PUNDOK HABAGAT Chronicles: Plan Ahead and Prepare BMC 3 and 4: Orienteering, Wilderness First Aid and Basic Ropeworks

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Whenever you hear the words Pundok HABAGAT, what then comes into your head? Is it Camaraderie and Unity of Outdoor Enthusiasts? Or perhaps the gathering of responsible mountaineers celebrating Life and Mother Nature? Or is it the laughter and non stop chitchat of fellow mountaineers who have the passion for the outdoors?

Pundok HABAGAT: The Origins

Whatever it is, Pundok Habagat is a lifestyle centered into the outdoors, the preservation of nature, and learning of new skills to keep up with the rigorous demands of survival when exposed to the natural elements. It is also a group of responsible mountaineers dedicated in preserving the environment as their playground, advocating the “GREEN LIFESTYLE” and adhering to the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.

Having this as a guiding principle, I was fortunate to be part of the organizing team for Basic Mountaineering Course 3 and 4 with core competencies on Orienteering, Wilderness First Aid and Basic Rope Works. From the area recon to the actual event day, I was giddy with excitement and anticipation as I prepared my own camping equipment. I had expected a lot of avenues for hard work and a lot of learning and I was not disappointed.

The Venue

The Central Cebu Protected Landscape Office of the DENR, headed by Ma’am Ditdit, where we held our campsite, is located just minutes away from the bustling city. It served as a regulating body for our hinterland landscape. It has a multi purpose hall that served as the lecture hall for us when we had our Navigation lessons. You will be able locate the office on Cantipla on the right side of the road going to Balamban. Nearby establishments would consist of Adventure Cafe, Canso X and RAFI KAC. 

The Overall Experience

There were a lot of ideas and learning exchanged during the event. I personally am able to experience how it was to compete in an Orienteering Competition within the group. It entails sharpness of mind, focus and of course, the safest possible route is not always the shortest route. It also requires physical fitness since you will need to run as fast as you can to find the clue for the next control point first. In our team, we had been the last group to be released after we had found our exact place on the map via Triangulation. It was both mentally and emotionally challenging since we need to be very specific in our bearings based on the compass. Through this, I was able to really learn the value of perseverance and teamwork as well trusting your own instinct. It also pays to learn how to read the map and natural markers. Team 3 where I was a part of  won. We did it through thorough checking and teamwork. We were the first to reach the last control point where it has Distance: 800 M Clue: Foot of the Mountain [I somehow forgot the bearing though.] 🙁

Day 2 consisted Wilderness First Aid and Basic Rope Works. During the first half of the day, we were taught how to assess and triage a patient. It was just a review for me since I am a nurse by profession. It somehow took me back to my college days and my staff nurse days where I do first hand care for a patient in distress. I breezed through the discussion and the implementation part and I was a “victim” or a practice dummy. In the afternoon, we had moved on to Basic Rope Works. It was supposedly my turn to rappel however, there was a sudden black rain clouds and the downpour was heavy and unexpected. We have to unrig the equipment before any accident will happen. It was already ready to go down a 25 ft wall but was stopped by a colleague for safety reasons.

Here are some of the snaps we had at the 2 day fulfilling event. 🙂 Hope that the participants will be able to take into heart what they had learned and use it appropriately should the need arises. IT is a privilege to be a part of this training that is usually offered to those affiliate clubs only of the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, Inc. since this is a club initiated activity. It so happened that I used to work with an outdoor company hence the attendance 🙂

For the love of outdoors,