

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world. If we could only promote their art with impact, maybe we could even transform society.

Let us take Arts into the Heart of Communities.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why use Trekking poles?

Trekking poles have become very popular with hikers, hill-walkers and technical mountaineers. When used properly, they can aid in balance and overall walking efficiency.

How to use them:

Firstly it is recommended that you use two poles and not just one to walk with. The reason for this is that if used singularly and especially while wearing a backpack, an imbalance in the shoulder muscles occur which can cause pain and cramping.
They therefore should be used as pairs and adjusted to the same height. When hiking on level ground, adjust the length of the poles so that when your upper arm is hanging straight down and your hand is on the handle, your forearm should be parallel with the ground.

When climbing up a steep slope, shorten the length so that the same rule applies, and lengthen them when descending a steep slope. When descending one can lengthen the pole, but do not exceed the max limit shown on the inside slider, or the strength of the pole will be compromised. For best use, at any angle, place your hands through the wrist straps and allow your arm to rest in them, while only lightly holding the handle-grip.

Some manufacturers supply rubber caps that fit over the bottom spike. These protect the spike when walking over rock and reduce erosion on paths.

There are basically two Locking mechanism systems:

Expanding Cone Type

The more common type has an expanding cone, where when twisted the cone expands into the tube of the larger outer shaft. These work well, but are prone to corrosion and breakages. If you are in the field and a shaft section in broken, bent or the mechanism fails, the entire pole is useless.

“Flick-Lock" system

A better system is that used by Black Diamond called the “Flick-lock” system. On this system, a simple clamp is used on the outer, larger shaft of each section. It is not prone to malfunction and it means that if a shaft is bent or broken in-field, the damaged section can be broken off and then re-inserted into the larger shaft and locked again - a huge advantage on longer trips in remote locations. Black Diamond can also supply any spare parts including new Flick-locks and bottom spikes and snow baskets.


After use pull the shafts out and clean the locking mechanism with soap and water. Then dry properly and oil any moving parts and replace the pieces together again.
In the case of twist lock systems: when in the completely closed position, do not twist and tighten the mechanisms, as it makes it difficult to release.