A passion for rock climbing
May 10, 2016
Rock climbing in the Philippines has only been around the scene for 2 decades and though the sport took on a slow steady growth in the country at first, the community and the awareness on it are gaining momentum through the number of younger climbers coming into the scene and the arrival foreign climbers getting acquainted with the country’s prime spots for rock climbing.
Through the efforts of climbers with so much passion for the sport, like Miel Pahati, one of the top Filipino climbers today, and Southeast Asia’s largest outdoor sports and recreation store, Recreational Outdoor eXchange (R.O.X.), that has supported many of the country’s extreme sports athletes through an array of premium sports brands under their network, rock climbing in the Philippines is getting much needed support.
Coming back from his recent trip from Greece, participating in The 2014 North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival trying out routes and meeting the legends of climbing, Miel has a lot of stories and learnings to share to the climbing community. “I got mixed reactions when I told participants in the climbing festival that there is climbing in the Philippines. Many were surprised to hear it, there are others who said that we are the next hot destination for climbing. But in general, you could say that most of them are curious to see what we have to offer.”
“Right now, we only have 500 routes here in the Philippines which is a far-cry from what they have in other countries,” Miel shares what climbing in other countries can offer. “They have at least a thousand routes in just one area in Kalymnos. You could only imagine our gap with other countries.”
But through climber-friends from Climbers Without Borders (CWB), an organization that brings together climbers all over the world to aid and support other climbing communities in developing the sport in their own localities, they came up with the SPOT Project to create a support network between global climbing community and local climbers. This would help local areas to develop climbing by collecting and sending in equipment, helping in developing crags by bolting more routes, and through financial, logistical or technical support supported by private and public sponsors within the network.
“It is very heart-warming to see a lot of the climbers at Kalymnos had expressed their support through donations and pledges,” Miel cracking his voice a bit while sharing the overwhelming experience. “A lot of them bought our shirts, which will go a long way in helping us with the program, while a lot of them gave us enough equipment, like bolts, quick draws, anchors, drills, and shoes, to at least initiate our plans on developing more routes. There will be more coming in by 2015, and we don’t how to thank everyone enough for the love and support we’re getting.”
While there is already an influx of support from climbing communities in other countries, support from the local climbing community here in the Philippines is also on its way. “Right now we’re thinking of learning from our mentors, those who started climbing here in the Philippines, and passing it on to the younger climbers who can help in developing new routes,” Miel said.
“Support from establishments, like R.O.X. has also been helpful in terms of spreading awareness and getting more support from their brands. With their thousands of followers online and hundreds of customers coming in to their stores every day, our stories will definitely get heard. And through that we hope that more support locally will started to rush in,” Miel added.
Rock climbing in the Philippines has come a long and is still growing as more and more people are getting into the sport. “Our crags have a lot of potential. Years from now, I see climbing here in Philippines will finally pick up the pace and more people here and from other countries enjoy rock climbing as much as they do in other countries,” Miel shared. “But for now, we’ve got a lot of work to do and we need everyone’s support in this project.”
Support SPOT Project through the information you can get from their website, spot.climbers-without-borders.org and to know more about Philippine Rock Climbing, visit www.climbphilippines.com. Connect through R.O.X. by liking their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/roxphilippines.