Your Mountain Is Different From Mine

“This is the hardest climb among all that I have conquered.”

“No, this is easier than the last one.”

Last January 21, I climbed Mt. Daraitan with my daughter, sister and office colleagues. I wasn’t expecting the challenges I encountered along the trail. It was after all not my first. I was thinking that because some trail tour providers ranked the difficulty slightly lower than those that I have conquered previously, I would find this easier. However, I found this more challenging than my other climbs.

I was discussing the difficulty of the climb with my daughter. And since she was with me in all my climbs (except one) I thought that she would agree with my observations. But she did not. She found the trek to Mt. Nagsasa much harder than that of Mt. Daraitan.

I insisted that the trail which was peppered with sharp rocks made the Mt. Daraitan climb really hard. I even gave a morbid example of one of us tripping along the trail where our face might accidentally hit a sharp rock. She insisted though that it was not that hard. She recollected to me the hot, long and sandy trail of Mt. Nagsasa. In that trek, the absence of trees that could offer its foliage as natural shed aggravated (for her) the challenges — the heat and scalding sand under your feet.

Taken at the summit with the whole group

By the way, I find that a bit weird since she is a soccer player who spent so many hours in all her soccer practice sessions and tournaments since she was 4-years old. I assumed that she is used to be under the heat of the sun.

It dawned on me then that we have different take on how things are. Or, precisely, how we defined our challenges. Mine was the dangers brought by sharp rocks along the trail. She, nonetheless, focused on the inconvenience brought by the long, hot trek. That made me better understand why, before the climb, she kept asking if the trail along Mt. Daraitan is similar to that of Mt. Nagsasa.

And relating this to how we lead our lives, it is actually comparable to how we see our own challenges (and life, in general).

We most of the time had conflicts with the people around us.

The conflicts arise because we often times fail to realize that we all have different take on things. How you see what comes along your way will most likely be different using the eyes of another person right beside you. This is brought by our differing “social context”.

Our “social context” varies because of certain factors, which includes upbringing, experience and education — to name few of these. And these differences most of the time lead to conflicts and (major) disagreements.

One of the highlights of our trek — the Tinapak River

Friends, this is what I would hope you take from this article.

I believe that in our society the better alternative is to be mindful of these differences. We should always aim to never compare ourselves with others. We have to accept who we are, and we just have to accept who everybody else is.

One more thing…

Despite the differences on how we see our mountains, we need to recognize that every mountain top is within your reach. You just have to keep on climbing despite the difficulties you encounter along the trail.

Don’t stop. Keep on pressing forward.

The author at the summit

PS: Featured image was taken from

Conquering Your Mountains — A Realization in Mt. Ulap Trek


“Are we there yet? How many more minutes?”


Last December 29 to 30, I conquered Mt. Ulap with my daughter and some friends. It was an around 4-hour trek to the camp site, and around 3-hour trek down to where our transport back to Manila was waiting.

It was an experience that I would treasure.

…breath-taking view of the sea of clouds that surrounded the summit of the mountain

…the laughter that was shared among the trekkers

…it was my first camping experience with my daughter

First photo taken during the trek

As a whole all went fine, except for one thing.

The tent that was claimed to be good for six persons (which I bought online for 10 USD) was not able to put up with the wind and rain at the campsite. We had to squeeze ourselves at 4 o’clock in the morning in the other smaller tent that could accommodate only two people — all six of us — until the rain stopped at 6 o’clock. I was told that I bought a “beach” tent, and not an “all-weather” tent.

How would I know? It was my first time to go camping, and I really thought that I got a bargain buying that for just 10 USD — compared to the 200 USD-tent available in the camping supplies store. And the online seller told me that it was an “all-weather” tent.

I know what runs in your minds now — “gullible alert”.

But that petty glitch did not shroud the fun in the experience.

While chatting with other trekkers at the campsite

Jump shot at the summit with the group

After setting the tent

On our way down the mountain, a mind-struggle came to me. It was actually an easy and a shorter climb down from the camping site. However, in my mind, it felt harder than the climb up to the camping site. Especially after the guide said that we will reach our destination within 30 minutes. I would always ask the guide if we were almost there. I would always ask about the time, as if I had an emergency meeting waiting for me back home. Also I kept on glancing at my watch, as if it that would hasten our progress.

