By MICHAEL JOSEPH Y. ARAULA
Prior to my official induction in the Cuernos de Negros Mountaineers Club Inc. in 2010, I had been climbing with the group for seven years.
I had even participated in all six CNMCI Summer Assault events: the first two of which were in Mt. Talinis (at 1,903 meters above sea level); the third in Mt. Kanlaon (at 2,465 meters above sea level); the fourth in Mt. Pulag (at 2,928 meters above sea level) in the Cordilleras; the fifth in Mt. Dulang-Dulang via Mt. Kitanglad (at 2,941 meters above sea level) in Bukidnon; and the sixth in the country’s highest mountain, Mt. Apo (at 2,954 meters above sea level) in Cotabato/Davao — which was a most unforgettable experience.
Cuernos de Negros has taught me a lot of things that are already ingrained in my character, such as the importance of discipline, respect, and courtesy in responsible mountaineering.
Most importantly, Cuernos has molded me to have the perseverance to stand up and fight for what is right in order to protect and preserve our environment.
Cuernos is not only a mountaineering club to me, but also a family, and a source of inspiration for how to embrace nature as a large part of our lives since it reveals a wonderful side of ourselves that we can’t find elsewhere.
Taong Cuernos, some call “Horny Sapiens” has a special place in my heart, that every time I go outdoors, I can always relate my experiences of Cuernos Camaraderie.
Three words to describe my Cuernos experience: Prepare, Adapt, Enjoy.
Michael Araula graduated from the University of the Visayas in Cebu in 2005, and worked overseas for five years in Japan and in Singapore. As municipal councilor of the town of Dauin, he was responsible for enacting an eco-tourism policy in Mt. Talinis (Dauin jurisdiction) that has since become a model policy for other local government units, introducing local guides as a primary stakeholder in Mt. Talinis, and regulating the principles of “Leave No Trace”* as the proper climbing system in Mt. Talinis. While he was councilor of Dauin, he enrolled in a program of the Philippine Councilor Legislative Academy at the University of Makati, and earned a Masters in Development, Management & Governance. He currently lives in Cagayan de Oro City with his family.
*Leave No Trace
1) Plan ahead and prepare.
2) Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
3) Dispose of waste properly.
4) Leave what you find.
5) Minimize campfire impacts.
6) Respect wildlife.
7) Be considerate of others.