The history of AMCI has been told and retold to every aspiring member each training season. Each year, too, the history gets revised to include corrections, added information, updates, and better rewrites. So when are they going to release the "real" reason behind the removal of the name "AYALA" in AMCI? Or about the breakaway of Pilipinas Sierra, Inc. (White Mountains)?
It all started in April 1982 when seven hardy fellows--Ed de Vera, Ruben Olayres, Vic
Navarro, Vladimir Dizon, Nelson Deles, Noel Garcia, and Noel Punzalan--decided to climb Mt. Banahaw for the weekend.
"Of course, I would gladly give my permission, for what corporation wouldn't want to be identified with the adventure, courage, discipline, physical fitness and concern for the environment that the very mention of mountaineering evokes?"
These were the very same words uttered by Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala when the young founders of Ayala Mountaineers Club, Inc. (now known as the AMCI Mountaineering Club, Inc.) sought his permission to name their organization after him.
It all started on Valentine's Day in 1983, when seven hardy fellows: Ed de Vera, Ruben Olayres, Vic Navarro, Vladimir Dizon, Nelson Deles, Noel Garcia, and Noel Punzalan planned their weekend adventure to climb Mt. Banahaw. It was during these times when backpacks, tents and trekking shoes were not yet as popular as they are these days. These seven climbers had to settle for denim pants and rubbershoes, duffel bags and had no physical training at all. They used "tolda" as their tent and had to sleep with their aching bodies surrounded by the freezing temperature of the forest without sleeping bags. But as courageous as they are, they were able to scale the peak of the 7,100-foot mountain of Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon. They saw the grandeur of the holy mountain and they had the thrill of being high above the clouds.
Because their first climb was indeed an unforgettable experience, they thought of putting up a club of mountaineers. They started climbing regularly to satisfy their quest for weekend adventures. As their passion for climbing grew, they thought of enlarging, inviting even total strangers to join them. Thus the Ayala Mountaineers*, as an open club, was formally organized. Being all Makati-based, the group adopted and sought permission to use "Ayala" as the club's name. It was gladly granted. And that was the start of it all for the Ayala Mountaineers*.
In the succeeding years, training of aspiring mountaineers began and opened its membership to women. From the seven founding members in 1983, the club has grown to a sizeable group coming from all walks of life and professions, mainly from the enclaves of Makati's corporate corners. It has remained intact inspite of seemingly insurmountable challenges. It will surely weather more challenges that will come in the days ahead. The Ayala Mountaineers* today is still growing and will continue to grow with the same dedication and courage that the founders had when they scaled their way on their first mountain many, many years ago.
*Ayala Mountaineers Club, Inc. is now known as - AMCI Mountainering Club, Inc.
(from the 16th MFPI mid year climb and presidents' meeting) Souvenir Program Oct. 23-25, 1995
The Ayala Mountaineers
Twelve Years of Adventure
by Chix Anonuevo
It all started one lunch break in their FGU office, while all the rest of their officemates were having their siesta, five hardy fellows: Ed de Vera, Vladimir Dizon, Ruben Olayres, Vic Navarro and Nelson Deles met in one corner and planned their weekend adventure. They were to climb Mt. Banahaw. And so, without enough sleep because of excitement, wearing denim pants and rubbershoes, carrying their duffel bags, and without any physical training at all, along with other guests and local guides, they scaled the 7,100 foot mountain of Dolores, Quezon. This was in April of 1982. During those times when backpacks, tents and trekking shoes were not yet as popular as they are these days, these climbers had to settle using a "tolda" supported only by one pole in the center as their tent and had to sleep with their aching bodies surrounded by the freezing temperature of the forest without sleeping bags. They were probably unaware of the fact that they were to be the first ones to discover and experience how hard a mountaineer's life would be without the proper preparation and equipment. But as courageous as they were, they were able to reach Mt. Banahaw's peak. They saw the grandeur of the holy mountain's crater and they had the thrill of being high above the clouds.
