MMF’s 19th Mindanao Forum and Climb

The recently concluded 19th Mindanao Forum by Mindanao Mountaineering Federation was another milestone made possible by Conquest Adventure Team – Mindanao Mountaineering Alliance (CAT MAMA). With bag on my back, excitement from the stress at work and game faced, we embarked on a Van with them family IIT Mountaineers and KAMAMO to Ozamis City, the jump off area to Malindang Ranges last Thursday, December 5, 2013.

Mindanao Mountaineering Federation is recognized globally as a responsible organization that sets high ethical and technical standards of outdoor skills and attitude with utmost discipline among its members in relation to environmental awareness and its preservation coupled with accountability to the communities of Mindanao. (grabbed from MMF FB Group)

A few days before, the hell week of data gathering, system development and cramming deadline made me push through this Mindanao Forum that I attended for the first time in 19 years of annual celebrations. But, the whole event had made majority of the joiners failed their expectation.

““Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting.” ? Haruki Murakami

As a self proclaimed Social Climber, Im not one of those men/women who wanted to complete the A-list of top peaks/destination of Philippines if not the whole world. I joined to have fun, to feed the need of my wanderlust, involve myself into adventures requiring physical activities that will end up muscle pains and bruised and above all, I want to enjoy the company of friends. Regardless of what others have in their mind, I believe, we are entitled to our own opinion and assessment. What you want to portray depends on how you express yourself in a more appropriate/inappropriate way. After all, that is what bloggers are for. So here’s my assessment, no pun intended.

1 iitm ladies


We arrived at Ozamis City and found there were three MIT campuses. RULE NO. 1 –  DEFINE THE EXACT LOCATION. Exact means, how to get there, how many minutes from the main city/port/landmark, if there are many marks such as MIT, provide the exact address and noticeable welcome banner not only meant for display but right there in our face ready to slapped us out in case we miss it like we did, like most of us did…

Anyway, we arrive safe so I don’t mind. As a travel blogger, as much as possible I want to give exact information such as: where to go, how to get there, and things to see to my readers. FYI, Im not bragging about it, I just want to let you guys know that we are not wasting time here. After all, we want to settle ourselves in our comfy tents and slam our bums in the ground while stretching our bodies from the long ride.

After we had settled our things and pitched our tents, the next thing everyone want to do is to go to the toilet room, comfort room, shower, powder room or what have you. RULE NO. 2 – ACCOMODATION AND TOILETS. Nature call is very inevitable. But I found out nothing of those rooms were found (at least not in my vocabulary) but a bunch of dirty, haunted and clogged toilets, well at least one is working. But what would that one toilet do for 200+ participants? Come on! I don’t mind peeing in the bushes and digging holes for poop (because I have a new whooping orange shovel – thanks ate Memie for that) and giving them all as a fertilizer but hey, we’re in the city. If you don’t mind me doing it in the school ground, I won’t care at all. But I don’t coz I only spell DELICADEZA.

I know I know, this isn’t solely a fault by the organizers. NOT at all coz it is MIT’s premises but a little maintenance would help especially in the swimming pool. Swimming pool meant to freshen up our weary bodies and get cleaned NOT to get dirty. Do I look like a frog? What a good looking frog I am. Sure a healthy frog doesn’t want to take a plunged in there. But if you don’t want participants to see the bad side, we can skip the pool and don’t highlight it in the event page pretty please. This justifies my love for Timoga. Rock on! RULE NO. 3 –  DON’T GIVE FALSE HOPES! DECLARE WHAT IS LEGIT AND TRUE! Because we always have eyes and ears everywhere and BLOGGERS too and I’m guessing we all know about PORTABLE CR right?

Speaking of, because I felt too greasy and had oily face, I always make sure to take a quick bath/shower but i don’t find any. While roaming around the campus with ze friends Beth and Maam Iking, we bumped into this ala model Ate Mayet in pyjamas looking fresh with water still dripping from her hair that gave us hope to get a decent comfort room. She waved her fingers into a set of direction that I forgot where because we totally missed the good part of the campus. Then we ended up in an abandoned tub like structure with a cancerous faucet begging to not take another bucket of water from her supply. Hey, my pee is stronger than yours okay? But Maam Iking still manage to wash her face, sprinkle some to get freshen up. After all, you guys like women with great sense of confidence, sexy and presentable right? Its definitely hard to move and think like a man but graced and act like a lady especially in Mountaineering. So if you want to see some more of us, you know what to do. Moving on, after a few minutes, this Kuya that looks like one of those participants suddenly appeared like a ghost because If Im not mistaken, at the back of the campus is a mausoleum. Thought he rise from the dead. Lol. But kuya who is a school guard gave us direction that beside their extravagant swimming pool is a shower. I don’t mind getting shower in the open so long as Im at the beach but hey, I don’t want to bring wet clothes that can add weight to my backpack. If I have a bikini with me, I would but the pool doesn’t deserve to have a taste of my tired body. So shower is a no no. After a few, Ate Mayet followed us and guided us to the proud CR so we can finally settle in but I don’t see any. I only saw, one faucet beside this drum of water at the entrance of the broken door in the sets of unkept CR in a rundown alley. Is this a school or what? This is creepier than the cemeteries back home. FYI, we used one headlamp as a dim light so we can take our clothes off and bath like a robot not minding the open window, busted lights, cracked doorways and the floor! Okay I don’t wanna say it coz I don’t wanna puke right in front of my laptop. Finally, after a few washes of here and there, we headed back into our tents swore not to go back there again.

