Article By: Anugraha Babuji
Stuck in our concrete bubble, we Bearcats often tend to forget that we live in a country that serves as a green oasis packed with natural treasures. From hidden waterfalls to serene wilderness trails, the Philippines is full of getaway locations for those who wish to relax with mother earth. It’s definitely important for students to recognize that once in awhile, it’s not only healthy but necessary to take a step back from the hectic nature of our work culture. Fortunately, there are clubs at ISM, such as the Recreation, Environment, Active, Learning (REAL) club that cater to the need and desire for adventure.
Some of the sites visited by REAL club include hiking trails such as those found in Mount Maculot, Mount Batulao, Mount Apo, and many more, that are rather accessible, not too long or expensive. With an aim and mission which providing students, who need a break from studying, with fun opportunities to quench their thirst for adventure, the REAL Club engages in organising a variety of trips from day hikes at places like Mount Maculot to surfing in Zambales and camping in Puerto Galera. REAL Club aims to make these trips at least once a month or once in two months in order to give ISM students an opportunity to embark on adventurous trips and also gives a fun and engaging platform through which CAS action hours, and outcomes, can be earned.
Whilst it is very convenient to notice that clubs such as REAL provide adventurous trips as those mentioned above, it is also important to consider what happens in these trips that makes them useful and worthwhile. Take for example the overnight trip to Camp JEST in Subic 2 years ago. The overnight trip allowed students to hike to a camping site, where they got to learn skills such as making traps, making shelters, making fire, and making utensils to cook and eat food. Throughout this whole trip, students were always actively engaged in one task or another, allowing them to forget all about school work, whilst simultaneously learning life skills as such. 2 days laters, students packed up the campsite, hiked back up the hill, and returned home on a Sunday evening with highly satisfied and accomplished emotions.
Treasurer of the REAL club, senior Gus M., says that “adventure and activities such as hiking or camping [are] important for ISM students because they provide an escape from manila, a city that is very dense and lacks much nature”. Gus claims that his favorite trip so far has been the hiking trip to the Taal Lake.
It is important to remember that once in awhile, students need to give themselves a break and head out on adventurous and engaging trips to not only get to experience a world outside our classrooms and houses, but also get to be one with the nature.