Over the last few months, I’ve been working with my girlfriend Bianca, and with the local officials in Sabangan, to help open up a hike for her company here in Sabangan. Sabangan, is at the foot of the very high, beautiful, and forest shrouded, Mount Kalawitan.
This remote mountain, capped with miles of virgin mossy forest and two meter thick pine trees, has only been opened up in the last year to outsiders. The new Sabangan Guide School Association has had to clear deer traps and thick jungle to make the hike possible to their sacred ancestral mountain. Alas, a typhoon last November damaged their Apa base camp and destroyed their organic greenhouse.
Trailadventours (Bianca’s company) came to the rescue! They donated 5000 pesos for the restoration work. Yet, as we began planning the restoration, we found a colossal stash of trash tucked under Apa’s main hut– hundreds of bottles dating back thirty years had accumulated at the historic camp, which has been used over the decades by local hunters, Japanese Soldiers, Rebels, Filipino soldiers, rice farmers and intrepid hikers. The bottles were an ugly blemish at the beautiful location, but, also, an opportunity.
Over three days, a team came together to fix up Apa. The local councilor, Ernesto Bondad, Trail Adventours partner, Bianca Silva, Scottish backpacker Erik Jelinek, local guides Roger, Raymondo Dudds, Reggie and Gypsy and, recycling artist Russell Maier (me!). Together we camped out for three days to build the greenhouse and to clean out the bottles. Once cleaned, Russell guided the transformation of the bottles into tables, stools, glasses and lanterns to serve visitors of the camp site. The greenhouse was erected in the traditional style of a rice rest hut and organic lettuce was planted inside. Visitors will be enjoying the organic fruits (vegetables really) of our labors, for a long time to come.
Hikes to Mt. Kaliwitan began this past weekend. I’ll post another blog on that shortly.
(this post is adapted from a post that Bianca and I made on her company’s blog: http://trailadventours.com/footprints3/)