TRAVEL: NSTP SURP Camping Trip with Basquille, Mt. Makiling

Well hello there, people of the interwebs!

I am crawling out of my cave of inactivity to post this set of photos I took last April 25-27 during a field trip in Los Banos, Laguna. For the summer semester I took a rappelling and survival CWTS (Civil Welfare Training something) class under the School of Urban and Regional Planning to fulfill my NSTP (National Service Training Program) requirement.  Basically it’s a month long program where we learn how to respond to emergencies and disasters as citizens. For the past 4-5 weeks my teammates and I have been learning rappelling, CPR, compass navigation, proper carrying, bandaging, knotting, camping strategies and general fun things like ziplining and trekking. So as a culminating activity and a test of our new abilities, we all had to attend this 3 day camping trip in the heart of Mt. Makiling.

This trip earned a special place in my ~heart~ because (1) this was my first college field trip (and it definitely was UP material), (2) I was with the clingiest, vainest, craziest and best team ever (#BASQUILLE), and (3) it was ridiculously fun and almost disgustingly unforgettable. I’ll break it down for you later on, and you’ll get to know my insane teammates too. LOL.

Shot using my Nikon D3100 55 mm. Post-processing using Photoshop CS6. All photos taken and edited by yours truly.


 Gilbert traverses. Instructor relaxes. 



Notice our refugee set-up. I paid Php1700 to share 3 clogged “showers” with 200 other women. In the words of Jerson quoting White Chicks, I’m gonna write a letter.


One of our numerous groupies. I did say that we were vain, right?


Selfie with the queen bitch himself, Jerson.


This is not just a photo of cards. This is a photo of a culture. During this trip (actually this whole class) I think I learned 5 new card games, including Bridge. If you want to bond with random strangers, climb a mountain and bring a pack of cards– I swear you’ll be close as fuck after. Shoutout to my Speed homies, y’all are fucking great. I can feel a phantom full house in my hands as I type right now.


We learned how to make stoves out of soda cans and random rocks. Amazing.


A quick snap of the rusting tor before we started climbing Mt. Makiling. Before this we woke up at 4AM to jog 5k uphill Band of Brothers style. I jumped into the flooded shower and had one of the worst baths in my life.


After 3 hours of hiking in the hot and humid forests of Makiling, we take a break near a spring. I see this random stack of rocks. How anticlimactic, I know.


Notice two characters: Marx, with his hands covering his own face, is frustratingly camera-shy. Behind him is Rjay, who is on the other hand attracted to the sound of camera shutters.


Exhausted boys sleeping on rocks. We are hardcore.


An empty snail shell picked up by Marx.


Gino in a classic photobomb.


Some of my teammates in a sea of leaves. I fucking hate leaves now.


Gilbert’s neon green shoes perched on the rocks.


John is ridiculously photogenic. You’ll see.


Nikka our team leader (and the best one at that)!


Inverted Princess Shalimar. She doesn’t look like she trekked through the forest for 4 hours. #annoying


See, photogenic?! Ugh. He isn’t even really part of Basquille. (LOLJK WE LOVE U JOHN)


 BEST TEAM LEADER: Nikka. “Candid”. Also doesn’t look like she just climbed a mountain.


I, on the other hand, look like I did. #realism #ghettolife #hamaknajejelamang



A wild Chariezard suddenly appeared!


Day 3 Selfie with Johann and Cha before the compass navigation! The night before we had to perform for Smokers’ Night. We staged a skit on the true bromance and the team OTP, JerBert (Jerson/Gilbert). Wild. Also, smores under the stars. Much love.

Shortly before this we swam in the infamous 2-feet deep pool. The pool water was literally green. *shudders* I don’t want to talk about it.



One of the stations for the compass navigation. Basically we were sent out to the mountain alone with only a compass and a set of coordinates that we had to get to under time pressure. Like Amazing Race/Survivor/Man vs Wild/Emergency Rescue in the mountain.



Dale Lim.



Reign. Selfie Queen.


 John being all Bear Grylls on me.


Jerson crossing the rope around 50 feet up in the air.


Rjay. “Candid”.






John doing something in one of the last stations. Not seen: knotting and bandaging. I was too tired and /in the moment/ to take more pictures.


We are Basquille for a reason.



I can slap on any B/W filter on virtually any of Johann’s photos and it can look like a really emo and dramatic album cover. Such is his skill.






Me and my trusty neck pillow. And Gino. We capped off the trip with a stopover at Chowking for some Chinese MSG galore and a hilarious game of Would You Rather.

That is all. I share this because this has been one of my favorite experiences as a UP student, and because NSTP is over and I really miss my team. This is why I was AWOL for the past weeks– I was having too much fun with this bunch. Gained a whole load of skillz, conquered some phobias, lost probably 3 tons of sweat and made a great set of friends– such is life. Let me wax sentimental because I have 3 more months of summer boredom ahead of me that won’t ever light a candle to this incredible month.

With much love and pessimism,



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