We used to live in Rodriguez, Rizal AKA Montalban. Each day, I remember waking up to a glorious view of the mountain right outside my room’s window – Mt. Binacayan is one of them.
Imagine bright sunlight, cool breeze and a picturesque mountain view every morning of your life – that is the attractive feature that sets our house apart from any other places.
Before you mistake this post for a real estate advertisement, I’d like to jump to the reason why I wanted to write this blog today, a day after climbing that mountain beside our house.
And that is, I want to remember the feeling of humility that enveloped me in the process of this feat. I want to share it with anyone who may stumble upon this blog one day in hopes to inspire, in one small way or another.
It was still dark when we left our house in the city, from where we drove 45 mins. towards Wawa with the goal of seeing the sun rise from an excellent vantage.
In the years I had stayed in Montalban, not once did I ever go beyond our subdivision, where the nature-filled Brgy. Wawa is. It was my sister and I’s first time to dare explore “what lies ahead” one Friday morning.
We aimed for fun and thrill, not expecting that in return, we’ll be thrown with so much more. Lessons on humility in particular.
So here I share the 5 humbling lessons I gained from climbing Mt. Binacayan in Rodriguez, Rizal
We know nothing
It is common for tour guides to ask “How many mountains have you climbed before this?” I told them that I had climbed several before Mt. Binacayan, even citing Mt. Pulag as a major, even when I fully know that I only trekked the easiest trail when I went there.
The guides ask this so they can at least measure how well we can keep up on the trail ahead.
But you know, every mountain is different. And Mt. Binacayan, in particular, serves its version of difficulty. It was the first time I’ve experienced climbing a limestone and bamboo-filled trail in exchange for the usual mud and rocks.
And it felt like I was climbing a mountain for the first time in my life. Technically, it didn’t matter how many mountains I’ve climbed before this. I felt like I was learning the basics and making mistakes in the process.
I was the same person but faced with a different kind of challenge. I knew nothing about this mountain, and that alone is humbling in itself. It tells us that there are more things to learn than what we already think we know.
2. We are not invincible
Sometimes, we tend to feel so great about ourselves, especially after winning so many battles in life. Even though we do not do it intentionally, we somehow feel over confident that something as easy as “a mountain in Rizal”, which is not even half of the highest peak in Luzon, couldn’t dare scratch you.
The sharp limestone formations didn’t look as if it’s something to belittle at all. They all looked rough and sharp and can hurt every proud person who dares challenge its difficulty.
Along the trail, I sprained my ankle and bumped my head which, though I do not blame from feeling over confident, I will simply charge to the humbling lesson that even though we think we can make it up and down the mountain impressively, it won’t guarantee that we will be immune to injuries. (Don’t worry I am ok. haha)
3. We are not that great after all
The higher we climb, the smaller we feel. That is the truth.
The more we see the vastness of God’s creation, the more we feel like a small dot in this life.
4. There are things prettier and greater than ourselves
When we pose for that perfect portrait, we realize how much of a photobomber we can all be. Seriously, nothing is as pretty as the background.
When you come home and review all the photos, you’ll realize that nothing could have looked better without that picture-perfect background. And well, we don’t compete with nature! 🙂
5. We are nothing.
Psalm 103:14 says “For He (our Father) knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust”. When we visit mountains, we do not come to challenge it nor to destroy it.
We come to appreciate its natural beauty and be stewards of its preservation. After all, God made all things from dust.
No matter how we describe our status in life right now, rich, poor, educated or not, white or black, we all have one common denominator – and that is, we are made by God to be above our own troubles but not above anything or anyone.
I focus on humility because it is rare to feel humble amid life’s accomplishments. Even for mountaineers. Some people who conquer mountains tend to feel powerful after finally climbing so much.
People who have made it across continents sometimes find themselves more superior to others who stayed home all their life. The poor who have recently had something to gain may lose his path once he uses it to the disadvantage of others. The rich who thinks poorly of others and highly only of himself may somehow feel something amiss in their not-so-perfect life.
In short, God made us great, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:12)
Happy traveling, pals!
HOW TO GET TO MT. BINACAYAN in another blog entry, another time. 🙂