Ode to Mt. Apo

Written during my first climb and included in my first book, “Beyond the Horizon”….

 

ODE TO MT. APO

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

You could have just been a dream…

Yet, here I am, biding my time

from where I’ll start my trek

over hills, mountains

thick forests, hot springs and lakes.

 

Please consider me one of your people…

those who dwell at your foot –

Bagobos, Manobos, and others

whose smile, warm and sweet

vanishes the fear and fatigue

of intruders like me and the rest.

 

Uncertain of what to find….

I don’t mind at all

for I know, I’m among a good people.

 

I don’t mind the trek from Makalangit –

past the Fourteen Stations

to Mt. Zion

or the nerve-rending leaps

from boulder to boulder

sixteen times across

the gurgling Marble River

that girdles your waist.

 

Ah, beloved Apo…

your sonorous Twin and Malou Shih Falls

delightfully blend

with the songs of birds

and chirps of cicadas

music that no man can feign.

 

Lake Venado, unruffled…

serenely mirrors your soul

and the seemingly drop of tear, Lake Jordan

furtively glistens under the searing sun.

 

Even for a moment while up here…

on the summit

I become part of you

as my wary soul is soothed

by your enchanting Lake Agko.

 

But there’s more to these…

Things that I need to understand –

those behind the curtains of moss

and orchids that hang

from the limbs of century trees;

those beneath your soft carpet

of lichens and grass

that swallow our steps

as if to muffle whatever

sound they might make.

 

You are the ultimate answer desired

by those who long

for adventure and mystery;

and, it may take a long time

for you to be transformed

from a dream into reality…