Batch 2017 (where I belong) of the Metropolitan Mountaineering Society (MMS) has come full circle last weekend when we attended the first weekend of the six month Basic Mountaineering course conducted by MMS. A year ago, we were exactly at these trainees’ place.
We have sixteen new batch of trainees for 2018 for the first weekend of training held at Balete Falls in Amadeo Cavite, and the number will continue to grow as we are still accepting trainees until the First Aid and Basic Life Support lectures on February 3-4, 2018 which will be held at the RITM lobby in Alabang. (Correction: We are still accepting trainees until the first minor climb on February 17-18, 2018). The sixteen trainees were: 1. Vin Obero 2.June Pearl Dela Cruz 3.Fhilpol Villanueva 4.Paula De Guzman 5.Lala Montinola 6.Noy Dollete 7.Paulo Valero 8.Cha Banes 9.Ish Cruz 10.Cindy Ferrer 11. Hero Louie M. Baluyot 12. Mary Joy Salayog 13. Christian Loyola 14. Maria Angelica Tacorda 15.Marie Kris N. Felipe 16. Ricky Cachapero. This activity was headed by my batchmates Dolfo Roxas and Mark Kenneth Esguerra as the team leader and assistant team leader, respectively with the guidance of the training committee head Eduardo Villanueva and the members of the executive committee who were also present.
After the usual introductions, I was looking forward to the lecture of my batchmate Norman Cyrus P. David aka Chi on basic backpacking. But before Chi spoke I received an important call. By the time I finished talking over the phone, Chi’s lecture was also over. And then the lechon arrived. We had a debate where to place the lechon: on our table or on another table. In the end, we decided to place the lechon on our table so that we can make sure that no fly lands on it. We opened the aluminum foil and then the Manila paper that wrapped the lechon. We expected to see an apple on the pig’s mouth. Since there was none, someone put an empty bottle of beer inside the mouth of the poor pig. Then we began pinching the skin. When dinner time came, the lechon was brought to the lecture hall for sharing. For so little a pig and so many of us, we were not able to consume the lechon. It even survived the ten cases of beer afterwards.
My batch had our dance presentation. It was choreographed by our better dancers Naneth Pecson, Nik Uy, and Mark Kenneth Esguerra. I don’t know who else. This is the dance presentation that won them the best presentation during our BMC last year and the whole batch adopted it as our bacth dance. I don’t really know the choreography but I still joined as long as I was at the back while Ken, Abbie, Dolfo, et al were in front. They must have noticed that I, Chi, and Aldrin’s body were so stiff that after the batch dance, our seniors requested that we dance again. They always want to have some fun with the way we dance. Accompanied by Ken, we obliged but before the end of the music we left the center to sit knowing that we were not really a good sight to look at. Long even stood up, approached me and made a gesture of turning a key to my implant battery on my chest, perhaps to make my moves smoother. Of course, he was disappointed.
As the custom in MMS, we interview the trainees on the first night of their training. After the interview, my batchmates Karis, Tin, Zette, Jo, Jhoan, and Abbie sang with Dolfo who played the guitar by the side of the lecture hall. When Aldrin arrived from taking a bath, we had our batch picture taken in the hall with the MMS banner as our background.
Then, we went back to singing again. I was on my way to my tent when, in the parking lot next to the campsite, our President Roy Lopez, our Vice-President Mau Romarate, Emoi Dectatoria, Arin Dismebrana, Ana Labao, among others, were surrounding Ricardo Prudencio or popularly known as Papa Ding playing the guitar. Abbie and Aldrin our batch videographer and photographers who left us in the lecture hall to sleep were also there. I asked Abbie, I thought you were sleeping? She said she had a different job now. Taga-tagay ng inumin.
At 4:30 in the morning, Andres Bulay III our current PRO was shouting at every trainee to wake up for the morning jog. I was half-dreaming that I thought he was shouting for me to get up.
At six am, the trainees were back from a jog for their diagnostic test composed of sit-ups, push-ups, etc. I woke up to find the flysheet of my tent wet with rain the night before. But contrary to the warning that the place was cold, it was actually hot inside my tent that I took off my jacket.
After breakfast, we listened to the lecture on how to use a two-way radio, etiquette, etc from Mark Padil. Then they had the simulation for the use of the radio.
After lunch, the trainees were called to the lecture hall for the last activity. As customary in MMS, we hear the feedback from our participants. And except for the complaints of some of the ladies who find the toilet far from the campsite, and another one who wanted us to arrange the lectures so as not to have too long a break, we all had good feedback. They feel taken cared of, they were accommodated, and feel welcomed and belonged. The same reason why I joined MMS after being a guests in mms open climbs: first in Mt. Iglit, second in Bakun, and third in Madjaas. And of course, mms is composed of beautiful men and women where I know I belong. This was echoed by one of the participants who heard me speak few weeks ago in my testimonial during the orientation. We told them not to worry because next year they will be the one who will arrange the venue. They should take note of their complaints and make sure that the 2019 trainees will not have the same complaints as theirs.
Batch 2018 had their pictures outside. Then Batch 2013 where my Ninong Mau and Ninang Leigh belong had their pictures too. I want to be adopted by them so I joined. Then everybody all at once had our pictures before we leave to our respective houses.
Training Policies – Jayson Jogno
Who is MMS? / Road to becomming a Successful MMS Member – Long Henson
Intro to Phil. Mountaineering – Jayson Jogno
Leave No Trace Principle – Edwin Esguerra
LECTURE Part 2
Physical Fitness and Nutrition – Doc Thom Suarez
Basic Backpacking Gears – Chi David
Trail Movement/Climb Organization – Ryan Ventura
Camp Management – Emma Atienza
Introduction to Ropemanship – Andres Bulay IV
Radio Operation, Etiquette, etc – Mark Padil
The next activity is the First Aid and Basic Life Support lectures on February 3-4. The days are so slow, it moves almost like a turtle for someone like me who is so excited to see my MMS family again. I had a genetic disease called dystonia that required brain operation to insert an implant in my head and the battery in my chest. My Metropolitan Mountaineering Society family were always there for me to lift my spirit up from the time I was diagnosed with dystonia, to my hospitalization, and during my recovery. They visited me and made me videos to let me know they care and I’m not alone. I’m more excited than the trainees for the next activity.
For more photos, here is the link to my Google Photo Album of this event: https://photos.app.goo.gl/98LYJdhsUNePzRCg1