Do you want to start hiking mountains and enjoy what nature has to offer? You don’t have to be a hard-core mountaineer to hike mountains. Here are some useful hiking tips for new mountaineers as shared to us by Christine Fernandez. She's a seasoned mountaineer who discovered her passion for hiking way back in the year 2000 and have already climbed around 60 mountains. In this short interview we had, she also shared to us some tips on how to prepare for a climb, her most-recommended climbs and treks for new mountaineers and her best advice to new mountaineers.
Useful Tips for New Mountaineers
1. How and when did you start your passion for hiking/mountaineering?
It was in 2000 when I started hiking, I was around 19 years old. I was in a school’s football varsity and we did a lot of running around the oval which I found really boring. To break the monotony, I decided to look for a cross-training activity – one that’s equally fun but still physically challenging. Fortunately, there was an outdoor club at school. I’ve always been fond of nature so I thought it’ll be fun. Ironically, training for hikes involved a lot of running too. What started as a hobby ultimately became my passion. I’ve adjusted my lifestyle and I try to hike at least once a month.
2. How many mountains have you climbed and what are your favorites?
I’ve hiked around 60 mountains, most of which are in Luzon. My favorite would be Mt. Makiling in Los Banos, Laguna because of its rainforest and its proximity to Manila. There’s lot of great places to eat around Los Banos, perfect for those who love food as much as nature! It’s also easy to get to.
3. What are your most-recommended climbs and treks for new mountaineers?
For those who are based in Luzon, the mountains in Rizal and Batangas would be an excellent introduction to hiking. The trails are scenic, beginner-friendly and not technical. In Rizal, some of the mountains you can visit for the first time include Mt. Lubog, Tagapo and Sembrano. You can also refer to this post written by Celine Reyes for When In Manila as a reference. In Batangas, there’s Mt. Hugom and Mt. Maculot (a classic choice!).
4. What are your best tips in preparing for a Hiking/Mountaineering Trip?
Prepare accordingly to make the most out of your mountain hike. Train so you can focus on the view and not on catching your breath. Go for endurance exercises that work on your back, thighs (for steep assaults), calves and knees (for descending). Me, I go for a combination of weights and endurance exercises like swimming, elliptical machine and stairs climbing.
It’s also useful to read about where you’re going so you can plan what to pack, know who you’re going with or at least the organizer. You’ll be alone in the mountain with them so you need to be able to trust the company you’re with. Don’t forget to bring nutritious food supplies (apples, grapes, nuts, zucchini and dried cranberries works well for me) and your first aid kit.
5. What are your advice to new mountaineers?
“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” This was taught to us when I was getting started and it helped influenced my behavior outdoors. Nowadays, with all the flooding and environmental concerns, we all can do our share in our own little way by not littering and respecting nature.
Lastly, hit like on Pinoy Mountaineer page on Facebook. This is not my site. It is owned by a hiker friend, a medical anthropologist who provides excellent insights on outdoor life and environmental issues. He expresses it in a way that’s inspiring, understandable and relatable. He also encourages you to think for yourself. The page is very much active and aside from reading about the owner’s insights, you can also pick up information on new and old hiking destinations.
Christine also shares that the proper term to use in what she's doing is "hiking." Mountaineering is used if you're using technical equipment like harness. Although in the Philippines, the term "mountaineer" is loosely used for hiking.
Christine is also a blogger and shares her travels and hiking experiences in her blog jovialwanderer.com. Get more travel tips from Christine by following her in Instagram @jovialwanderer where she shares his travels, hikes, food trips and adventures around the Philippines and beyond.
ALSO READ: 6 Hiking Spots Near Manila You'd Never Believe Were Ideal For Romantic Dates
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