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With the Holy Week over, expect that the main topic of many outdoorsy BFFs over buckets of cold beer in some cozy pub would be their Lenten season hiking trip to the boondocks and who among them tripped along the way. Last Easter, the family was over at the SM mall in Toril for a late dinner when we espied a group of about five crossing the road and almost dragging themselves up the mall’s steps. The sight of them instantly reminded me, just like in our younger days, come Easter Sunday or the day after, stragglers from all walks could be seen dotting the south highways, with some trying to hitch a ride, “resplendent” in their badges of honor that seem to state the obvious: lookie-lookie, we’ve been up the Apo, you all. See the mud in our boots and mountain gear. Truth be told, a flashback was slowly brewing in my head.

If this were a common sight along roadsides at post Easter back then, it appears to still be the trend. With and add-up. The modern version of the iconic and ragged outdoor buffs could be said to have found their way up the internet highway. Proof is in the sudden and steady stream of photos of breathtaking mountain views, their 30-pic array of selfies and groufies (?), plus food pics galore and lastly, muddied footwear and dripping tents. A much younger amigo who apparently belongs to this new bunch had cut me off during our last convo by saying, if we had internet during our time, we would be guilty of doing the same! Surely, he hit it right on the head.

As they all say, nothing really changes, everything just undergoes their own level of upgrades. Who’s to disagree, I’ve an old picture of me and my college classmates along with some upperclassmen posing atop fallen logs somewhere up in the Mt. Apo reservation. Except for the 70s haircut and tell-tale high-waisted jeans of the time, it can pretty much be lost among similar poses taken by the younger generations today. Perhaps the only thing constant would be the view of the mountains behind us and the call of the wild which breathes inside everyone.

All told, I’m just glad that, with all the diversions available today, people, especially the younger ones (with a sprinkling of the young once) still find time to appreciate the outdoors.


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