A Heart Day Climb at Naopa Peak

“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.” – Barbara de Angelis.
I immediately fell in love with this quote when I asked my students to prepare some quotes fitting for the Valentine’s day. The same feeling when I am asked about how in love I am to climb mountains. Since I was introduced to this kind of hobby, I began to see it as my very soul that livens up my mundane reality. Not being so defensive, enjoying a piece of this solitude is something I would hang onto to forever.
The date was set – February 14, 2015. The place was set as well – Mt. Naopa, Naga. I have been craving to climb this mountain for so long but never had the company and more information about it so it took me just this year to finally decide to take my shot and summit the 584 MASL, Mt. Naopa.
Well, the pinching truth about working as a public school teacher is you need to complete the school days required even if it means having classes on a Saturday. Indeed, it is still quite a shock for me but then, I need to have a better grasp of my new profession before complaining my a** out of it. Regardless of that Saturday class that ended at 6:10 P.M., I scurried my feet from Olango Island all the way to Eskina Rikio, Naga. With all the heavy traffic, influx of people at the bus terminal and oh well, lovers holding hands, flowers all around, and red balloons I could glance at sometimes made me smirk secretly. As for me, knowing with pride, my Heart’s Day would be spent into something else – night trekking, and scaling another mountain.
I was cautious on that night travel yet my speech failed me when I was meters beyond the so-called “Eskina Rikio” or Rikio Junction where I would have had a motorbike ride all the way to Cogon Chapel where my friend, Sir Henrey would meet me up for a night trek up to the hills of Naopa. I was just lucky then when a good motor biker happened to ask me where I was going (his name was Paul, by the way) and took me to the junction, himself. I only had my thanks to give him. It was quite an exciting ride from Rikio to Cogon Chapel. Imagine this, for the first few minutes, I was riding into a total darkness with only the moon’s luminescence and the mountains sandwiching the road. There were some bumpy, and winding ride until I saw a festive night up in Cogon and finally met Sir Henrey and Sir July (first time I made acquaintance with).

And so began the night trek – carrying my bag which was quite heavy (packed some of my greeting cards I received from my students on that day and my clothes I used in school and three kinds of footwear and of course, my camping essentials). Besides our headlight, the moon guided us up to the top while the wind greeted us with its cold brush. Once we reached the top, I was surprised of the big company – we were a bunch of campers whom I wasn’t really familiar with. I had my meal which I deliberately savor while listening to their jokes and conversation. I was silent for the meantime but didn’t mean I was bored. I was more like being introvert than being the opposite one.
I could remember that the camp fire broke out because of the rain and we went to our tent one by one preparing to sleep the rain out and what accompanied it – the cold wind. The next thing I knew, it was already dawn where I need to find my personal space to answer the call of nature. As I glanced at the site, I could see the great backdrop – the sunrise shedding its rays to the earth, the mountains surrounding me (us) and the city that seems so tiny and consumed.
Oh! I felt screaming at the top of my lungs and thanking my decision to come and to celebrate with them. The fervor I felt when hugging the scenery was so intimate like hugging a partner whom I never have yet. (I once had and I could equate that feeling.) We had breakfast and climb some more hills and did the usual landscape photography, selfie and groufie.
Lessons learned: Never be afraid of taking a step from getting what you really love. Yes! Love is a great force more formidable than any other. My love of traveling, of conquering mountains and of enjoying life as I seem it to be surely give me enough strength to fulfill them one by one. I do need a partner to share my interest with but for the moment, let this independence be my wind beneath my wings to soar somewhere I love going.
How to get to Naopa Peak (584 MASL), Naga
1. Take the South Bus Terminal. Ask the driver to drop you by Eskina Rikio (before South General Hospital, right side, just across Petrol Gasoline station and at the junction, there is a bakery store – forgot the name though). Unfortunately, I was told that bus fee would just be 25 pesos but then I was asked to pay 40 – never argued though. But on my way home, I paid only 20 pesos – the same bus liner (Ceres Bus – non-airconditioned).
2. Eskina Rikio (Rikio Junction) – Take a habal-habal ride/motorbike ride and ask the driver to take you to Cogon Chapel, jump-off point to Naopa. Trekking Mt. Naopa is an hour or two depends on one’s pacing. Night trekking isn’t a problem but one should be familiar with the trail, of course. Well, habal-habal ride costs 35 pesos per person. I paid 80 pesos which I don’t mind at all. The driver was too kind and he drove me safely and entertaining me with information about the mountain and uh well, him being a resident there.
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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