Ngipon sa Ilaga and the Quest for Perfection
I’m a train wreck perched precariously in Ngipon sa Ilaga. Full of flaws and limitations, every inch of me is a mess and chaotic. I’m a short-tempered, careless, immature, clumsy, stubborn, and disorganized nonconformist.
And I embrace every flaw and mistake I have made.
That’s why society hates me.
The modern world thinks I’m an outcast and a nutcase.
Yet, as I stand at the top of Ngipon sa Ilaga, I feel fabulous and free.
I don’t feel the pressure of being imperfect.
I don’t feel inadequate, exhausted, and frustrated with my messed-up life.
And I’m enjoying every second of this imperfect, unplanned, and spontaneous nature trip.
As I soak up the fresh mountain breeze in Ngipon sa Ilaga, I feel like I’m a bird.
Like a soaring bird, I’m free.
Free from everyone’s bullshit and free from the rat cage.
I admire the scenery, and a thought suddenly comes into mind: it’s a joy being an imperfect person.
People would be more satisfied with their lives if they stopped pursuing perfection.
Trust me, there are perks to living a perfectly imperfect life. And, allow me showcase to you the beauty of imperfection.
The imperfect trip to Ngipon sa Ilaga, Carmen
Our Sunday trip seems like a recipe for disaster.
First, we don’t know exactly where we’re heading.
All I know is we’re going up north in Cebu to explore its emerald landscapes and quench our thirst for adventure.
Originally, our plan was to take an exhilarating hike up Licos Peak. But, according to my personal sources, climbing Licos Peak wasn’t permitted at that time.
Second, we don’t know who’s coming with us.
Is there anyone else joining us for this semi-impromptu hike? Are they an excellent fit for our go-with-flow culture?
Well, as it turns out, they are a couple of people eager to explore the mountains of North Cebu with us.
But, there’s another problem. We are a little late on our schedule. We should have left two hours earlier.
When exploring new and pristine trails, I usually start my hikes early. That way, we’ll have ample time to make mistakes and explore undiscovered mountains.
For most perfectionists, this trip is a disaster, a mess, and a risk not worth taking.
Chasing perfection is a prison sentence
But, I’m not a perfectionist.
I’m a free-spirited soul who thinks perfection is overrated.
The thing is, I do not hate perfectionists. But, I do feel sorry for them.
They are a slave to perfectionism.
And, perfectionism is a prison cell, a straightjacket, a tumor, and a virus that destroys its host.
Their restless need to be in control, and to be on top of things, is exhausting.
And, the worst part is, they also live with a menacing internal bully.
These bullies constantly threaten failure and are afraid to make mistakes.
They are a harsh and unforgiving internal voice that causes panic, guilt, frustrations, and anxiety.
Perfectionists are often considered high achievers by today’s standards.
But, they can also be uncomfortable to be with because they seem so flawless, and they need everything to go their way.
Along the way, we came up with a rough plan for our trip to North Cebu: explore Ngipon sa Ilaga in Carmen.
I didn’t have a clue on how to get to Ngipon sa Ilaga. And, we did get lost a few times on our journey to Ngipon sa Ilaga.
But, the drive up to Ngipon sa Ilagas was scenic.
We made a stop to enjoy the overlooking vista of Carmen.
And, after several twists and turns, we arrived at the base of the ruggedly gorgeous Ngipon sa Ilaga.
The second we arrived, we were instantly blown away by the breathtaking views of the hills of Tuburan and Carmen.
Thus far, it has been an imperfect journey to the highlands of Carmen, Cebu.
We were already late, and two of our friends didn’t bring food for lunch. But, it didn’t matter.
We don’t chase perfection. We came to Ngipon to Ilaga to unwind, and savor the beauty of nature.
Perfection leads to procrastination
I know this plan to go from Ngipon to Ilaga is random and may sound reckless. But, I had a little information about this secluded mountain in Carmen, Cebu.
Although it’s an imperfect plan, I’d rather take a crack at it than overthink while building the perfect itinerary.
Perfectionists, for the most part, procrastinate as they try to find the perfect plan and solution. And, before they know it, they are already running out of time.
Overthinking often ends up with a super complicated plan that hinders the best intentions.
If I was a perfectionist, I don’t think we’d reach this remote part of North Cebu. Instead, we’d be somewhere else safe flocked with Sunday day trippers and weekend warriors.
Real people are not perfect. And, perfect people are not real.
On our way up, I noticed that everyone in this group embraces their flaws.
They don’t masquerade themselves as perfect employees and citizens.
I love flawed people.
The truth is, real people are not perfect. And, perfect people are not real.
Flawed people, who embrace their imperfections, don’t have to put on a facade.
They don’t have a reputation to uphold.
They don’t have to hide behind a mask to cover up their imperfections.
These people don’t talk about the brand of clothes they are wearing, the gear they’re using, or the successful people in their community.
They don’t care about those things.
These people are genuine, and my experiences with them are pure bliss.
Their smiles are as pure as the driven snow whenever they see something beautiful.
They don’t fear judgment and disapproval from others.
And, that always brings a smile to my face.
Perfection is an illusion
Getting up to the top of Ngipon sa Ilaga is no walk in the park.
You have to do some rock scrambling, climb over sharp rock formations, and pass through thorny vines.
