♫♫There are places I remember♫♫
♫♫All my life, though some have changed♫♫
♫♫Some forever not for better♫♫
♫♫Some have gone and some remain♫♫
♫♫All these places had their moments♫♫
♫♫With lovers and friends♫♫
♫♫I still can recall♫♫
♫♫Some are dead and some are living♫♫
♫♫In my life I've loved them all♫♫
(excerpt from the song In My Life by The Beatles)
It was on the ship bound to Batangas Port when I was asked by a kid if how many times did I have climb with the guy talking with his mom. I replied a couple of times. But those two times namely Luzon 3-2-1 hike and Mt. Guiting Guiting were the two most difficult climbs I ever had. Technically, it covers four mountains so in a way we had four climbs together. By the way, the mom was Elma Muros-Posadas, a well known athlete, and the guy she was talking with is Victor Joel Ayson or Biki as fondly called by his peers. Biki is recently on the news as the hiker missing in Mt. Maculot.
The aforementioned anecdote happened just hours before he was reported missing. He was with me and three others, Tootz, Mick and Marlon for five grueling days in Sibuyan Island, Romblon. He organized the said sojourn. Basically, he almost did everything the whole trip from event organizer to doing the errands to communicating with us as well as to the guides up to cooking for us and lastly taking photos. The last was his hobby if not passion. Before the trip, I kinda labeled him as "the photographer" due to his expertise on that endeavour. In fact, when he joined the Luzon 3-2-1 hike, I asked Dada who he was, and his reply was that he takes good pictures and that answer was good enough for me. Indeed, the whole trek even in the limatik infested Tawangan trail, he took pictures of us along the said path to Mt. Pulag's summit. And fortunate to me, my first ever sunrise in Pulag was the most special because his pictures was amazing that made some of my friends drooled.
|Luzon 3-2-1 Group (Sir Biki on the outer right)|
I do not know him really well as we only had interactions during climbs so the Victor Ayson I only know is the Mountaineer/Photographer Biki. His stat sheets is very impressive, he conquered Pulag, Apo and Kanlaon in one year. Those are the highest peaks in the country's three major islands. He also conquered Pulag via Ambangeg (executive trail), Akiki (killer trail), and Tawangan (Bloody trail). He even made Snapshot Adventours in which he organizes climbs for beginners and enthusiasts as well. Probably, the mountain he most loved is Pulag because he went there 10 times in a span of a year. According to him; he has a 6-4 record of successful Pulag Sunrise (a feat I am envy of and hoping to surpass; I currently boast a 2-2 record). I also noticed that he prefers climbing during a full moon. I think its intended for his photography skills.
|The Great Pulag Sunrise (courtesy of Sir Victor Joel Ayson)|
During our Romblon Invasion, I still remember a lot of things about him like making the ferry boat as a refugee camp wherein he laid out his clothes and other belongings that were wet so it can absorbed the warmness of the sun. In addition, he also had a lot of cup noodles as in a lot as he might tasted all the flavors available on our RoRo trip. Aside from those unusual antics, I observed when we were at Dagubdob Falls, he was a good swimmer as he was the only one able to go to the deepest part of the falls. Also, When he cooks, he always add a curry on the food. According to him, he really prefers having it in his meal. He also respects nature as well as those supposed "inhabitants" in the mountain. When a blue butterfly greeted us in the camp site and quite positioned it self in the cooking area, Biki decided to cook inside his tent so he will not bothered the butterfly as the local said that it was a spirit overseeing us.
As I write this essay and published on the day he turns 27, I will keep on praying for his safety and hoping for his safe return. He still has a lot to accomplish in mountaineering per se. He intends to staged a Mindanao Invasion next year (Talomo-Apo Mega Traverse then a D2K Traverse). I also suggested to climb Pulag days after that so called Invasion so we could have done an epic Pilipinas 1-2-3 (The country's three highest peaks in a few days span; for I the one stupid enough to think of it and he gladly accepted the challenge). Lastly, there's the dream team climb in G2 where as previous conquerors of the mountain and a few fellow hardcore hikers will be assembled for a time attack on the said mountain. (Spoiler Alert: I also remembered Biki telling me that he is planning to pop the question on the country's highest ceiling i.e. Apo this year.)
There are still a lot of mountains, that Victor still need to conquer and take pictures of it so I and a legion of mountaineers and friends are expecting for his safe return. Happy Birthday, Sir Biki!
|'Til our next climb, Biki!|