It is almost 3 years already since the last time I went to Iriga City, Camarines Sur and that’s the very first time I traveled south bound ever in my life. I’ve wanted to go back to the place and explore the beauty Mt. Mayon in Legazpi and eventually test the waters of for some water sports because I heard CWC (Camsur Water sports Complex) is famous for their cable wake boarding and water sports. I know I’ll get there in the future. 🙂
Going back in September 5-6, 2009, we joined the Tabang ASOG Project which means “Help ASOG” project organized by various outdoor clubs and that includes a Read-Along & School Outreach, Community Service, Medical and Dental Mission, as well as a Tree Planting and Clean-up of Mt. Asog, one of the more prominent mountains in the Bicol Region.
The very reason why I wanted to write about this is that I wanted to share the experience that is still fresh in my memory up until now, this was like 3 years past already. This sudden urge of me writing about this blog all started when I was managing, deleting and organizing my inbox messages on my personal email accounts like my Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail accounts. Archiving some of them to save space and get rid of the spam mails and unnecessary mails from unknown senders that I caught myself reading an email from certain Edrick Nicdao with a lists of email addresses he gathered from most participants of the said event/project including a photo album link he uploaded using Picasa and shared to everyone. Click link above.
I browsed this album and it’s good to see the memories of this gathering. It was the biggest gathering of Mountaineering clubs that I participated so far and I will never forget that event because there are many upsets, frustrations and unforgettable but manageable circumstances along the way from meet up departure and arrival.
The meet up. The meeting place of all the clubs, groups and participants is at Mall of Asia beside McDonalds so our group was one of the earliest in there. I remember I was last person to arrive in Cubao our group’s meet-up point because I had to go to UP Diliman to laminate our group ID.
Having said that all mountaineering clubs, groups and enthusiasts are all heading in MOA there was a problem with the bus that supposedly will take us to Iriga City because it was beyond the waiting hours we haven’t left and the organizers apologize for the long wait and said that sponsors of the air-conditioned bus back out and they had to rent ordinary buses that bound to Camarines Sur.
The organizers wanted to pursue with it and they asked us if we wanted to shoulder some of the fees for the fare and all agreed to it, ye-hey. The trip by land will take you about 10 hours or more so I set to my mind that it will be a long day on the bus seat knowing that it air cool but it goes well thanks to my iPod Touch and cool companions that I had with I didn’t get bored along the way though there are times that we spent time sleeping in our seat.
By the way, the name of our group that time is O’dd TrEE stands for Oddventure Travellin of Extreme Explorers this group is compose mainly of employees of Trend Micro in Consumer department including yours truly until we collaborate with other working professionals that has the same passion in climbing from companies like Accenture, Sun Power Incorporated, NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and nurses from the Heart Center of the Philippines and others that the name LOST was born.
L.O.S.T. which means League of Summiteers and Trailblazers it could also be League of Socialites and Travelers has a trademark of traversing mountains in our climbs that leads to often leads to getting lost along the trail because as much as possible our group don’t want to go back the same trail to summit a chosen mountain until descent. Enough of the brief description of our club and let’s get to the chase.
Finally we arrived at the town plaza, but we arrived late and the towns people of Iriga City said that they ready a welcome party lead by the students from the public schools that will benefit on the read-along and school outreach but they had to go home because we didn’t arrive on time and instead the mayor of the town I forgot her name already welcomed us and give us her thoughts and introduce the town to us which I didn’t hear because we were busy pitching tents and I was sleepy and very exhausted from the trip seem more like a jet lag.
We eat lunch that they ready for us it was a local fried noodle they call it “Pancit Bato” or Pancit Bicol and cake for us. After lunch, we were brief by the organizers for the activities for the day and that includes tree planting, clean up drive and read-along. We first get a seedlings from a farm and then start ascending in the foot of Mt. Asog Mountain with the guidance and supervision of LGU (Local Government Unit).
On our way to the foot of the mountain we had to take a mini truck and we were dispatch by batches. We planted the seedlings on the set up holes made by the caretakers of the mountain. The leader of LGU Unit tell us stories of the mountain like where the name Mt. Asog was derive and some mountaineers that were lost and never been found in the crater of the mountain.
After the tree planting is finish we had a group picture-taking with others including with the LGU’s and Civic volunteer group and as we descent the mountain we started the clean up drive by picking up trashes we found along the way down. After the said clean up drive we still had time and we went straight to GK 777 Village, GK which means Gawad Kalinga is a non-profit organization that continuously helping the landless, homeless and feeding the hunger through various feeding programs.
The GK Village on top of the hill was awesome and it was one of the GK site that I like so far. I’ve joined Home building projects in our company for 3 years now and I know what it is like to help the landless and because our company partnered with GK. We took pictures with the villagers and we saw the beautiful site of Mt. Asog from the top.
After the GK visit, we head back to the plaza and locals said that there are hot springs along the way or swimming pools for a cheaper price. We decided to take a bath first before going to the social night.
The gathering of all mountaineers at night before lights out, to have a chance to mingle and get to know other fellow mountaineers. At night, we ate dinner and headed to the town’s basketball gym and had a short program and introduced each outdoor clubs and we had some booze and the socials started.
Some preferred to sleep early and some partied all night, I drink a couple of shots and went to sleep because I wanted to attend the mass the next morning. Our group prepared an offering so most of us in our group hear the first mass of the day. After the mass we eat breakfast and start preparing for the climb, all of us are all excited and the most exciting and adventurous climb begins.
I wouldn’t tell the exact experience that we had but all I can say is that in our group only 3 of us was able to summit Mt. Asog and the last group to descent the mountain, that was Me, Uzi and Sir Elton John of Kayumanggi Trails. The same with what we did during the tree planting we decided to take a bath on one of the hot spring resorts of the town.
We headed back to the plaza pack our things, joined the farewell party and waited for the bus. A long 10 hour on the road followed next and all type of sleeping positions were shown just to get a comfortable on the bus I remember lying at the center island of the bus and they took a picture of me haha.
That’s it I hope you enjoyed reading my first ever travel to the South. I will not forget my stay in Bicol and the first time setting a footstep in Visayas region.
More pictures of Asog Project are uploaded on this link.
Photographers: Dingdong, Uzi, Scal and AB.