Sunday, March 13, 2016

Freedom Hike

Hiking, trekking, mountaineering, waterfalls. Yes, I have done these a few times before, but only at rare times. Last time was when I went to Mt. Pinatubo. Before that was several years prior… back in college, as part of a mandatory community service in school.

Yesterday, I decided to join a newly found online group of outdoor and nature enthusiasts. New faces, new friends. We went hiking in the north. My first time as a PLHIV. I knew it would be a tiring trek. 10K up, then 10K back down.

10K! Whoaa… that must really be so tiring. But after 2 hours, when we got to the top, it felt like a reward. Morning dew. Cool breeze. Swaying trees.  Chirping birds. Fresh water. Grassy fields. Wild flowers. Rocky trail. Ice cold waterfalls falling from the mountain tops in a secluded cove. Totally isolated. It was literally ALL ours. No strangers. No other people. No ghosts nor enkantos - at least none that we saw. It was beautiful. Chill time. Relaxing… away from the busy city life. 

Man, this is such a beautiful world, ain't it? 3 years ago, when I was having shortness of breath due to pneumonia, I never imagined hiking is still possible. Now, 3 years after, I’m on top of this gorgeous hill.

As the area was all OURS, we deciding to go skinny dipping. You heard it right, nude swimming! Yes, we swam and roamed the area in our birthday suits. No shirts, no shorts, nor underwear. No, nothing, nada! Something I haven’t done before, and had never thought I would be doing, ever. - Disclaimer, no sex! It is strictly prohibited by The RULES! :) 

Indeed, it was truly one of the weirdest things I've ever done in my life. But, I must say, it was fun. It was really liberating. I felt free! I felt one with nature, with nothing hidden, literally. Everything’s exposed - my heart, my soul, and my penis. Everything… in full glory.   

After 4 hours of swimming, lying down, resting, eating and having casual conversation while naked, we decided to go back, while the sun was still up. We got back to the base camp after another 2 tiring hours of downhill trek through the rocky and sandy trail. Then, we reached Manila after traversing NLEX and EDSA in horrible traffic jam.

Damn, I’m back in the city: pollution, traffic, noise, crowd, and city el nino heat.  Darn, I’m back in a city where everyone is clothed, where everyone has got something to hide… deep within his well-ironed clothes. Back in this judgmental city. So bring it on... bring my closet back! I need to hide again -- my sexuality, my HIV status, and my “other” life. But I’m not complaining, just saying :) 

Well, it was a quick weekend trip. I'm glad I joined. It just feels good to quickly escape the city, and experience something new. More so, to strip myself of clothes, of stress and of worries. To liberate myself and be carefree even for just a few hours. And most especially, it just feels good to be "not sick" and enjoy nature, and life again!