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Friday, August 19, 2011

Long Weekend for TREK Kasibu


It is time for another TREK project my friends. Some of you may not know it but for most of the communities we have served, only you have gone there to help. When you go to a TREK community project, most likely no other or very very few people have gone there to help but your group.

We have found another such isolated community in Atan a purok in Nueva Viscaya, which has seen no other mountaineering group, nor other NGO, according to their purok head. Like most untouched communities, each person we met greeted us with a smile and wishes for a good morning. The village has kept its basic values of hospitality, warmth, and curiosity. Without knowing us, they gave us their best room for us to sleep in, and even offered us their simple meal of sweet potato.

They strive to make their lives better. Nearly all the families send their children to school despite the Spartan classrooms and incomplete facilities; the school does not have electricity, decent restroom, nor running water. Such is their commitment that many students walk 2 hours each way to go to school on steep paths. Alas during “ber” months, when the rains come, attendance drops as the muddy terrain become difficult for the barefoot students to navigate.

Aside from the challenging distance, terrain, and weather, the students also have to contend with the dearth of textbooks, notebooks, pencils, and even slippers. The pursuit of education is difficult enough in many parts of the Philippines, but even more in distant tribes as in Atan Elementary School. Let us help them make their pursuit of education less challenging. Atan is remote, and it almost just you who can deliver help with a smiling face despite your aching bones.

Posted here is a list of their needs you may be able to help with. You can join us in delivering the goods on August 20-21, 2011. It is evident that they can expect no immediate help from any other group but yours.

"If not you then who? If not now, then when?" - Phillip Vera Cruz adding to Hillel 'the Elder'


The meet-up place is at Caltex in Edsa corner Boni Ave.. Register by completing your payment and signing the waiver. Collect your shirt and ID.

On our stop at Bambang we can purchase supplies for your meals and have our breakfast there.  The climb is not difficult and no prior technical preparation is required. The slope is about 30 degrees almost throughout the whole trail. The path is wide and not heavily vegetated. There is also no tree cover so an umbrella will make your hike more comfortable. It is about 4 hours of relaxed pace including rests. If we are able to secure a 4x4 we can cut the travel time by about 3 hours.

We will sleep in the classrooms but if you are sensitive to noise and relatively cramped areas, there is a campsite with soft short-grass. Arrange your sleeping area such that your head is perpendicular to the long side of wall of the classroom to maximize space. Leave your footwear outside the classroom, but you opt to bring them in, put it in a plastic bag.

There is spring water on the trail and at the campsite.  When we get to the site secure your packs against rain and arrange your sleeping space.  After a short rest, you can eat your packed lunch and be ready to help out in the preparation which includes setting up banners and banderitas, preparing the party food, and unpacking the donations.

A program will then follow which includes games for the children and culminate in the distribution of the school supplies. Good vibes is mandatory. After the closing remarks, people can then relax further and just enjoy the area.

The next day, after breakfast, we head down to the falls which is on the way to the jump-off.  Please be mindful that the falls area can be slippery and dangerous. There is no place to clean up for the way home except by the falls. An area will be arranged to allow people to change to clean dry clothes in.

FRIDAY  (August 19)

10:00 Meet up
10:30 Loading of donations
11:00 ETD Manila

SATURDAY (August 20)

6:00 ETA Bangbang/Breakfast
7:00 ETD Bangbang
7:30 ETA Jump-off
11:30 ETA Atan/Pitch tents
12:00 Lunch (volunteers)
1:30 Lunch
2:00 Program start
5:00 Program ends
6:00 Set-up camp
7:00 Prepare dinner
8:00 Dinner/Socials
9:00 Lights out

SUNDAY (August 21)

7:00 Break fast
9:00 Break camp
10:00 ETD Atan
12:00 ETA Ebralin falls/Lunch
4:00 Clean up
4:30 ETD Antutot Coop
7:00 Dinner break
11:00 ETA Manila

Shelter: Tent is optional
Sleeping mat/bag
Food: packed lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch (4 meals)
Personal medication
Sleeping clothes (this can be your clothes for the way home)
Cook set
Mess kit
Rain gear
1 liter of water
flashlight or headlamp
Make sure you have room in your pack to carry a small school backpack


While it may be not ideal, it has been the custom to allow alcohol consumption before, during, and after the event. However, some guidelines must be followed.

1. One the bus: Merry making with alcohol is permissible until midnight. Thereafter some may continue in silence. If the drinking starts to disturb other people then it will be stopped. There will be 2 buses and those who don’t want to be disturbed by those drinking can ride bus designated alcohol-free.

2. On the site: No drinking will be allowed until after the program, and after permission from the local leaders has been secured. People will be allowed to smile and even laugh loudly until 9 pm after which only smiles and giggles are allowed.

3. At the waterfalls: Drinking is allowed and people can be as noisy as they want, subject to local customs and the personal safety of the party drinking and of the other participants.

4. On the way home: No drinking is allowed so people can rest.

5. Nothing in the above rules shall be interpreted to prevent the EL, from asking a participant to stop imbibing alcohol or to stop his rumpus behavior.

Everything is free just look for it