That last 30 minutes was the hardest part of the trek down. Every minute felt like dragging. I was straining my head all the time trying to look for indications of paved road. I kept on asking the guide about the time until our destination. And when the time stretched to beyond 30 minutes, I felt that my feet would like to stop moving and do nothing. I was tempted to say, “Let’s just stop” (which made no sense at all). I even got slipped because I was distracted.

Then, when we reached the place where the transport service was waiting for us, my issues went away. As if my mind-struggle faded in oblivion.

Friends this is what I want you to take from these words.

We all have our aspirations — becoming a well-loved CEO, a famous public servant, getting ourselves published internationally or what-have-you. One thing that we all know is that the journey to get to our destination is never easy.


Challenges will beset us — especially in our minds. We are all aware of this.

One thing though that you also need to realize is that the challenges will intensify several times harder as you come nearer your destination. Also the temptation to quit will (for certain) hound you as you push forward.

As you take steps nearer, it is important that you brazen yourselves against the urge to rest, stop or quit. Just push yourselves to keep moving forward come what may. Resist and never indulge to the temptations to veer away from your destinations. Just keep on pressing forward.

Believe me that when you get there, everything will be worth all that you’ve been through.

Jump shot at the summit

Just a word of caution…

Do this without forgetting the other important aspects of your lives — like relationships and family.

Taken near the summit with the camp site as background

Enjoying strawberry-flavored Taho at Burnham Park while waiting for our transport back to Manila

PS: Featured image was taken from “”.

Are You Distracted?

“What the heck happened to your nose?”

I do boxing sessions three times a week — alternately with dragon boat training. And during these sessions, I easily get distracted — especially during the first few months. A lot of these distractions though are quite petty. Here are some of these.

… the sweat that would trickle from my brow down to my nose

… seconds countdown to ending boxing rounds

… itching in parts of my body that suddenly appears out of nowhere

Funny thing though was that all of these distractions would suddenly disappear during breaks or as the seconds reach zero.

My dilemma with these distractions was that I couldn’t focus on what I was doing. I also realized that I was merely intent on doing the exercises for the sake of doing these — at the detriment of quality. All of these because I was paying attention to these distractions.

The first time I tried boxing (30 lbs heavier)

Often I would rub my nose with the boxing gloves every time I felt sweat trickling down my nose. This happened a lot of times that my nose would often rival that of Rudolph (the reindeer). Sometimes I would hasten my count of routines. It actually felt like the count was based on nanoseconds and not based on seconds. Or, I would always glance at the boxing timer counting the seconds down to zero. During these times, the trainer would always call my attention because there was no power from my punches.

In short, I was merely doing the sessions (for the sake of doing these). I was not getting the benefits that I should from these training sessions. So upon realizing this, I pushed myself to focus — not on the distractions but on the proper execution of the routines.

After four months

I realized that when you pushed your brain to ignore the distractions, you tend to enjoy what you are doing. And when you enjoy a lot, you tend to also ignore the time until you hear the bell. Also when you enjoy what you are doing, challenges that you encounter along the way do not matter at all. Your mind is intent on doing one thing — for you to reach your destination.

Fast tracking time, I now weigh almost 30 pounds lighter after more than four months. Of course, I also do dragon boat and run everyday. However, I believe that my discipline to focus on what I should be doing (based on my realization on boxing) helped a lot for me to reach this milestone. This realization is also applicable to what I do in dragon boat and in running, and I believe applicable to what we do in life (in general).

Friends, this is what I would like all of you to take from this.

We all have our dreams — be published, run our own business or become a champion speaker. We, however, fail to progress towards these aspirations because we pay too much attention on the distractions around us. Some of these distractions are just petty while many are most likely to offer more challenges.

It is important that you do not let your self be distracted. The key word that we need to help us reduce that gap between where we are and where we want to be is DISCIPLINE.

Discipline your mind to just do what you should be doing — be it something big or small. Focus on the task at hand, and in no time you will reach what you aspire in your life.

Believe me.


PS: Featured image was taken from