October 19, 2006 at 8:27 am | Posted in UP Mountaineers | 11 Comments

It’s only until last Tuesday that the feeling finally sank in. That together with a minority of my batchmates, I will not be joining the induction climb tonight at Pulag.

I flunked the practical skills test, you see, by half a point. Yes. Zero-fucking-point-five. The cut-off was 75% and my score was 74.5.

What can I say? I thought I did alright in some skills. I thought Papa Henry gave me a poor score for stove operations, and my land nav score could have been better — two ‘events’ where I thought I did well.

But where I did poor, I did really, really bad. After finishing them, I wanted to do the orienteering, the tent-pitching and the fire-building all over. And I was right. And I was granted my wish. I did poorly in those areas — skills that required a partner, which is not to say I blame Herbert whom I was paired with on both tent-pitching and fire-building (we scored a scandalous low of 5.5 in both ‘events’ out of a possible 10 and 15, respectively). Nor is this to say that I would probably work better alone in the outdoors, which is a definite no-no.

It’s just to say that maybe I could have been more assertive and risked bossing Herb around. Then maybe he wouldn’t have put too much fuel into the fire and we could have got it going faster. But I’m not blaming him, no, no. Not at all. Whatever. Hehe.

Some people were telling me to ask for a consideration. The chismis is that an officer proposed that the cut-off be lowered to 73 to accommodate at least four more of us in. It was rejected, but appreciated nevertheless. It was so big of C* to do that, but as I told my group, I wanted to earn that dogtag too, and didn’t want to rely on special favors and accommodations. If it meant I had to retake, then so be it.

But since last Tuesday this feeling has been with me. I was picking up Iona at Malcolm and was waiting for her at the driveway. I was loking over at the MainLib’s North Wing where I remembered my batchmates were conducting their pre-climb meeting. The first ever org activity I wasn’t joining. I suddenly missed the rush of making sure I wasn’t late for a meeting, the 5-minute intervals of waiting, chit-chatting, the familiar noise of the tambayan of mems and apps together… and suddenly I was sad. I guess the org has grown on me? But isn’t it too early? After all, I only have one foot in. I can be a big bitch about all of this and just say screw you, I don’t need this. But I do.

So here’s the thing. I got 89.9% in the written exam so I don’t have to take that one again. The practical exam retake is scheduled for early December, and there will be about 12 of us taking it again and another 5 or 6 taking it after missing the October test.

I guess it has its own benefits being a Decemberist. I have more than enough time to train for the killer 15k which I have to beat at 1:45. A co-app passed out last Friday running the route, and temporarily lost her memory. Seriously. She had to be rushed to the hospital. She’s fine now though, and will be joining the December induction. My other co-apps were exhausted by the15k run — I water stationed for them last Friday and saw how beat they were. It was so tense I just had to smoke, not thinking that if I finally pass the practicals, I will be doing the same thing 5 weeks from now. Yey, lungs!

Anyway, I digress. So yes, my batchmates will be leaving for Pulag tonight at midnight, and should be back on Monday. Kabayan-Akiki trail on the way up and the relatively safer and smoother Ambangeg trail on the way back. With dogtags on them by the time they get back. Including Herbert, whom I do not blame for me flunking. Nope, not at all. Hehe. Whatever.
This is where the teeny-weeny bit of sadness comes in. I want that dogtag. But this setback means I have to keep working at it. And the thing is, I think I have worked hard enough. But it just wasn’t worth enough. By half a point, actually. Haha. Whine.

But on the other hand, I am happy for my batchmates. Only for as long as they don’t gloat about their dogtags, in which case I will kick some serious ass. But honestly, the camaraderie is just unbelievably strong which is why one’s failure is everyone’s sorrow and one’s victory is everyone’s joy. Which is maybe part of the reason why I am also sad. Because if I flunk the December test, I will have to go back next year as a continuing applicant. I can’t afford that. By then I would have moved on to other pursuits, and I want that dogtag now. This is not a test of patience but a matter of going after a just-deserved reward.

And I know that if and when I do earn that dogtag I can give more than I already have, because the friendships I have earned throughout the last four months have truly inspired me and made me believe in this thing called trust again.

And so, whatever happens in December, I know for sure that after this process is over I can always look back and say — hell, I loved what I did at the time and was damn proud of myself. I broke barriers and I set myself up to a higher standard of self-actualization, which is more than I can say for my dreary, uninspiring job.

(this piece goes out to hugz, funrun, torpe, jajaja, drunken master, mikoy, black is north, lnj, surferdude and everyone else in the same status as I am right now. wink wink. bawi tayo batchmates!!)



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  1. Hey dearie! You were one of the few I texted around midnight when I flunked. What a drag, right? But we’ll be better for this I’m sure. I sooo hear what you’re saying. I was reminded recently that in the beginning all I wanted was the dogtag. But dogtag or no dogtag, the friendship you’ve gifted me with is reward enough. Love you much. Let’s pass this thing already! Go Rumble Reggae!

  2. thanks yce. labyu too gurl! mwah!

  3. ei, magaling ka pala sumulat. i likeS that 🙂

    heniweys, ika nga, iniisip mo palang na matatalo ka e talo ka no. kung iisipin mo namang mananalo ka e di WINNAH!

    sabi na rin ni flavier (we) can DOH eeeeet!

    cya ;P

  4. you have no choice except to do it. all of you guys will have to pass the 2nd round. no exception.

    kaya niyo yan

  5. kakayanin, ria dear, hehehe. thanks sa moral support!

    tsi, anawangin! nov11-12 ha. 😀

  6. ironically, though I passed..(m not gloating, seriously) i can’t feel as victorious as i want to. This induction is way difrent from 2003 because this time, thr triumph comes not just in finishing but finishing together. Di ko alam Vice kung anp meron tong batch na to pero parang never tayong HINDI magkakilala. Having said that, rest assured that we’ll do everything in our power, (not move mountains though.. LNT.. HEHEH) To be with you through all of this.. so get your ass back to training, gurl..

    In Surfer dude’s famous words :”WALA NANG PANAHON” HEHE

    At sabi ko nga.. sa RUMBLE REGGAE, walang iwanan! (laglagan lang! )


  7. You’ll be surprised that most of our better members did not pass the first time they took the skills test.

    Failure is the best teacher 🙂

  8. hi dont loose hope.just keep on trying and some day you will get to the peak of mount pulag.hehehe…just keep on practicing.train well keep up the good work.

  9. speaking of dogtags, you haven’t given me your tag details. so more work for me come February!!!

    hehehe. just kidding aside. congrats for making it this time around.

    never forsake going up hills and mountains.

    mabuhay ang UP Mountaineers!

  10. thanks for the words of encouragement guys. all that needs to be done now for me is to pass the 15k and go on with the induction climb…. wish us luck, so we can finally, with no further ado, join your ranks!! 😀

  11. dens,

    errrr… sorry!! 😀 ok ok sir, magpapa-blood test na ko, kasabay ng pacheck up sa ortho… ugh.

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