How to Climb Mount Apo

Nonfiction by | October 19, 2014

Climb when you are fifteen or so. Harbor an affinity for heights: at eleven you must have already seen the whole of Bangkok from the 88th floor of Baiyoke Sky Hotel, as well as gone parasailing at Subic, noting how the sea looks like a massive blue tarpaulin from a height of 800 feet.

Know the basics of mountain trekking: never step on slippery ground, always watch your step; on the way down, lean back and allow your feet to fall on stones as surely as a bird lands on its own shadow. But know also what it is to fear heights. Call to mind the day you first climbed Mount Agad-Agad (your hometown’s tallest mountain), aged nine, when, going up the mountain, the sheer effort wrung your lungs empty and your vision swam in a haze of blue afterimages. On the descent you could only cling to earth and crawl down gingerly. Bear these in mind always, for they will arm you for the great climb. Never forget that what you will be dealing with is the highest mountain in the Philippines (think 9,692 feet above sea level).

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High School, Years After

Poetry by | May 27, 2012

(for my MSU-IIT IDS batchmates)

You sit where you are: at the heart
of the city, its mechanical throb
booming in your chest, or perhaps
under the shade of acacia trees
by the sea wall. The horizon hides
a life long over. You are there
also, in the old high school building,
yellowing in the pages
of a forgotten yearbook,
rusting in the trophy room
weathered by the glance of children
in polo shirts and pink skirts,
children who were once you,
you understand, even as you outgrew
yourself, those kalachuchi trees
in perpetual autumn. You have all
fallen like flowers. Into your
respective plots of soil. All else you leave
to the wind, to the passing
kick of black shoes
amid the crunch of gravel.
Or else you wait to be picked up and sniffed.
You sit where you are.

Raised in Iligan City, Arkay Timonera was a fellow at his hometown’s National Writers Workshop in 2010. He studies in Silliman University.