MANILA, Philippines – What is it with rock climbing?
Not a few travelers I know have tried it, or have it on their bucket lists. I myself had it on mine, and when I finally tried it, I officially became an advocate — or at least someone who staunchly believes that every person should do it.
Here’s why you should try rock climbing at least once:
1. Rock climbing gives a rush and a feeling of triumph like no other
If you want effortless adrenaline rush, activities like ziplining or parasailing are perfect for you. If you want to enjoy challenging trails, breathtaking sceneries and the thrill of reaching the top, then mountain climbing is the perfect activity.
But rock climbing is more than that. For mountaineer, rock climber and pastor Noel Suministrado, it is the “next level” to climbing mountains.
Facing a vertical wall, going against gravity and sometimes making do with tiny and seemingly impossible footholds and handholds (and slamming against the rock if you don’t control your fall) are just some of the challenges. But when you reach the top, it is a rush and sense of accomplishment like no other.
Here is a video clip of a rock climber in action, as she climbs according to guides’ instructions. This was taken at El Nido, Palawan:
Remember those photos and illustrations which use rock climbing for success and inspirational quotes? When I finished my first climb, I finally understood why: rock climbing is a physically, mentally and (I would say) emotionally demanding activity.
Finishing a route is a certified confidence booster; after scaling that rock face head on, I knew I could take on anything. That moment of triumph of mine on the rocks provides me much-needed encouragement whenever I am plagued by self-doubt.
So if you want adrenaline rush, a challenge and the sweetest taste of success that is worth replaying in your mind over and over, try rock climbing.
2. It’ll teach you to trust — plus other life lessons
If you are big on retreats and personal development or success workshops, you might be surprised at the life lessons from rock climbing you can take home. In addition to persistence and not giving up — which you need to reach the top — trust is a given.
Your life — without exaggeration — is in the hands of the belayer. He anchors you to the ground, gives you enough rope at a time for you to move on to the next foothold or handhold and, of course, catches you should you fall.
If you want to practice the art of letting go and trusting, then try rock climbing.
Go on that first climb and see just how much you can learn — perhaps not only about rock climbing, but yourself as well.
3. There are already many established rock climbing sites in the Philippines
Whether you are in Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao, there is most likely a rock climbing site you can go to. Some of the established sites are Tinandog Wall in Quezon, Wawa Gorge in Rizal, El Nido in Palawan, Putian and Nautod Walls in Dingle, Iloilo and Cantabaco in Cebu.
The one I have tried so far is Tinandog Wall in Atimonan, Quezon. Over 3 hours away from Manila, it is perfect for a day climb. It has routes for all kinds of rock climbers, from the newbie to the expert.
Tinandog Wall was almost blasted off by a quarry firm more than 10 years ago if not for the efforts of Suministrado, who wrote to appeal to the governor at the time. His efforts succeeded, and since then, he and other climbers have been helping first-timers at Tinandog.
If you want to try rock climbing at Tinandog Wall or other sites, it is best to try wall climbing first as preparation. Jogging regularly is also recommended to build endurance.
Wear clothes that protect your skin from sharp rocks and bring lots of water as you will most likely sweat from the exertion.
Don’t forget to bring your enthusiasm and your attentiveness — the latter will be handy in following your guide’s instructions.
Happy climbing! -Rappler.com
If you would like to climb Tinandog Wall or find out more about climbing there, visit Atimonan Rock Climbing.
Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips, and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.