We are launching a new content series where we interview climbers from all over The Philippines; highlighting their lives in and out of rock climbing.
For the initial publication, we caught up with Cali and Kindred. Here's how it went:
Hello guys! Thank you for accepting our invitation to this interview. So tell us a little more about yourselves, like day jobs, hobbies, etc...
Justin: I’m Justin Calingasan or as most of my friends call me, Cali. I spent most of my 20s in and out various things including climbing, trail running, ultimate frisbee, and long boarding.
I’m a web designer during weekdays and I also try to squeeze in a freelance project once in a while.
Kindred: I’m 28 years old; born and raised in Manila. I've spent recent years traveling around Asia mostly by myself, a video cam, a laptop, and a hand carry luggage. I've worked as a UI Designer for seed-funded start-ups and remotely for a London-based digital agency.
I’ve always felt I'm a bit of an offbeat personality. I mostly kept to myself growing up. A little girl in the garden meandering by her lonesome – that’d be a perfect picture of me:
Except in this picture, little girl is 28 years old. Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka, November 2014.
So, how'd you get into climbing?
Justin: As far as I can remember, I first experienced climbing in the late 90s with my uncle who brought us to a newly-opened climbing gym, Power UP Tandang Sora. I had fun going up and down the kiddie wall and thought if I climbed every day, the pump would make my arms look like Popeye.
After that initial experience I came back during high school in the early 2000s with some friends and that’s where I got my formal introduction to climbing also at Power UP Tandang Sora under my Summer Class instructor, Gax Ilanan.
Kindred: I joined a climbing comp 7 years ago (at Play Underground! – sobrang bago) after my mom, who’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie, talked me into joining for fun. Semi-finals, then I was bumped off. There was that immediate assumption of the sport not being for me, so I moved on to the next one. I climbed rarely then.
With mom, Nancy, at Play Underground, 2007.
Okay, I'll go a little more personal for the next question. Did you two meet through climbing?
Justin: No :) She just seems to be also interested in what I’m also doing so it’s a good thing we have each other to keep company with our activities
Kindred: No, but I started going back because of him. It was the start of us doing activities together.
There was so much listening and analysis (and eating and drinking) involved in bouldering
Any major climbing milestone so far?
Kindred: My first time bouldering, I was given 3 problems and didn’t finish a single one. I had no prior concept of how a beginner’s route looked or felt like – and honestly, all 3 seemed difficult and demanding. So I tried my first route anyway with a pair of borrowed rock shoes from Cali. And the second and the third in between rests. You don’t notice the day go when you’re having fun. There was so much listening and analysis (and eating and drinking) involved in bouldering than I expected.
By Raschid Salting. Baguio, December 2014.
You recently visited the boulders of Baguio, right? How is the place?
Justin: During the recent trip I actually just went running, but before we (Kindred and I) met, I’ve been climbing in Baguio with the Manila climbers and some of the locals. Most of the spots are roadside or riverbeds or both with various types of boulders from slabby highballs with pockets and low overhanging ones with small crimps and slaps to features.
Kindred: I don't have much to compare Baguio with, that trip in December 2014 being my first. I’ve only been to Camp 3. Plenty of riverside spots. A few minutes' hike across the river takes you to more areas. The surrounding areas were mostly inhabited. Probing locals would pass by, ask curious questions, but they eventually walked on and went about their day while I was stuck with my 3 unsolved problems.
Baguio, December 2014.
Any tips you want to share with our readers about bouldering in Baguio?
Justin: As with any trip to an unfamiliar place whether climbing or any other activity, research first before going and try to get as much information. Who to contact, where to stay, learn what to bring and how to get there. climbphilippines.com is a good place to start with Ina and Miel having a wealth of information about climbing spots in the Philippines, not just Baguio.
Kindred: Talk and interact with the locals and develop mutual respect. Locals of Baguio think highly of their region – and with good reason because Baguio is blessed with so many sights.
While we’re there to climb and have fun, as visitors we have to be sensitive to the local community and their livelihood. We’re doing a big favor to the next group of climbers who will go there, and the ones after them.
We both like being near mountains
How about traveling to climb in the near future? Do you both have plans?
Justin: A trip to Cebu this year is in order, and with the recent activity there, climbers mostly benefit from the better organization of trips and the information gained by the people who are at the forefront of the scene.
Kindred: I want to try local spots this year. Cebu! We’re saving for a big Japan and Annapurna trip next year. U.S. is somewhere down the road. Cali makes it a point to visit a gym whenever he travels, so climbing is definitely in the itinerary.
Hanging out with giants
We see you guys are into a lot of other sports, like trail runs and ultimate frisbee. Any favorite out of all these sports? Or a sport you both see yourself doing together for years?
Justin: Trail running is definitely high in the scales of activities between us right now, as there is so much places here and outside of the country to discover and it’s the best way to see a lot of things in a short period of time. We both like being near mountains and it just makes sense to do this kind of activity. Although climbing will always be there too as most of our activities are related somehow just to get out there and enjoy being outside.
Kindred: Between the two of us, I’m the one who’s always itching to go out for long walks or day hikes while he’s the one who loves to run. Trail running is turning out to be the right mixture of the two. Yeah, that sounds like something I see ourselves doing for years :)
Do you train together?
Justin: Running is a common regular activity for us but we also have our own training routines. I try to do cross-training once a week and she does pole and parkour.
Kindred: We train together but not all the time. I know he likes to do circuit training on his own. So do I with my own stuff. I go to Ninja Academy too.
Just find out what you enjoy doing
Doing sports together, has it made your relationship stronger? :)
Justin: The most obvious thing that we’ve been stronger at doing together is eating. Haha. So yes, bonding in and out of activities is a good way of getting to know each other better and talking about a lot of things.
Kindred: The first trail run Cali took me to, we clocked in 16 km. I’ve never run that long and I wouldn’t have even tried if it wasn’t for him. I appreciate surprise long dates like that. I’m glad I wore the right shoes.
Once again, thank you for this interview. Any closing remarks you want to say?
Justin: Just find out what you enjoy doing, that way you’ll never have to ask yourself why you’re doing something when the times get hard or difficult.