That Time When I Conquered Not Just A Mountain

If there’s one thing I know about myself, it is that doing things for the first time always gives me the jitters.

By nature I believe I am a scaredy cat. Though I am really, really fond of the idea of an adventure, thinking about doing it myself scares the §h¡t out of me. So oftentimes, I dismiss the idea– the truest meaning of an adventure for me is to do things for the first time– especially now that I have a family of my own. Any adrenaline-inducing activity, I always shrug off.

But then again two weekends ago, I had literally, one of the most heart-racing, unforgettable adventures of my life– I trekked Mt. Pico.


My supportive husband decided to do one last summer escape before school starts so he and my kids tagged along with me. I woke up in the middle of the night to trek while they were sound asleep back in our room at Pico De Loro Sands Hotel.


This was my very first time to trek. As per my usual self, I have so many thoughts on my mind–particularly expectations about myself and how it’s gonna be. I’ve also played what-if scenarios days prior up until that faithful morning.


What should I wear? I don’t have any hiking gear/outfits.

What if they’re fast and I’m the only one who couldn’t keep up? Dyahe meeeeehn.

I can’t breathe. What the hell will I do if I find myself losing breath? Nakakahiya to the people I’m with. I’m gonna be the COD–cause of delay.

What if I get leg cramps. Thinking about it already makes me feel weak and helpless.

I won’t be wearing hiking shoes, I’m super scared I’d slip, fall or won’t have enough traction to keep me going. 

I’m not build for trekking. Sure I workout but I know I tend to catch my breath a few minutes into doing cardio. How will I survive an hour or two of hiking??

Not that I’m super scared (medyo lang) of bugs and other insects but what if I get bitten by one and it causes me not to fully function?

Should I bring a lot of things? And by things I mean food, food and more food. I am afraid I’d get hungry.

Should I down an energy drink as soon as I wake up? I’m sure I’ll feel sluggish the moment I wake up. Baka wala akong energy.

If I sprain myself would my group be willing to carry me? Huhuhuhuhuhu.

What if I trip and accidentally fall of the mountain?? Anak ng! #&@(&*?!+#% 

I am the type of person who would always think of the worst case scenario. It’s my way of managing expectations. I’d rather this than be oh-so-confident and fail in the end.


What preparation? If you’re a first-timer like me, I would suggest go on the treadmill or walk around to build your endurance at least a week before you climb–which is what I did. I used the treadmill not to run but did inclined brisk walk to prepare myself to climb a steep slope.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s preparing for the worst. Like I said, I conditioned my mind to think of ways & solutions should I be caught up in a situation that will test my ability to respond immediately, thus my way of managing expectations is also a good way of preparation. Just in case lang naman e. Better to be prepared di ba?

On a more practical note, some simple things I did a week before my first hike includes:

Getting enough sleep. On average I get 5 hours of sleep but the week prior to our T-day (trek), I tried my hardest to hit 6-7 hours.

Eating right. Though I caved in to eating a bit of junk food because I was PMS-ing, still I doubled up on my fruit and veggie servings.

Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. I walked as much as I can. This was my way of preparing my legs for the x amount of steps I’ll be doing during the trek. But what I did though was I didn’t workout nor stressed my body the day before the trek.

Pack light, pack right. My main concern was to have energy while I’m trekking so I packed “trail food” to get me by. I mainly packed nuts (I bought Sahale nuts at Healthy Options), mushrooms chips, chocolate bar, gum, and water. I also got myself a small water mist, Biogenic alcohol, wipes, plus my tiny first aid kit which included a few pieces of band-aid, medicines & safety pins. Because I prioritised food, I even forgot to bring a towel. I ended up wiping what little sweat (yes, hind pa din todo pawis ko bilang di ako pawising bata) came out of me with my jacket. Next time, I shall bring an iPod with me since mas masaya to trek if there’s music. Very amateur this list but I honestly think I packed light and I packed right. After all, we only did a day trek and it only took us 1 1/2-2 hours ascend and another 2 hours descend.


Pitstop. Here I was with half of our group and our tour guide (topmost) taking a break before we trekked up to the viewing deck.


After what seems like forever, we reached the viewing deck of the mountain. Wearing my Herschel backpack which was surprisingly convenient for trekking. It’s lightweight and has a side zipper where I stored my phone & GoPro–making it easy for me to reach for it whenever I feel like I need to snap moments during our hike. MountPico_JackieGo_5

Edge of tomorrow. Choz! Ang sarap mag photo op when you know you literally worked you a$& off to get to this point.

As directed by Pinoy Fitness himself, Jeff Lo! Thanks direk! 😉


Still feels surreal. Thanks for this ethereal looking shot, Jeff!


All smiles as we made our way through the summit.


With my trek-mate and also a first-timer, Kelly of Lift Style. Congratulations to us Kels. So proud of you!