I got scratches on my arms and hands as I navigated my way around Ngipon sa Ilaga.
And, it, somehow, reminded me of the saying “perfection is an illusion”.
Nothing in this world is created to perfection.
When I venture into the outdoors, I’m always reminded that the world is beautifully imperfect.
Have you ever seen a perfectly symmetrical and majestic tree?
Some trees are mossy, some have sharp branches, and others are ripped off.
Have you ever seen a perfectly smooth trail?
Some trails are muddy, some are ridiculously steep, and others are full of sharp limestone rocks.
Yet, somehow, they are beautiful.
So, why can’t we learn from nature’s imperfections?
Why can’t we accept that we are all beautiful in our own way?
And, why do we chase perfection when the truth is, we can never reach it?
Seeking perfection is quite like chasing the seemingly infinite horizon. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never reach it.
We then arrived at a rocky area overlooking the majestic landscapes of Carmen, Tuburan, Danao, and Catmon.
I surveyed the area and found a towering rock formation luring me.
Enthusiastic and thrilled, we ventured into a steep and challenging pathway and climbed our way to the top of this rock formation.
It wasn’t easy, though.
It’s tough, and one small misstep will lead to severe injuries.
Once we reached the summit, we were fascinated by the mesmerizing beauty of the verdant and untouched landscapes of Northern Cebu.
Embrace your flaws
Getting to this perch isn’t for the weak of heart.
From sharp rocks to vertical cliffs, there’s no shortage of obstacles along the way.
For the perfectionist, it’s a trail not worth venturing into.
The pathway to this rock formation in Ngipon sa Ilaga is full of flaws.
But, guess what? We embraced every bit of it.
In life and hiking, you should embrace your flaws and mistakes. They are ingredients and spices that add flavor to success.
The world is filled with wonderfully flawed beings and places. And, sometimes, it’s an obvious flaw that gives a person or a place its unique character.
Nobody would stare at the Leaning Tower of Pisa if it was straight.
Batman wouldn’t be a comic beloved character if he had real superhero powers.
And, nobody would be intrigued to climb Ngipon sa Ilaga (Rat’s tooth in English) if it had a perfectly fancy name.
Some flaws can be used to your advantage. And, you don’t have to erase them from your system just because you want to be the poster girl or boy of perfection.
When I was young, people thought I had no future.
I was a shy, introvert who stayed away from crowds and small talk.
They thought that my introverted personality was my weakness.
Naïve and young, I thought they were right.
I thought there was no room in our society and no job opportunities for introverts.
For decades, I tried blending in with the extroverted culture of Filipinos, hoping to become the perfect version of myself.
In recent years, I joined larger group hikes and met a ton of people.
But, I felt exhausted and unhappy, after these pursuits.
Instead of attaining perfection, I become weak and lost.
In the end, I embraced my flaw and used it to my advantage.
I used my introverted energy to write, and create words from my vivid imagination.
Today, I have a decent living because I embrace my so-called biggest flaw.
We soon descended from the top of Ngipon sa Ilaga. I checked our timepiece and noticed there was time left for one more pit stop.
Thankfully, I remember a place recommended by a friend. And, it’s called Into Heights.
Room for discovery
My trips are a perfectionist’s nightmare. They are chaotic, unplanned, and disorganized.
I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and not everybody dares to explore places the way I do.
I, however, find it satisfying, carefree, and easygoing.
And, the best part is, an imperfect and disorganized trip gives plenty of opportunities to discover new places.
If I consistently followed a perfect and well-planned itinerary, I wouldn’t have discovered unique places in Cebu, like Ngipon sa Ilaga.
If you follow a strict, perfect plan in life, you won’t take detours, and you won’t have any room to see something unique.
With our Sunday about to end, we drove to Caurasan, to see the picture-perfect Into Heights.
We didn’t see Into Heights. The road to this spot is rough, muddy, and steep for the vehicle.
But, our efforts didn’t end up in vain.
We did uncover something spectacular on this imperfect attempt to visit Into Heights.
The place is called “Tambayan ni Tatay”.
Even with our imperfect plan, we were rewarded with a perfect and mesmerizing view of North Cebu.
And, it doesn’t even look like a place in Cebu.
From this overlooking spot, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Bukidnon or Negros Occidental.
I don’t want to leave.
It’s dreamy and perfect.
But, all good things come to an end, and perfection is boring.
On our way back home, I was amazed by the uniqueness of our trip to Ngipon sa Ilaga.
And, uniqueness is the best way to stop chasing perfection.
You’re unique, and you have a special purpose in this world that you can only fulfill.
When you chase perfection, you’ll lose your authenticity since you’re trying to fit into what society or someone else says is perfect.
Don’t lose your authenticity just because you want to please the society.
Be authentic, embrace your flaws, and accept who you are.
And, more importantly, stop trying to be someone else you’re not.
How to get to Ngipon sa Ilaga
Getting to the base of Ngipon sa Ilaga is easy. With a dependable car, you can reach it in about 2 hours from Cebu City.
But, I don’t want your trip to Ngipon sa Ilaga to be perfect. So, I’m not going to share any piece of information about this place.
Seriously, if you need help getting to this undiscovered spot in Carmen, just send me a message on my Facebook page.