HAPPY HEIGHTS HIKE WITH THE GIRLS FROM MERTIXELL ORPHANAGE
Trail Adventours' Intern Camille Rosales talks about Happy Heights and her expeirence climbing during the Happy Heights hike.
Happy Heights is an outreach program aimed to provide underprivileged children with an outdoor experience through free day hikes. This project was started by Dindin Reyes, an Ateneo de Manila graduate who has always been interested in mountaineering. In cooperation with Trail Adventours, Dindin partners up with different children’s institutions and seeks sponsors to make this mission happen.
How did the idea of ‘Happy Heights’ come about?
As a hiking enthusiast, Dindin finds that everyone climbs a mountain for a certain purpose. She believes that most of the time, climbing a mountain is a form of therapy. She thought of being able to bring the experience and adventure to kids from urban poor areas and giving them a “breather” and showing them new ways to have fun and enjoy themselves.
How long has Happy Heights been going on?
Happy Heights is a relatively new project, with its first hike done last March 9, 2013 (around two months after Dindin came up with the idea!) and its second hike last November 17, 2013.
Last May 10, 2014, Happy Heights had its third hike, along with the girls from Mertixell Orphanage. I was lucky enough to have been able to join these girls in their hike; not to mention, it was my first time hiking.
The hike was at Mt. Gulugod Baboy located at Anilao, Batangas. With the summit being around 500m -600m above sea level, this trail is considered by professional hikers as “beginner level.” To be honest, I found it to be a really challenging hike! Of course, maybe it’s because of the fact that I am a first time hiker, however the kids did not seem to mind the heat and the uphill slope as much. They were ahead the other hikers in the group (myself included) and were able to reach the summit faster. Upon reaching the summit, the kids played and ran around, as the summit provided an open field, and they certainly enjoyed every minute of being at the top of the mountain. Who could blame them? The view at the summit was incredible. It provided one a good 360-degree view of the sea and the surrounding islands.
The trip only took a day; we went down the mountain a little after 12 noon, and proceeded to have lunch at the jump off points while the girls went to the beach for a quick afternoon swim.
It was truly an overwhelming experience. Despite the challenge of hiking a mountain for the very first time, what I really liked about the experience was being able to participate in the mission of Happy Heights: providing a unique outdoor experience to the kids. Along with the chance to get to know other people – other hikers, and learn stories about their mountaineering adventures, the hike was definitely one for the books.
If you want to participate and learn more about Happy Heights, please visit thelargeworld.wordpress.com/happy-heights