I left out one of my favourite experiences of the Mt. Pulag trip from the last post and that was because I didn’t have the photos, and my words can only describe so much. Many thanks then, to Aaron Palabyab who has kindly allowed me to use a selection of his impressive photos so you can see some of what I saw that night. For more of Aaron’s fantastic work you can check his site here.
Having spent a good two and a half hours in the woods, dodging between puddles and uneven stones, we finally came out to an open area and our long line stopped, giving us chance to look around and have a breather. The atmosphere changed once we were out into the open, there was a sense of anticipation building, partly because we knew we into the final third of our journey and partly because of our surroundings.
At eye level, there was a vast expanse of blackness in front of me – which I later found out was a huge grass field – and bordering this was an L-shape queue of the many of my other fellow hikers, the tiny lights from their headlamps flickering back and forth but mainly upwards to the glorious canopy above our heads.
Seeing the stars overhead was an absolutely immense experience. This magical abyss of subtle colour is made all the more stunning when you realise that is also a window through time. All that light coming from long dead sources is such a colossal thought to get one’s head around and really gives perspective on our place in the universe.
It’s rare that one feels camaraderie with a stranger (or indeed many) but at that moment everything was perfect and everybody bonded without words. It felt like I was at the centre of everything; the light travelling from who knows how many years ago arrived when I did – for my appreciation, I like to think – the clouds held off for the celestial light show and the welcome wind cooled us after our travels . There are few of these intensely personal introspections that happen throughout life but I suspect each of us had our own moment whilst in line, waiting to recommence our travel on to the summit and glimpse another of nature’s finest moments.