1 the tree

DAY 2.

The day was lovely. Met a few funny faces. Hi there Mountaineers from Davao and Bukidnon, I forgot your names. And reconnect with friends, Kuya Dox (I met last Kamras Dec. 2010 Mt. Timpoong – Mt. Hibok Hibok), Maam Sheila & Kuya Mark (I met last PASALAMAT Mt. Murias climb January 2011) and their group from General Santos City. The romantic couple Kuya Budi and Istin of Bukidnon (say hi to my girlfriends for me, Jojo and Bing). KAPLAG boys and Kuya Jun Mar of SAVE MSH of Iligan City and Kuya Lewols and Ate Jackie’s Team (we often bumped into each other since my first climb. Power Hug!).

The day at the campsite was the vacay I needed out of this Climb but Ill prefer to call it a camping. Im proud to make it with my Ze climb buddy Beth.

1 beth

1 solo

1 groupie shot

At around after lunch, the females of IITM decided to trek down from the camp. After a few turns we found a lot of tissue turned trail sign. I don’t mind trail sign. Getting lost and finding the right way eventually is more fun.

1 tissue

Found this tissue turned trail sign along the road.

Right after we arrived at the ground, we made sure to prepare for the awesome dinner. Expectation wasnt met. Im not happy with the food at all. Sorry to say, I have a big appetite and the food given to me couldn’t answer my hunger and ze tired body.

“The answer to a weary mind, broken heart and lost soul is a happy stomach” that is why we have comfort food right? And Filipinos love food. I love food. More food. I was disappointed with my packed of rice and 1 chicken. We got no lechon, it was donated by the nearby tent neighbour. Thank you Mommy Marj 🙂 and for the rasta bling! You are awesome. I believe Packed lunch are for boarding students and we deserve to have more selection of foods right? The last time I went into a climb that ended up like a fiesta celebration was in Pasalamat 2011. So, guys don’t forget to join PAPA’s Pasalamat climb in Pagadian every January, they will give you the adventure you wanted, the food you have dreamed and the accommodation you deserved. For PAPA, I am giving you the crown of burden. 😉


1 the girls

Overall, it was a fun climb. I don’t mind myself in situations like this. Having traveled and seen places worst than this made me a versatile and open minded person. But I think, everybody deserved to have a break especially to my German friends. I remember Maam Rods shared that one morning she went to the Toilet Room and found Laura, another German friend, who just came out from the Women’s CR. FYI, the women’s room is clogged and the water is filling in the floor overflowing. I believe she haven’t received a memo that men don’t use CR as they are resourceful so girls used the Men’s Room instead at least the faucet is working, toilet is working, no overflowing. But Laura had to endure the water, step on it and you can imagine how awful it is.

I introduced the Mindanao Mountaineering to Esther (who I met in Couch Surfing, a travelling community), a volunteer from Germany working in the peace process of Mindanao at MSU – IIT, back in the Region X President’s Meeting. She’s our contact from the PAILIG foundation who just recently gave donations for Yolanda victims. Most of the donations of PAILIG came from Germany and now they are expanding to seek distant tribes/communities in Gingoog/Bukidnon that needs basic necessities. They have already seen the worst Philippine Government and unorganized event wouldn’t help.

“To my German friends, In behalf of the Mountaineering Society, I’m really sorry for the inconvenience… Please don’t get discourage and keep climbing with us. We are genuinely happy to have you on board.“

On the top this, I have also invited 2 blogger/mountaineer from Manila who failed to joined the event. It would be a shame if they were there too. What I want to express is that, participants came from different walks of life. We should not expect that what is okay with us is acceptable to other people. Put yourself in the shoes of others and think what they would feel about it based on his/her lifestyle. The answer will then come out naturally.

Hope this will serve as a guide for the 20th MMF next year, I expect the host this time will see through the basic obvious needs. It will be the the 2nd decade celebration of the event so I expect it to be a BIG FEAST. I’m not sure if I can join but the IITM and KAMAMO will be there.

