Tanay is becoming a hiking haven near Manila with several climbing destinations in close proximity with each other. One destination which has fascinated me for a time is the unique looking limestone platform of Nagpatong Rock at Barangay Cuyambay. When I got an invite for a day climb, I quickly jumped-in. Not only to satisfy my curiosity of the place but to support a cause. I joined United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and their ambassador Atom Araullo in climbing Nagpatong rock to spread awareness on their campaign “2 Billion Kilometers to Safety”.
2 Billion Kilometers to Safety
I remember watching one of Atom Araullo’s documentary “Silang Kinalimutan” from GMA iWitness. His story was about the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who flee Myanmar and the efforts of some Filipinos including the UNHCR to bring aid to these refugees.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) considers what’s happening in Myanmar and Bangladesh as one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes in the world. Rohingya refugees are not alone in this plight of being displace due to fear, abuse and oppression. According to UNHCR, refugees around the world walk an estimated 2 billion kilometers every year to reach the first point of safety.
The global campaign called ‘2 Billion Kilometers to Safety’ calls on people all over the world to cover this distance travelled by refugees through individual acts of solidarity. These acts when taken together, acknowledge the resilience and strength of refugees.
Our climb at Nagpatong Rock became more purposeful knowing that every step we take, we’ll be walking along with these refugees. Pledging our kilometers to give them a glimmer of hope through UNHCR’s effort in whatever hard path they are taking.
The trail at Nagpatong Rock was quite easy for regular climbers but it’s the presence of people with the same cause made the climb more fun and easy. From the steep dusty climbs to scrambling along rock walls to get to the top. Together as we reach the top of Nagpatong Rock, in unison we shout “Together, let’s step with refugees!”
Pledge your Miles or Join a Climb
Our collective efforts logged in around 150km. Individually, each person can log up to 50km manually or through an app or manually at their website www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph/.
Eco-adventure outfit Trail Adventours have hikes every third Sunday of the month dedicated for the 2B KM to Safety cause. Proceeds from these themed hikes will go in support of the campaign. To keep join future hikes, follow Trail Adventour’s website at www.trailadventours.com.
Going to Nagpatong Rock
- Public Transport: From Cubao, take a jeep going to Cogeo Gate 2. Past the market there is a big jeep to Sampaloc ( first trip is at 5am). Fare costs PhP50 and travel time is at least an hour (34 kms). Tell the driver to drop you off at Brgy. Cuyambay. Take a tricycle going to Barangay Hall (PhP10 fare). Register then take a tricycle or habal-habal going to drop-off point (PhP40 fare).
- Private: Take the Marcos Hi-way or Sumulong Hiway going to Masinag route. From Masinag, take the road going to Cogeo and head straight to Marikina-Infanta Highway going to Sampaloc, Tanay. From Cogeo, it’s about 34km going to Barangay Cuyambay. Landmark is Pico de Pino Café.
Registration Fee: P100/person
Guide Fee: P500 for a group of 5 person for Nagpatong, P750/ for a group 5 person for Nagpatong-Masungki
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.