I made my way down the steep summit of Mt. Pundaquit in Zambales, fed my eyes with the breathtaking view of Anawangin Cove below, like a medal waiting for me at the finish line. I’ve acquired some bruises here and there, but nothing to worry! After all, it’s my first time outdoors! I brushed the dust off my body; continued to maneuver through the rocky path under the fiery sun. It hadn’t been long since I first got out of my box, and I’m already here doing what I was meant to do.

Trekking up the mountains is no easy feat, but it does pave way to self-discovery. I know that it takes a great deal of strength and willpower to step out of your comfort zone, but keep close as I divulge three simple reasons why YOU should be climbing that damn mountain.

There’s comfort in discomfort

I could still feel the sting of the prickly heat that day, lost count of the times we stopped to rest under some shade, and vividly recall slipping and almost falling off the edge of the trail, when the sand gave out under me, nevertheless, we still kept moving.

Days circle round, we try our hardest to make each count, and naturally, some days twirl with a false start. No matter how sure-footed we are, there will be times when uneven terrains will get the best of us.The most important thing is to make that first step, and the flexibility to change comes to a close second; one way to get outside the comfort zone is by expanding it and switching things up. Not only will it bring out the best in you, but it also empowers you to keep you on pace; a step further to a better place in confronting your fears and hesitations.

It shows you in your prime

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not talking about the looks. I think we could all agree most of us look disgusting in our sweaty state. Up here in the mountains where it’s candid, rugged, and exciting, gives you just the right amount of head-space to gain a different perspective.

We are at our most vulnerable, but also in our strongest despite the physical and mental demand of the task in front of us, it truly gets us in tune with our mind and body. There’s this incredible feeling that bubbles inside us, the happiness of making it up there and reaching your goal is an understatement; it’s the euphoric feeling that flows through your body leaving you buzzing with content and pride as if you’ve just conquered something insurmountable, regardless of how high the mountain we’re climbing, whether we reach the summit or not; it’s about finding our own tempo—learning, growing, and taking risks in the process.

The mountains teach you the important things

The mountains, the journey up the mountains, rather, have instilled things we can’t learn anywhere else in one go.

Don’t have the skill to pack light? Well, climbing mountains is hard enough without a carry-on, and unless you have a porter, a self-carrying bag, or a magic handbag like Hermione’s, you’ll need to learn to bring just the necessities to last you through the duration of the trip. It helps you manage the materialistic nature ingrained deep in our psyche and sort our priorities, plus your back will thank you for it.

Do you struggle in social situations? Is it hard for you to loosen up? Let me tell you this, it’s easier to break the ice when you’re all just sweating like pigs and daydreaming about the food you’ll be rewarding yourselves after. Everyone is in their most natural self and pretty much in it together, there’s no room for pretense, just genuine encouragements and support all around.

The experience you’ll get from traversing through mountains, the ascent and descent through varying slopes and terrains, of finally reaching that picturesque view and breathing it in, will make you realize just how small and insignificant we are, compared to the enormous, beautiful world– only from this do we learn the true value of life. There’s grace in tenacity, and to keep moving forward, even in times of failure is the best teacher we could ever have.

There are countless more ways to prove just how life-altering it is to take that first step out of your comfort zone. So, if you’re in need of a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city, I urge you to get out of your own box!  Our ancestors have already proven that we were built to last in the wild, for to seek comfort and balance we must first take on the challenge and keep hold wherever it that adventure takes us. And oh! If you haven’t figured out yet, this has been an unsolicited advice from a pair of (not so) newbie hikers, the MOAB 2.


Check our photos from our recent climb to Mt. Pundaquit!

Some heroes don’t wear capes, shout out to James of Merrell Philippines for carrying snacks for everyone!
Tired and out of breath, the group went silent and each found their own spot to recover from exhaustion.
The newest hiker from Merrell, the Moab 2 Mid GORE-TEX (Php 5,995.00). Photo courtesy of Merrell Philippines.
The breathtaking views of the Philippine sea at the summit. After the traverse through Pundaquit, we were rewarded with a refreshing dip in the pristine waters of Anawangin Cove!
The Moab 2 comes in different colors, styles and cuts perfect for any traveler. Photo courtesy of Merrell Philippines.

Sailing from Anawangin Cove to Camara Island
Exchanged hoots and waves over waves with a nearby boat
Thanks to Merrell Philippines and Trail Adventours for having us on this trip, and for bringing us back in one piece!


For more information:

Trail Adventours
Hike and climb mountains in the Philippines with Trail Adventures.
Book your trip by visiting www.trailadventours.com.

Bring the Moab 2 out of the box and into the wild
These latest hikers are available at Merrell stores in 
Glorietta 3, TriNoma, SM North EDSA Annex, Market! Market!, Robinsons Place Manila, Festival Mall, SM Dasmarinas, Marquee Mall, Harbor Point, SM City Cebu, SM Iloilo, SM City Davao, SM Lanang, Abreeza Mall, Gaisano Mall Davao, LimKetKai Mall, Centrio Mall and select specialty stores and department stores nationwide.
Visit and like Merrell on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @Merrell_PH.
All images in this post by Rholiza Sy unless otherwise stated


Rholiza Sy

is a design creative, relentless at seeking and experiencing the most out of life—scrapes, bruises, and embarrassing mishaps included. She understands that her insatiable spirit of adventure and curiosity sets her to finding her place in this beautiful, wild, and wicked world. Follow her misadventures on Instagram @rholizasy.

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Our journey began with an idea to discover what it means to travel the Philippines, beyond the alluring images of sparkling blue waters and powder white sand. We seek to share travel stories to inspire the wide-eyed traveler, moving them deeper into the destination with stunning images and narratives about its sights, tastes, textures, smells, and local life.

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