Now that summer is here, I know a lot of people would be doing what might be the hardest pre-traveling activity which is – packing and deciding which clothes to wear and take. I myself spend some time considering what set of clothes to pack depending on the number of days and travel destination. In the few set of clothes I bring, most of them are light, comfortable and functional. With functional, meaning it can take on the elements and dry quickly while remaining sensibly fashionable. One of the outdoor apparel brands which has this functional qualities is Columbia Sportswear. And just these weekend, Kenrich International, the local distributor of the brand, invited me along with fellow bloggers, Nina, Phoebe, AJ and Jayvee at the trails of Mt Dagulgol to put their outdoor clothes line and gears to a test.
In all honesty, Columbia is one of the brands I frequent visiting at the malls. In fact I have one of their Mt Logan Soft Shell jacket which I bought late last year and I really enjoy using and bringing it since it’s so light and packable. When I say packable you can actually pack it in its own front pocket which I thought was really cool and amazes a lot of people. When I received a Columbia Wide Mouth water bottle with an invitation at home, I was excited since maybe I get to try their other gears and apparel.
Columbia Apparel is the first global brand which received a seal of recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation for their Omni-Shade clothing Technology which blocks harmful sun exposure. For a tropical country like ours, I think this technology is very useful. It has varying levels of UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor like UPF 30 for Good Protection, UPF 40 for Very Good Protectio and UPF 50 for Excellent Protection.
The climb was scheduled on a Friday and for the first trek day I wore their Omni-Dry Zapper Hills Tee for the tops and an Omni-Dry Silver Ridge Convertible Pants. I must say their clothes must be one of the most comfortable set I’ve worn. They’re very light and cool to the skin. And I was also amused that the Silver Ridge Pants is also packable on its own back pocket. I also used their Wallowa Day Pack. Looks small but very spacious. It actually fitted 2 more sets of clothes, another Columbia Waypoint SoftShell Jacket, some other stuffs like Malong, Kikoy Kit, Snacks, a book, plates and other gadgets.
For the Mt Daguldol Climb, we were accompanied by the folks from Columbia, Dino (the high maintainance Brand Manager slash Gear Guru. Peace :P), Ricky (Megamall branch manager and mountain chef) and Mang Jim (our soft spoken driver). From Makati, it took 4 to 5 hours ride to Baranggay Hugom in San Juan, Batangas. Mt Daguldol, at the elevation of 670 meters, is actually one of the more popular easy climbs if you are just starting on mountaineering. Lots of groups hold their induction here for new members of their climbing organization. Aside from the mountain its also situated near the beach so people could actually enjoy the beach after descending.
This is actually a really fun and interesting climb. Three of the bloggers here have their own Travel Gnomes. It’s not the first time for me seeing one but it seems really fun. Hehe. Nina has her Pinky Street Dolls, Aj has Ernie and Phoebe got her traveling make up brush. Now I want one too! Hahaha. Could somebody tell me where I could find a stuffed wolf. I was also thinking of Panda after actually having seen one.
We started our climb in the afternoon. At first it was real sunny and come later in the afternoon, it started to rain. So we actually got exposed to different elements here. The hike up took around 4 hours. I think the guys, for first timers here did fairly well. As for our gears, I think my bag is splash resistant as there was only minimal moisture inside my Wallowa Bag despite the pouring rain. And their Omni-dry indeed dries faster than usual and it doesn’t smell. At the summit, it was really foggy and cold. Too bad the weather wasn’t that good as I wanted to take some star trails there but all I saw was thick fog. We got to try our jackets as well. The Waypoint Softshell is a bit thicker than my Mt Logan jacket but its more comfortable to the skin and warmer.
At the camp, we get to pitch our tents. The Columbia Dome tent is actually very nice. It has 2 doors, one on each side and very spacious interiors with a hanging compartment at the ceiling and can room 3 medium sized persons. Early morning, it actually rained more but we were still dry inside the tents. At camp we get to eat some pasta, toasted breads and baguettes prepared by the Columbia folks. We get to share some stories as well with the other bloggers. The next day, we had some clearing and we get to do a summit. This is actually the 3rd time I visited this mountain and it’s the first time I did a summit. Maybe because I knew the summit here wasn’t that spectacular as the other Batangas mountains.
Going down was a lot easier and faster for us. Here I really got to appreciate the Columbia Fyter Trail Shoes. It is very comfortable and the omni-grip sure has very good traction even on wet trails. Ok I did had a minor slide on once but that was on a pebbly and sandy ground. But all in, I think this is one comfortable trails shoes combined with the soft and thermal inducing Lifetrek Hiking Socks. On the way, we grabbed some Halo-halo where I get to spend a little time on a hammock. Again, the weather changed from sunny to pouring rain.
When we got down we had some time at San Juan Beach. Since it was pretty crowded we moved to the further beach and eventually found a nice spot where the waves are broken by a set of rocks. It was really nice. I also got to wear their Islander Print Water shorts here for swimming. Aside from its neat tropical design it dries up easily as well.
All in all, it was a really enjoyable climb with the rest of the guys as they were really fun and interesting company. They got so much stories to tell and are very enthusiastic. But just like the movie “Invasion”, you would want to stay awake during the long hour drive back home lest you want to be caught on camera sleeping. hehe. So thank you to Columbia Sportswear Inc for the clothes and gears and to the fellow bloggers for the fun time.
Columbia Sportswear Branches in the Philippines: Gateway Mall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, The Block @ SM North, The Podium, Festival Mall, and Limketkai Mall Cagayan de Oro
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.