Philippines (2005)

My trip to the Philippines was enjoyable and, among other things, I got to hike an active volcano (Kanlaon, 2,435 m, Negros Island). Lesson learned: go on every vacation prepared. I didn't bring much hiking gear (because I didn't think I was going to do any serious hiking) and, of course, stupid me, when the opportunity presents itself, even though I wasn't ready, I jumped on it. So, it turns out this is NOT the season to do serious hiking because it's very wet and muddy. And I only had running shoes with me! Nevertheless, I went up with a couple of guides (thanks Nico and Glenn!) and we summited and came back down within 24 hours (the night on the shoulder near the top was coooold and wet!). The trail was treacherous--steep, slippery, and impassable in some parts. It's a good thing Glenn had a machete to clear the way in some places and/or chop steps on steep slippery slopes with nothing to grab onto. Another lesson learned--when you slip, fall, and slide, don't grab onto any old branch--you're in the jungle and bound to grab onto something with a million thorns on it! Also, do not get sunburned the day before you do a serious hike. In any case, it was a unique and challenging experience and I'm so glad I was fortunate enough to do the hike and see the beautiful countryside as well as a true jungle canopy. I have to say, coming back to freezing Boston after a tropical vacation wasn't easy.