“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 “https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2013/07/13/01/07/rock-climbing-155134_960_720.png”.