Mt. Batolusong: Capturing Serenity, Reconnecting with Self

Gurus would say, “Don’t find yourself, create it!” In a world that changes you constantly, take it easy. Take a break. Wander if you have to, to see things in the perspective; or immerse yourself at the grandeur of Mt. Batolusong, to turn down the volume knob on life, even for a while.

Located at Tanay, Rizal, Mt. Batolusong is a minor climb with 3/9 difficulty level and 1-3 trail class. The trail starts at San Andres, to the left of the trail to Mt. Mapalad. It features grasslands and slopes on the way to its summit. As you tone muscles and collect your thoughts on the trail, you get to know that Mt. Batolusong is composed of three summits, namely, (1) the Duhatan Ridge, which is 442 meters above sea level (MASL); (2) the Mapatag Plateau, which is 663 MASL; and (3) the Rangyas Peak, which is 883 MASL.

The trek to the first summit of Mt. Batolusong is usually an hour and a half, and sort of a slight cardio challenge. As I ran for breath and kept up with the group, I remembered my friends, missed them, and wished they were with me. My mind drifted from here and there, bounced back, and went to and fro. As I wondered why the hike should be fast-paced, pondered on the wisdom of some reality, and contemplated on every thought in between I learned that our group has reached the second summit of Mt. Batolusong.

An hour must have passed me by, as the trek to Mapatag Plateau, usually consists. It is meadowy grasslands, where hikers spend the night and where most photo ops take place. I loved people-gazing, noting new faces, observing their reactions from a distance, and listening to their punchlines. Most of all, I loved the cool breeze, the greenery around me, the concept that Someone Divine must have created this wonderful place, where there is quiet, peace and tranquility.

Mt. Batolusong’s Rangyas Peak requires 20 to 30 minutes. It’s rock climbing, and you climb through a rope. I remembered the rock rapelling I had at Mt. Damas. But, it doesn’t even compare. At most, it resembles Mt. Maculot’s Rockies, except that the summit overlooks the nearby provinces of Laguna, Quezon and Rizal itself. In awe of such marvelous creation, I realized that mountain-climbing isn’t like stadiums where we marathon to display our achievements. Mountains are like cathedrals where we practice our religion.

As we took our descent, I realized further that you really neither have to find nor create yourself, as gurus often say. Sometimes, you just have to reconnect, the way you do to a dear friend, whom you lost touch of. Why would it matter? What you have is yourself alone (aside from your God). So, when vanities and all afflictions of spirit are gone, it works wonders if you are your own best friend.

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