Their first climb was indeed an unforgettable experience. They sure [had] a great time even though they had to learn many things about climbing mountains the hard way. Some of them even said that they will never climb a mountain again because of the unbearable gnawing pains they experienced. But they knew all along that these were just immediate reactions and that they will again climb another mountain.
Ten months later, in February of 1983, the group conquered their second mountain, Mt. Makiling. The mountain was then known as the "pugad ng mga limatik". It was here that these hardy fellows were to have their first encounter with the blood sucking "limatiks". And since they had no idea of how to defend themselves from the tiny leeches, they trekked with cotton plucked in their ears and nostrils. They had to stop from time to time to do some "body checking" to make sure no "limatik" crawls up to them.
After assaulting the mountain's peak, they went back to their campsite and started their socials. They talked about almost anything under the sun: politics, religion, work, economics, etc.. One question was then raised by Ed de Vera: "What if we put up a club of mountaineers?" and because they liked the idea, "Bakit nga ba hindi?" was all they could say.
The group then sought the assistance of Noel Garcia of the University of the Philippines and Noel Punzalan from the Ateneo College of Law. They were to discern the guidelines and physical training that will govern mountaineering activities. This was followed by a letter sent to Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala, asking permission to use "Ayala" as the club's name. It was gladly granted And that was the start of it all for the Ayala Mountaineers.
In 1984, with Ed de Vera as the president, AM began training eight more aspiring mountaineers. In 1985, AM opened its membership to women. Vladimir Dizon was then president. In the succeeding years, the club expanded into a sizeable group of ninety-five members coming from all walks of life and professions, mainly from the enclaves of Makati's corporate corners. All underwent training on basic mountaineering skills including land navigation, first aid and other mountaineering-related skills. The physical training includes a variation of running and climbing the stairs of the fifteen-storey Insular Life building along Ayala Avenue. Training climbs were held at Maculot, Malipunyo, Pico de Loro, Makiling, and Cristobal. Induction was held at Mt. Banahaw.
AM was admitted to the National Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines in 1986 during the congress held at Puerto Galera. The Federation climb was at Mt. Halcon. It was also in this year that the first AM team explored Mt. Pulog under Toting Arboleda's leadership as club president.
1987 saw the participation of the club in the federation climb to Mts. Dulang-dulang and Kitanlad in Bukidnon. It was also in this year that the induction climb was done for the first time in Mt. Pulog. Mts. Guiting-guiting, Hibok-Hibok, Mayon and Kanlaon were added to the club's repertoire of climbs. Lucas Bulahan was then the president.
AM elected its first lady president, Imelda Pambid, in 1988. The club likewise participated in the Sulu Sea to China Sea Palawan traverse federation climb during the same year. Two AM mounted its first photo exhibit at the then Rizal Theater and launched the club newsletter in 1989. Exploration climbs for the year include separate Banahaw traverses to Lukban, Tayabas and Sariaya from the Dolores jump-off point. The club also joined federation activities including the hostage-marred climb to Mt. Apo and the mid-year climb to Mt. Kanlaon that had a mild eruption. The club that year was led by Ed Corpuz.
Manny Torralba was at the helm in 1990 when the Kabayan trail of Mt. Pulog was initially explored by the club. He also headed the club's participants to the federation climb at Sierra Madre. It was in 1991 when AM started having its induction climbs at Mindoro's Mt. Halcon.
The following year, AM inducted its largest batch ever--Batch '92. Alex Abaygar, 1992 president, was likewise elected MFPI vice-president during the federation climb at Catanduanes.
1994 was the first full year of the club under the new by-laws. Elected officials, headed by Dado Cabotaje, were tasked to realign the club's various working committees to sustain membership interest in the club's activities. Environmental concerns were given emphasis through the Dinapique Project, various clean-up climbs, and participation in a number of environmental forums.
From the seven founding members in 1983, the club has grown to a group of several hundreds. Its membership profile includes entrepreneurs, business executives, expatriates, professionals, artists, students and employees from both private and government entities. The Ayala Mountaineers today is still growing and will continue to grow with the same dedication and good mountaineering sense that our founders had. It has remained intact inspite of seemingly insurmountable challenges. It will weather anymore challenges that still has to come.
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