Team Bang Hike For A Cause II: Finding Redemption In Hiking
According to scientific studies, an average adult makes around 35,000 decisions a day. In my earlier days as an adult, I’ve probably screwed up 75 percent of those every day decisions. I admit – I have a rather dark past that I rarely mention to my squad – Team Bang – and my newly-met friends.
Enticed by the bright lights, glitz and glamour of my young professional life, I was selfishly living on the fast lane, driving my business and reputation into the ground. I’ve done a slew of crazy things that led to my eventual fall – alcohol overindulgence, fornications, nicotine consumption and a whole lot more. I was self-destructing and was just stuck in a toxic environment surrounded by baby-face hustlers, real-life assassins, cheating husbands and cheap hookers looking for a quickie.
And, one day, I woke up with a sunnier disposition and a renewed sense of optimism. I had an “it’s now or never” mentality, in hopes of getting back on track. I had to cleanse myself and conquer my personal demons because if not, I could end up alone in the streets homeless or in a crappy alcohol rehabilitation center. With the help of my family and then-girlfriend, I became healthier and wiser, day by day by following a Straight Edge lifestyle. And soon, I developed a more positive outlook in life, thanks to my adventures and trips.
Today, I’m still a naïve, young (not quite), dumb and broke dude, with a new addiction. This time, however, my new addiction has been making quite a positive impact to a handful of people. From making kids smile in outreach programs to helping lost souls find love (Paulyn love team), my addiction to hiking has amazingly become a godsend to tons of people in my current hometown – Cebu.
I’ve already found inner peace, and I’ve, in fact, made amends to the people I’ve wronged before. And, I just want to keep things rolling by sharing happiness in ways that echo Team Bang’s cheery spirit. That’s why yours truly, the rest of Team Bang Cebu, and Demi organized another hike for a cause for all the grade 1 students of Bagalnga Integrated Elementary School.
Our Grant A Wish This Christmas experience:
Drained and riddled with flu, I didn’t have the usual kick or dynamics that I usually have, when I travel or hike. Consecutive weekends of hikes, adventures and trips have finally taken a toll on me mentally and physically. Not to mention, I’ve been extremely busy lately adulting, catching up on my freelance work and making some investments for my family.
I was an utter mess, out of sync, and completely checked out. Even so, I knew we were going to nail this one. After all, I have a dynamic team loaded with savvy and talented individuals.
And, I was exactly right! From the get-go, we were clicking, working together like a well-oiled machine. Truthfully, our program was a little messy and wasn’t the way we envisioned it would be, with all the sudden and unexpected changes. But, guess what? Teamwork always prevails!
And, it wasn’t Team Bang doing all the work for this momentous event. From bloggers like my favorite Marj or AKA Dakilanglaagan to Sugbo Trekkers Group, there were over 45 people who joined me for this outreach program. As much as I want to mention everyone joining the event, I simply can’t name them all in one blog post.
The theme for our event was “Grant A Wish This Christmas”. So, basically, each kid listed in our program had a ninong or ninang who would grant their wish for this Yuletide season.
Seeing the smiles on the faces of these children on our program was an absolute joy to watch. I saw pure and unadulterated happiness, as they unveil and unwrap their presents.
Not only did they each get a gift, but they also got snacks, sweets and school supplies from tons of kind-hearted donors. And, by the way, I’d like to say everyone who donated a big “thank you” for making our hike a cause even more meaningful.
The rest of the team was having a blast as well, sharing their blessings and entertaining the kids with typical parlor games.
As for me, I was feeling bit better, once I saw everyone smiling and sharing the love. What’s more, I got a good warm up, by shooting hoops with miss Louise Sanlad and a couple of kiddos.
Not everybody in class was present for the event, though. And since there were plenty of goodies left in the table, we gave it to other non-grade-1 children who were checking out the event.
Obviously, they were delighted to grab these freebies.
With the first part of our event in the books, we wasted no time, and went on with the second half of our program – the hike to Holy Cross Tagaytay.
Leading the charge for a group of more than 40 people wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. With a joyful team armed with seasoned hikers, it felt like a breeze and indeed an exciting experience.
Moments later, we arrived at the first stop of our hike – Bungtod Panangban.
We were enjoying the view, company and our lunch, as we were taking a breather on the hill. But, soon after, we realized that four hikers – Jan, Jeldy, Samsam and Gessele – went on a different path on our way to the hill.
Fortunately, Maria Salve and Shiela made contact with the quartet via text messaging. As it turned out, they were already a few meters away from the gigantic cross, the moment Salve texted them.
And so, we hit the trail leading to Holy Cross Tagaytay, passing by a ton of familiar scenes.
As we were making our way to the top, Rollie told me how I, in my own small way, have helped him in his hikes. Furthermore, he told that he learned quite a lot reading from blogs. And, to me, Rollie’s words were a testament that I’ve been something beneficial and helpful, in spite of my not-so beautiful past.
Ultimately, we arrived at Holy Cross Tagaytay, where Jan and the rest of his gang waited for us.
And immediately, Jan apologized for taking the wrong the road to the peak.
Jan made a mistake. So what? We all do! I won’t ruin their moment and adventure by lecturing them about the hiking traditions of our team. And besides, I was really glad that they had a fascinating adventure, exploring the offbeat trails of Compostela, Cebu.
Afterwards, we just chilled, indulge on the fascinating sights and talk a bunch of things, including Idol’s epic “accidental bump-ins”.
And though it was a bit crowded and noisy, I did have a chance to reflect and think deeply about my future with Team Bang.
Days before the hike, I’ve made a decision to leave Team Bang. Even with all the fun times and crazy experiences we’ve had, I just felt that I needed a change of scenery. Furthermore, as an introvert, it can be pretty energy-draining to be surrounded by so many people. That’s the main reason why I don’t join them on their karaoke sessions, movie nights and drinking sprees.
And, I kind of miss my life as being a solo traveler too. Ever since childhood, I’ve always done things on own my own. I can be extremely happy dining in a restaurant, watching a movie and exploring a city alone. Some find it weird, but the reality is I’ve been doing it my whole life.
But, after logging a successful outreach program, I realized that the world doesn’t need another solo traveler who preaches about the beauty of being alone. The world needs more unselfish people who can lead, serve and spark extraordinary events like Team Bang’s hike for a cause.
I figured out that I can make a bigger difference spearheading Team Bang than seeing the world as a solo traveler.
Then, I also learned that all those shortcomings and mistakes in my younger years weren’t so bad, after all.
All those dark moments, failures of being a leader and unsuccessful business ventures have made me a better person. Plus, my lapses taught me to clarify what I really want and how I want to live.
And yes folks, I am, for the first time, embracing this role. Maybe, this is my true calling, my shot at redemption, or an integral part of my journey. Although we’re moving to Bohol soon, I’ll remain with Team Bang, as long as they need me. Cebu is just a quick boat ride away from my future hometown, anyway. In other words, I will remain a staple of the team and still organize hikes and outreach programs in Cebu.
As I’ve said before, you can never undo what already has been done. Life is not like your typical mobile photo editor where you can always hit the “undo” button whenever you make a mistake. But every day, we are given a chance to redeem ourselves, change our life, and make everyone around us better. So, the next time you wake up in the morning, jump out of the bed with optimism, and drink that damn cup of coffee.