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).