Why trekking become a new trend? Is it for the sake of picture perfect moments for social media likes? For passion? Is it for the pride of exploring countless peaks, summits, trails, etc? Whatever our reasons are, we are held liable for whatever consequences that it may bring sooner or later.
As trekkers, we trek not to escape life but for life not escape us. Our hectic and busy lives do not always give us the luxury of time to realize that we are just merely surviving and not living. Sometimes we need to give ourselves the happiness and freedom that we all deserve. So why stay in the four corners of our room? The place outside our walls are so beautiful and absolutely an inspirational place. And where nature lies, there is a potential for exploration.
As we explore these beautiful wonders, we are bound by some rules and responsibilities to protect them. But we can’t deny the fact that we are not doing any good in the totality of it but rather we are doing the opposite, we are destructing it rather than preserving! One major cause of destruction is the waste that are not properly disposed.
But who will be held responsible for it? Who will clean up our mess? Do we just leave the dirty works to anybody? Let’s face it, most of us do not want to clean up someone’s mess. Are you more than willing to clean up your neighbor’s messy backyard out of good will?
Most of us hate cleaning up someone’s mess. With that said, many if not all does not really want to participate in cleanup drives because it would be direly exhausting. How much more if cleanups would be held on mountainous areas, in rivers, in trails where you need to trek for several hours just to collect the trashes? No one can force no one to do that! But still there are some that have the passion for a good cause!
Last September 17, 2016 (the 3rd Saturday of every Sept) was the National Cleanup Day where several civic groups initiated cleanups which was pioneered by Let’s do It! World in 2008 that began in Estonia. We also have our own version of this movement, the Let’s Do It! Philippines. Also, the International Coastal Cleanup Day fall on the same day.
NCR Trekkers Club had join the bandwagon 2 years in a row now for this cause! The cleanup was supposedly a summit to sea activity but since the local government in Argao had participated the cleanup and the coastal area that were assigned were already cleaned. So we just did the river trail cleanup from Barangay Usmad to Linut-od via Usmad-Banlot River to Coal Mountain Resort located in the highlands of Linut-od, Argao, Cebu which is approximately 23 kilometers away from the town proper.
The cleanup trek took us around 5 hours from the jump off to the camp site. It was an arduous one, needless to say knee-breaking but a fulfilling one. Trekking with a full load backpack, crossing the river ten times, and collecting trashes along the way isn’t an easy task. It will use up all your energy and will really test your limits. After recollecting our thoughts, it is worth noting that there are several reasons why you should not join our cause.
Here are the reasons why you should NOT join the trekkers cleanup drives:
1. Clean ups will bring us one step closer to restoring a clean environment and a chance to spread awareness
If you don’t care about Mother Nature, then this is not for you!
Why we should care? We could have stayed at home, watch TV or go shopping and let the right authorities handle that problem on proper waste disposal. The trashes that we’re going to collect are just a small portion of the massive waste volume that are not properly disposed around the world. But do you think it doesn’t really matter? Does our small act will be part of the solution to the problem?
2. Cleanup drives will make you more environmentally aware, disciplined and responsible
Who cares about what happen to the world around us? Who would want responsibilities?, to be disciplined?
Cleanups had the purpose of restoring nature to its nearly pristine condition, but it will be futile if we are not aware of what is happening around us. We need to raise awareness and encouraged everyone to be responsible, else we were just going around in circles.
Even though trekking makes us free, it reminds us that we have to be responsible for ourselves, and others, when they are trekking with us.
In trekking, we still have to maintain a certain level of discipline in terms of physical fitness, respecting nature and ensuring that we be responsible travelers and don’t do anything to spoil the purity of a landscape, we have to be especially careful in tough terrains and also look out for our fellow trekkers. This instills in us a feeling of responsibility, which instigates in us a sense of discipline. This doesn’t only help us in the short term while we are covering our trek, but also reflects on how we carry out activities in our daily life. This sense of disciplines starts seeping into our daily life as well.
3. It will test your limits.
Cleanup treks are direly tiresome but in the process you’ll get to exercise and improve your physical fitness
If you don’t want to exercise and don’t want to burn those extra calories, then find another activity that can hype you up.
While trekking, your entire focus is on the beauty of the surroundings that you get exposed to. You tend to forget the fact that you are actually burning calories in the process. The whole experience of walking in the glory of the mountains is extremely relaxing and refreshing.
4. You can make new friends and are obliged to interact with the locals
Joining activities with a cause will let you meet people who share the same passion as yours. These people have different personalities but are united for the common goal. Cleanups are usually in groups and as much as possible in pairs. Participants had really a great opportunity to interact with each other as well as get to know the local volunteers if any. It is highly expected that at the end of the activity you will find the one that you can call a new friend or the one that you will consider one soon.
5. It’s an exhilarating experience with a cause
Nothing is more inspiring than joining this amazing cause! The spirit of volunteerism is much more fulfilling than staying within the four corners of our air-conditioned rooms. The lush greens, the fresh air, the fresh waters, the genuine smiles of the locals, the chirping of the birds, the beautiful sunset and sunrise – these things are nothing compared to window shopping, sleeping and playing all day long. Is it?
Despite these things mentioned above, we still chose to go outside of our comfort zone and did those things anyway. We choose to be part of the five million volunteers as it’s not every day that we can reconcile with mother earth for what we’ve done to her! Right? How about you? Will you still join the cause?
Special thanks to Argao Tourism Office for the assistance, to the people who helped in organizing this activity, to the volunteers, and to Coal Mountain Resort for the warm welcome and accommodation.