It was hot and the humidity wasn’t helping. Sweat rolled off my brow and into my eyes. I could taste the salt on my lips. Only for brief moments did a mild wind blow, cooling the soaked shirt that protected me from the sun. My dirt covered fingers clamped upon another rock and I inched forward a bit more.
How far up was I? I don’t know. Maybe halfway, maybe a bit more. I didn’t look down as I climbed, I only looked up. With each step Mt. Tambaliza grew smaller and I became stronger. The dirt, the sweat, and the scratches from broken shale faded behind adrenaline. Conquering a rock never felt so good.

The sounds of dawn-breaking music evolved from my cell phone and I opened my eyes to the dim sunlight of a cloud covered morning. It was just a dream.None the less, it answered that lingering question of “What am I going to do in the Philippines this vacation?” I know what I will do. Waters of Island XI will settle my unfinished business and climb Tambaliza!

“OA ka”, Jennifer tells me. That’s ‘OA’ as in over-acting and “no,” she says, “you are not climbing Tambaliza.” We’ll see. For some reason I’m obsessed with that rock. My compass keeps pointing at it.
I don’t think many people struggle with how they want to spend their vacation but it get’s to be a challenge when you’ve been to the same place a half-dozen times. Vacation must have that vacation-like feeling of escape so that when you return to your daily labors, you actually feel like you’ve had a break. There should little to no itinerary on a vacation, just unconquered goals. Tambaliza fits the bill for me.

Of course there will be other activities as well. We’re sure to sprawl out on a beach or two and it’s definite another pig will be sacrificed for the festivities to come. The church is also awaiting our arrival for their annual anniversary. That’s likely to involve a pig as well. Our little piggies never seem to make it to market. Vacation will indeed be full of fun, sun, food and fellowship. And that’s what we’re looking for, isn’t it?

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