There is a bunkhouse at the peak of Mt. Kitanglad (2899 MASL) in Bukidnon in Southern Philippines. Like most hotels or inns, you also need prior reservation to guarantee a slot there. However there are no quick transfers available, so you have to take a challenging trek just to reach this accommodation.
I remember that I climbed Kitanglad with the hopes of seeing a glorious sunrise, a fitting metaphor to start my year back then. But much to my surprise which later turned to dismay, it rained the entire time that fateful weekend.
Aside from a cheesy Miley Cyrus ballad, the only thing that cheered me up that afternoon was finally seeing the PAMB bunkhouse as our small party already neared the peak. It provided us the needed protection from the rain, the howling winds and the biting cold that ensued from that combination.
The bunkhouse has a working toilet, running water and a sink. It has a TV, an electric stove and a handful of kitchen implements left behind by its previous guests. It has two rooms, each of which has a couple or so bunk beds.
Each bed has a worn-out mattress, a retractable wooden cover and a dangling incandescent bulb. If you’ve seen the movie Buried, you might get the idea what it is like to sleep in such contraption. But if you also had the same stormy weather like ours, you would immediately throw away your imagined claustrophobia.
At this elevation, this kind of accommodation is already a luxury. Hardcore mountaineers who are used to prop a tent anywhere in the wild, may even frown upon the thought of spending the night in a concrete shelter such as this.
After our brief dinner, I snugged inside my chosen spot, slid shut the wooden covers and stared at my tiny, silent space. I asked myself again and again the reason behind my adventure/madness. But as I struggle between justifying and challenging my reasons, I thought that the bulb started to cheerfully sway as if it was trying to be my friend, a friend that wanted to say that “everything will make sense someday so just shut up already.”
It proved to be quite a helpful company too as its soft glow gradually warmed my tired body. At that moment of zen, I could only hear my heavy breathing which slowly eased by the minute. And before I even knew it, I was already fast asleep.
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