Twelve years ago, I eyed the grandest sight of a sea of clouds from the summit of Mount Pulag, the Philippine’s third highest peak. I was blown away by the natural picture. The blinding core up to its golden extensions was a spectacle of pure magic. The iced crumbles of earth under my feet and the mushroom-shaped clouds almost made me cry from excitement and happiness. On that very moment when the sun was emerging from the horizon, I started a career I never expected having… mountaineering.
Hiking up mountains to see sea of clouds fed the adventurer in me. The formation of clouds made my sunrise more special and gave me a unique morning experience at the top of Mount Arayat. The display of clouds as seen from the West Face of the dreaded Mayon Volcano cloaked the danger that loose rocks and soil, or the sudden explosion of steam, can bring.
One day, somebody told me about the ocean of clouds. I enthusiastically asked for the location. And that friend said, “book a plane ticket to somewhere else and request the counter to give you a window seat so you can witness an ocean of clouds!” I never thought of it. It totally made sense! If my love for mountaineering is anchored on sea of clouds, then I might as well consider love for flying to have an ocean of clouds. And hiking started to feel an ordinary activity. Little by little, I got tired of packing things. I got bored pitching my tent. Until I no longer do mountaineering.
This year, mountains in the province of Rizal started to become popular among the urban hikers and invaded my social media accounts. I received an invitation for the Maysawa Circuit (composed of Mount Sapari and Mount Binutasan). I was enthusiastic to see myself again brushing away the blades of grasses. But I became more and more bored as the day closes in. The week-long rain made everything worse because I know what rains could do to trails. And I extremely dislike walking on mud, not because of the intensity of washing you need to do after the climb, but the kind of stress you can get trying to stay as clean as possible. It’s ironically funny! You know it’s muddy. It’s inevitable that you’d get dirty. But you bother yourself avoiding the muddy trail.
Before the sun hit the horizon, we reached the barangay hall of Cuyambay, which also serves as the registration area before you can start trekking. You can also get guides from here.
As expected, the muddy trails were real. But the sea of clouds that can be seen from the summit of Mount Sapari was also real. Worthy of the struggle. The clouds kept on dancing with the wind.. until 9 o’clock in the morning.