It Made Me Stronger, Wiser, More Cautious and Much Crazier Traveler!

Time runs so fast. It is already 1 year when that incident happened. It was January 20,2013 when I traversed Mt Tabayoc along with my friends and Baroc Mountaineers. I thought it would be just one of my climb wherein I'll just take photos of the views and sceneries and enjoy the cold air at the peak of a mountain. That's how confident I am on my trekking skills (despite being lean or "payatot"). Who would have thought, I'll be facing a terrifying tragedy that day? Well I didn't.

During the climb, I had my left kneecap dislocated.

We were almost in the viewing deck of Mt Tabayoc when it happened and because of my injury, we all need to stop the trek and rush me down the fastest time possible.

What happened was, we were in the steep part of the mountain and actually using force to lift ourselves up. Then there was this point wherein I had to twist my body to a certain angle in order to reach the next and a higher platform. Unfortunately, as I twist my body and lift up myself on the next platform my left knee got stuck in a plant stems / tree roots. As a result of twisting my body with so much force and having my left foot stuck on that tree root, the joint/bone on my knee suffered and forced it to dislocate.

At first, I didn't know that I got my bone dislocated. I just heard a snap then the next thing I felt was I am in great pain. Then I looked at my knee.  Though my skin did not teared up (thank God), the dislocated bone is evident. Then I started screaming one of my friend's name who were in front of me that time. I said: "Baron... Teka teka, may nangyari saken".

Then I pushed myself to sit down. Moving my body, specially my leg, were so painful. I can still recall how painful it was as I write this post. I positioned myself sitting to one of the steps and hanged my left leg since I was in a stair-like made of soil when this incident happen. Since my left leg was hanged, it was constantly moving. Those movements trigger the pain which makes me scream. So Edward supported my leg by holding it on a certain position where I am comfortable with. There were so many times that I screamed at Edward, even told him some terrible words, every time I felt a movement on my leg. I was out of control every painful moment that time. Sorry Ward!

Mt Timbac is located in Benguet and it is the 3rd highest mountain in Luzon. Plus not to mention that we were almost on top when this happened to me. It was around 5 degree Celsius that day. So everybody were freezing. They had to remove both of my shoes and socks to check if everything is fine and to monitor my injured leg if it will change its color (which did not happen. Thank God again). It added to the factor to make me freeze more. Then jackets and scarfs started to flow and cover me. It came from the other members of Baroc mountainners whom some of them were stranger to me. I felt their concern.

That's another reason why I didn't cry or give up despite what happened. Dislocated knee is not only terrifying for me but also to them. If I gave up and cry that time, it will not do any good to any of us. It will just make the situation even worst. I saw the fear in the eyes of my fellow hikers when they looked at me... when they looked at my injured knee. A hand gesture (thumb's up sign) kept on popping out from them. Asking if I am ok. As a respond, I give back a thumb's up and murmured them "Sorry po" . What I felt that time was I ought each and everyone of them a sorry. I am sorry because I was a burden that they need to carry that day. Sorry because they cannot continue all the way to the peak due to what happened to me. Sorry because everyone suffered and were freezing because they have to wait for my rescue. And sorry because I made them worry.

We were on the same platform for an hour and waiting for the rescue team to pick me up. Everybody were freezing like I said. Until one of the Baroc Member approached me and decided that we should move. They contacted a doctor and through phone, the doctor instructed the team on what should be done. The next thing I know, my leg has been tourniquet.

The plan is, there will be 4 persons who will support me (to be able to stand and walk). One person on my right and the other on my left. These two will be my walking sticks on my side. They will support both of my shoulders wherein I'll focus my force to stand up. The other one will be on my back. That person will support my back and hip. So less force will be distributed on my leg when I get up and will also support us if we fall back. And the last person is what Edward has been doing the whole time. Support my left foot and assist it in a way I feel comfortable (that was the hardest role hahahaha).

At first, just on my mind, I was struggling and hesitant with the plan. A small movement was already a pain for me. What more if I tried to stand up and walk it out? But when one of the Kuya from Baroc told me: "Kailangan mo tong gawin. Kaya mo yan pre. Puso lang. Puso lang". Those words woke me up. All of my hesitations were washed out. "Puso lang". So I agreed to the plan then slowly they started to lift me up.  I was screaming my lungs out. The pain was indescribable but we have to continue. We need to keep moving and ignore my screams and pain. I know those 4 persons backing me up were doing their best so I need to be strong as well.

Then there was this big step ahead of us. A wide step from one platform to another platform. There was a plan and the execution of that plan was vital. As we attempt to cross that step, we lost control and slide down. I believe everybody screamed because of that slide. Worried again. Then I feel and heard another pop, a snap. So I scream so hard and said "Ibaba nyo ko... may tumunog! May tumunog!" Slowly, they took me down and I looked at my knee. TADA! It was back to its old form. The dislocated bone disappeared and went back to its original place. That slide made a positive outcome. That was a relieved. However, they still don't recommend me to walk my leg on my own so we're still pushing the plan. But right before we positioned ourselves again. The rescue team already found us. They have a long wood and blankets with them and made me to this:

Paypayan nyo ko! Hahaha #FeelingHari (Photo from Edward Calugtong)
The aura was changed. Everybody were relieved and smiling. Well, laughs on me because I looked like a wild animal caught by hunters with that position. I was carried like that (refer on the photo) the whole trek down.

Slow down guys! (Credit to the owner of the photo)
When we reach the campsite, I saw Julius running towards me. #buttonmode He was in the campsite because he passed on hiking Mt Tabayoc. So when he heard the news that one of the trekkers had an accident and it was me, "Nagalala na daw siya". Hahaha. Sensya na pre.

I felt good when we're already in the campsite. I already feel safe and I was actually melting with the special attention. Everyone's attention were on me. Everyone shows care and concern. THANK YOU PO NG MARAMI! Stories of what happened was the main topic of conversation. How did it happened, what everybody saw and did, and lastly, how did we conquered it...

It was (a bit) traumatic... yet a learning experience. It made me much stronger as a person. It taught me that hiking, though exciting and fun, it must be taken/treated cautiously. That hikers/trekkers should never let their guards down when hiking. That incident made us one. Camaraderie were shown in different ways and in so many ways. I thank God that I have friends I can lean on and a group that even I am a stranger to them, helped me and never left me alone on that moment.

Again, thank you guys!

Signing goodbye to Mt Tabayoc with Impossibru meme face (Photo from Byron Cantonjos)


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