Sitting on the edge of the summit, I realized I could not have prepared for the breathtaking view that was before me.


Nakakatawa because during our ascend up until we reached the summit, I had a power playlist on repeat in my head.


“I’m a survivor, I’m not gonna give up…”

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna turn around and desert you…”

“Oh no not I, I will surviveeee…”

“Work, work, work, work, work…”

“Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough…”

“I’m on the top of the world looking down on creation and the only explanation I can find…”

“What a feeling! Being’s believing…”


It was a great day to have a great day. Our group mates, most of them conquered Mt. Pulag so it was easy peasy for them to conquer Mt. Pico. Congratulations guys & thanks for adopting Kelly & I. 😀


Jeff Lo & I with the monolith photobombing us.

While Jeff, Kelly & half of the group went across the summit and climbed the monolith, I stayed behind. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but I know I wasn’t at my best (it was a red day for me after all) to conquer the monolith. Upon taking photos at the edge of the summit, I felt my tummy turn and my vertigo getting the best of me. If I pushed myself to go for the monolith, two things can happen: 1.) I would struggle climbing the rope & chicken out while hanging a few meters on air because I can no longer proceed or 2.) I would exert all my energy so as to prove my oh-so-proud-self and to my group that I won’t waste the opportunity since I’m already there. I could conquer it but I don’t think I would have enough stamina to descend.

Knowing I don’t want any of the two scenarios to happen, I opted to stay at the summit where I am happy.


My husband asked me, “What’s the difference between climbing the mountain and seeing the view as to seeing the same view through driving by the mountain?”. To which I answered, “It’s the things you discover about yourself while climbing it that makes you appreciate the beautiful view even more.”

Naks, pang beauty queen answer divez?? But seriously, that’s the difference. Like any journey, if you work your butt off to get to a point where you feel proud of yourself it’s a different feeling. Kinda like how success works. It’s not so much as seeing how successful you are but more of knowing how far you’ve come to be where you are. If success was handed to you on a silver platter, it’s not as fulfilling as to when you made your way achieving it. IMHO.

Which brings me to my realizations.


That old adage You can do anything you put your mind into, rings true to me. It may sound so cliche but really, where else would you get the energy and motivation to do things you never thought you could do than to condition your mind that you can?

She believe she could, so she did. I admit, at first I have my reservations. I mean, come on, running on a treadmill, lifting weights and doing functional training is hard, but climbing a mountain is even harder. I don’t expect to be good at it the first time but I believed in myself that I can, so I did.

Never too late for anything. Never in my wildest dreams did I think about going on a nature trip, I’m not exactly an outdoorsy person. At 30, I conquered my fear of heights and crossed out the idea that I can’t climb a mountain. No such thing as too late to do anything as long as you’re alive, there’s probably a way to work around it right?

It’s okay to doubt yourself and it’s okay to believe in yourself. Let’s face it, there will always be moments where we doubt ourselves. You know what I truly believe it’s okay. I take it as a motivation to either validate the idea that I cannot do it or to prove myself wrong. Most of the time, I surprise myself no matter how much I am used to doubting my capabilities every time I try something new. Moments like these make me believe in myself and flushes any doubts that linger. Either you doubt yourself or you believe in yourself or both, it’s totally okay. As long as you get to know yourself a little bit more after–proving whether doubting or believing in yourself works to you– is what matters.

Go at your own pace. You don’t have to compete with anyone. You don’t even have to be at the forefront to prove anything to anyone. You just have to go at your own pace. Literally realized this during our trek. Though there were times I found myself at  forefront, I felt great knowing that I am at my most comfortable pace. Such is applicable in most aspects of our lives. When you find your own pacing, everything feels easier.

Try it, you might like it. How would you know if you like something if you don’t try it? I realize I like being outdoors, I like the simplicity it brings–to reconnect with nature and just appreciate the beauty. Don’t dismiss the idea first especially if you have no clue about it. Give it a try and you might just like it.

Dami kong internal hugot during our trek. What simple climb up a mountain proved to be an experience that made me realize, react and resound my personal achievement that day. That I can do it and that having doubts have pushed me to go further. I got to know myself more that day–an achievement in itself.

In fairness, fresh pa kami ni Kelly as we were about to descend Mt. Pico. Isa ka pa Kels, so proud of you & thanks for doing this with me. Achievement unlocked.

I’m glad I had the courage to do this, all for #BetterMe


Your largest fear, carries your greatest growth. 

So you could say I conquered not just a mountain. Looking at the pictures, I still can’t believe I did it. Now to conquer another mountain? Let’s see.



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  1. says

    I enjoyed reading this post (may emotions! haha) and I like your pang beauty queen answer “It’s the things you discover about yourself while climbing it that makes you appreciate the beautiful view even more.” Congratulations on your first climb! 🙂

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