Just a small hint:

KAMAMO was founded in the 90’s if not in the 80’s so you guys should know that in parallel of the old school mountaineering before the gortex technology and airflow bags and what have you, our Uncles and Papas are picky with foods (for obvious health reasons). Please consider white meat in your menu. More fish please because I love fish in sweet and sour, skabetche and Teriyaki. If my German friends will join the next year’s event, FYI, they are vegetarian so they haven’t taken that damn packed lunch. They love fresh salads and healthy veggie dishes. And our mums and Us girls love fruits so we can maintain our sexy body. A little banana, watermelon and pineapple wouldn’t hurt. Please give us unlimited supply of drinking water and hot water in morning for hangover. And don’t neglect us from the soft drink during the socials. Soft drinks are not healthy but it can digest the meat fast. Maam Rods have asked why they’re giving her a bottle of beer. We also have ladies in the group who are not into alcohol, fyi. She smirked after knowing that no cokes were served. After a while a couple of sexy ladies followed and gave 2 bottle of coke (not litro) freshly bought from the cafeteria for Mommy Marj and Mama Rods and I was like, Where’s mine? WTF! Do I have to whine too so I can have my coke? For all you know, I can buy you, your 2 cokes and that Cafeteria. Duh!

1 us girls

On the other side, the Program, games, DJ, lights are totally awesome! We feel so secured too except for the Board member’s bodyguard/crew pitching beside our tents (yeah we heard of it). FYI, no ammo please. You looked more of a threat than Us beside your beloved board member. We may look haggard and all out game but decency is imperative. We are working professionals here.

It takes more hands and heads to make a successful event. After all, we want to be remembered of the good things we do and not the bad impression that we didn’t do. Take it from my Iligan Bloggers family during our hosting of Waterfalling Adventure Tour where we hosted bloggers from all over The Philippines showcasing 7 waterfalls in Iligan, restaurants and factory tour for 5 days every City fiesta and I know pretty well how sponsorship works. To host is to showcase how the organization works together, not only showing how they love their passion, but it is also the moment to showcase their own forte and their own turf. It is the time to do the MOVES LIKE JAGGER!

PS. I have a mixed of emotions while writing this uber long post with more thant 2,500+ words and have started to construct it all the way from the dinner socials until I arrived home while playing Soduko. Congratulations Kuya Kramy for a well done event. You have prepared the event and majority of the task is on your shoulders. Nobody can do that better than you. But I need to write this post because I need that coke. Kidding! Everybody deserves a second chance and constructive criticisms. After all, we improve because we recognize our own faults and use it to improve our future purpose and well being. Long live MMF!


11 thoughts on “MMF’s 19th Mindanao Forum and Climb

  1. This constructive criticism is good, hope next Mindanao Forum will be OK. I might be there 😉 Inshallah

  2. well said. got no nerve to write about my last climb with MMF. better expect from yourself than from the organizer. ..

    1. It was my first time Maam Rina and was hesitant to publish this controversial post but somebody need to say about it. Im not targeting certain people here, i just wanted to express how I felt at that time because i totally expected something about it since it was one of the prestigious event as they highlighted in MMF. BTW, hope you had a nice stay in Iligan the last time. Winwin was too kind to assist you and your company in my behalf. and thanks for dropping by 🙂

  3. Nice blog. Hopefully you can post this on the MMF fb account so everyone will know. You have valid observation and fine assessment of the congress. The conduct of forum should include all considerations in event hosting and management. MMF should include in their advocacy the need to strengthen post activity assessment report and understand accountability on their forums and activities. They also should start the upgrading of their membership standards as well as individual capacity in hosting events with the end goal of attaining the objectives and having concrete outcome in the future.

    For the event activity, they should strengthen the educational and interpretation component of the forum such that it increases the capacity of mountaineers in environmental conservation and contribute in sustainable development. These knowledge building component could include introduction to certain laws, biodiversity, ecotourism management planning, indeginous knowledge management or even the propagation of indigenous trees and medicinal plants. Thank you

    1. I couldn’t agree more po but i still dont have the capacity to post it myself in the MMF since im new to the group and I know pretty well that some people are very particular with the term “Mountaineer”, hence, i could very well understand their would-be reactions regarding this matter. But thank you. I believe I have already raised my concern thru my blog and i hope this will be a medium for more improvement for us to remember. Thank you for dropping by 🙂

  4. Well said kath. Like in my previous rants about these forum climbs, the people behind it are surely all well intentioned. But there seemed to be a disconnect between intentions and goals and what actually was achieved. Mass climbs/gatherings always fall short of its intended goals. Blame it on culture, people, participants or even the organizers but I have come to believe now it is all engraved in the psyche of mountaineers. The mountain people will never be at par to whatever event we organize if we look at them as though they are mainstream people. It isn’t their culture. To force them to behave like mainstream individuals vis a vis socialization is an anti-thema to the very essence of why they climb mountains in the first place. Seek solitude, commune with nature, dwell on the silence and they often do this with a few people around. Trying to conglomerate a huge number of these mountaineers is just going to end up unsatisfactory in one way or another to every participant.

    1. Couldn’t agree more with this doc “intentions and goals and what actually was achieved”. I hope future organizers will break this so called mainstream and uplift the quality of such hosted events.

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