Meet Roxanne, a Mountain Climber and an Outreach Volunteer

TEXT: Kaycie Gayle Yambao

Roxanne Gail Lacap is a software engineer, an award-winning short story writer in vernacular language, an advocate in helping tribe groups and a woman with a passion for mountain climbing. 

For this young woman, traveling does not only mean going to a place just to see what it has but entails putting your heart on it. You must travel with a heart, by giving respect to the locals, tradition, culture, environment as well as with your travel companions. She believes that you must care for the place like you live there and love the locals like you are one of them.

Finding her passion for mountain climbing 

Roxanne’s curiosity on mountain climbing has begun after hearing the shared experiences of his mentor George Z. Santos and his group. Since she was in high school she has been actively involved in the outreach programs that her mentor was organizing. One of their projects was tree planting activity on Mt. Abo where she was able to have her first interaction with the mountain. 

Her first climb

The first mountain she climbed and reached the summit is Mt. Manalmon. Being her first time, she had difficulty mountaineering since she only had ideas about it but still lacks experience. It is at this point that she realized that knowledge alone is not enough to make something easy but it is the experience and practice that really makes you good at it. She initially regretted and thought it was going to be her last mountaineering, however, this changed as soon as she reached the summit. The scenic panorama gave her a nice overwhelming feeling and realized that great views come after a hard climb.

Finding her climbing buddies and adventures with them

Roxanne has been with different groups prior to joining her current mountaineering club. One of her friends invited her to climb Mt. Pinatubo with the Traverse Club and since then she has been mountaineering with them. She has stayed with the group as she felt welcome and has seen its genuine concern among its members. One of her unforgettable experiences with the group happened during her first climb with them. When the group has decided to take 5 (five-minute climbing break), she nodded off due to sleep deprivation for two consecutive days and exhaustion. When the group decided to start hiking again, she was still dozing and so they have decided to wait for a few more minutes. When they noticed that her sleep was getting longer than expected they started waking her up, however, despite their effort, she remained dozing. The group thought she passed out and was about to call a rescue when she woke up just in time. She cannot forget the worried faces she had seen, and it is at this moment that her desire to stay with the group has been cemented.  Since then she has found a family with Traverse Club and has experienced so much with them and shared a lot of stories as well.

Touches of laughter while climbing

In one of her climbs, she has experienced running out of drinking water, and so their group has decided to fetch a bottle of water from the spring. While drinking, they’ve seen larva and mosquitoes floating on it, but due to their excessive thirst, they had no choice but to still drink it. For Roxanne, a traveler must learn how to adjust accordingly and handle different circumstances. You should be flexible since it is not the place or the people around that must adjust for you, but you should. Mountain climbing made her appreciate how to live simply and not be too finicky.

Remarkable climb 

It is hard for Roxanne to choose a favorite mountain as each climb provides her a different experience. However, her Mt. Pulag climb has been remarkable to her, since it enabled her to realize the importance of building strong relationships and made her appreciate how blessed she is to have her friend. In her climb to Mt. Pulag, her friend kept her warm and made sure she was well when she felt she would almost die in Hypothermia. She learned the importance of establishing a relationship in every place that she goes and chooses not to be only friends with her travel companions but also with the people she encounters along the trail may they be local or non-local. She believes that you cannot live on the mountain alone.

A genuine passion for mountain climbing 

At the outset, Roxanne climbs once a month but has eventually climbed more frequently. She used to prefer exploring a different mountain than repeating the same peak. This has changed when her genuine passion for mountaineering has naturally developed and has started looking forward to her next climb. Admittedly she said that previously, her motivation for doing it was mixed up with pride but this ego dissipated as she started enjoying the journey and the climbing experience itself. Since she strongly desires to keep on doing it, her weeks wouldn’t be complete without climbing or even thinking about it. She remained to climb not because of the mountaineering trend, but because of her true passion for it. 

Mountain climbing as a therapeutic activity

Mountaineering is also therapeutic for her as it allows her to reflect while climbing. She’s refreshed and re-energized as her stress and tiredness from the daily grind goes away when she climbs. She feels that when she descends from the mountain and goes back to the city, she is ready to face challenges and can take pressing situations again. An added benefit of this activity to her is that she does not experience anxiety whenever she climbs.

Mountain climbing and women encouragement

Roxanne is aware that a lot of women may be intimidated in pursuing mountaineering because it is a physically demanding activity. She encourages women to go beyond their comfort zone and experience this activity, as they will discover more about their inner and outer strength. She wants other women to experience the reward of priceless scenic views from the summit. She has been sharing her experiences to inspire women to travel more, and motivate them that they can also pursue mountain climbing. 

Outreach on Tribes

Aside from mountaineering, Roxanne is also actively involved in projects like ‘Share a Care’ which is a voluntary charitable activity that reaches out to tribe groups like the Aetas community.  She also gives time to empower and mentor youths who feel to be ‘the last, the least, and the lost’. Moreover, she also takes part in the outreach programs conducted by the Traverse group in helping the locals of the places they visit.

Ten years from now

Ten years from now she still sees herself climbing the mountains. She hopes to do mountaineering while her feet still can and be able to climb with the young ones she is now mentoring. The genuine passion of this unstoppable woman has been vivid when she shared her thoughts about this activity.

“Noon naririnig ko lang sya sa mga kwento ni dada e. Nakikita ko lang sa pictures. Naiimagine ko lang. Ngayon, nagagawa ko na sya.  Pinangarap ko din kasi talaga to. Hanggang sa naabot ko na, paano ko pa bibitawan”

I used to only hear it from dada’s stories and just see it in pictures. I can only imagine it. But now I am doing it already. I have dreamed about this and now that I’ve reached this point, so how can I give it up?

Learnings from mountain climbing

Roxanne also shared the life lessons she learned from mountaineering. She imparted during the interview that mountain climbing has the same principles with the realities of life. She recounted that not everything in life is easy because sometimes you would have to face challenges before you would see the result or be able to get what you want. The same goes for mountaineering as you may experience fatigue, hunger, and thirstiness along the trail, but these hurdles shouldn’t stop you from hiking up to the summit. Getting on top requires determination and hard work, but once you’ve reached the summit, the experience is rewarding. Moreover, she believes that pursuing the right trail is always the best option as opting to walk through the shortcuts might detour you or get you into harming situations. If you choose the shortcut, make sure that you are ready as it may have consequences that are more than what you expect. Lastly, she recommends that you accept your pacing as we have different tempos. Some climb faster while some are slower. Being slow does not mean we are lesser of worth or we would not reach the pinnacle. We would if we choose the right track and consistently step up.

Happy Travels! 💛

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