Youngest Filipina to Conquer the Seven Summits

  • €3,234.00
    raised of €15,000.00 goal goal
Kilimanjaro - €3000
Aconcagua - €12000
21% Funded
33 Donors

Current milestone

2/2

Aconcagua

€3234.00/€12000

Help this ongoing fundraising campaign by making a donation and spreading the word.
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Hello, this is Antonette "Relentless" Reyes.

This may be the most important letter I've written in the 25 years of my life. It’s a long read, but it means a lot to me if you can finish it.

It's by far the most difficult to write. This is about my journey as a Filipina digital nomad traversing two challenging trails of life - socio-economic inequality, self-harm, mental health - both as a guide, and a climber.

It's been whispering to me for quite a long time. But my heart is beating harder this time.

I'm Antonette, a Filipina adventurer and a volunteer trekking guide who dreams of hiking the Seven Summits. Soon to become the youngest Filipina to ever conquer them all. Crazy eh? Yeah, I'm scared too!

I am writing this during the 10-hour bumpy bus ride from Pokhara to Kathmandu. I just finished the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, my first trek in the Himalayas. Right now, tears are running down my face, both from gratitude that I was, at last, able to see the greatest mountains in the world and the fact that I'm FINALLY writing my story and sending it "out there".

THE TURNING POINT - I NEEDED OTHERS TO BELIEVE IN ME FIRST

“I’ll take care of the helicopter,” Gaurav said, one of the most amazing men I have ever met during Annapurna Base Camp Trek (my first hike in the Himalayas) when I expressed how difficult it will be to reach Puncak Jaya, the most technical climb among the Seven Summits.

Gaurav is a family man from Singapore who achieved success in business which allows him to travel and trek worldwide. He overheard my stories… how I started hiking, why I love the mountain, and most importantly, what scares me.

He is one of the 9 amazing individuals I met on the ABC trek who recognized what I've achieved and encouraged me to find a path forward to all I desire. He looked at me intently and said, “Just do me one favor, stop saying I can’t, you must realize that money is not the only factor.”


“You are amazing. But stop being your no.1 stonewaller.”


That's it! That's the last PUSH I NEEDED.

It was scary - a bit, to feel that someone or a number of people can believe in me like that. Because l do admit that I often stonewall and discourage myself. But not anymore. It's long overdue for me to do this...

I never climbed mountains before I was 22 but now I've been to the top of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia. I've finished 3 marathons in a year for charities. I've been a guide, a porter, and an energizer for people who'd like to climb to for free.

I have helped organize charity events for Mental Health including the Freedom Summit where I met Mathilda, the first Indonesian woman to conquer the Seven Summits. When I shyly revealed to her I wanted to try the same, she said, “There’s no way you can’t do it.” From then on the idea of Seven Summits felt like a small fire hidden inside me. I know it’s there… but I've been trying to suppress it because I know how much I want it and how much it scares me if I won’t get it.

Have you ever had such a big dream, so big that it scares you and you give up on it without even trying? That’s how I stonewalled myself to be a human rights lawyer. So no… Not this time.

I want to try. I don’t want to be scared. I don’t want to disappoint myself. I am inspired. And I want to keep inspiring and dancing. My heart is beating harder this time. I can’t go on a hike without crying out of happiness and sometimes despair. The feeling of longing, and in desperate need of belonging to be at the highest peaks. Every day feels like staring at a big mountain, staring back at me, telling me… “why don’t you just be with me?”

You see, though I've made difficult ascents in all conditions, there's one thing that scares me: being vulnerable and sharing my story. The behind-the-scenes. Being a trekking guide and someone who supports her family, I am not very comfortable asking for other people's help. Growing up, I learned to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining.


My first challenge is asking for your help.


I have sold pancakes, burgers, and even crafts like crossword puzzles, stationeries, poems, and doodles during grade school to sustain my education (wow, remembering that brings more tears! as this bus bounces toward Kathmandu).

Every summer, my brothers and I were carrying heavy loads of primary school books to a four-story building to have some cash from our Grandma’s co-teachers.

I had a full scholarship to a university in Manila but still I did assignments for money for my friends during high school and college and worked part-time teaching English so I could pay for the photocopy machine and the commuter van.

Growing up, my mom was overseas in Saudi Arabia as a housemaid, and I sold my father's empty bottles of alcohol to a junk shop so me and my two younger brothers could eat, and maybe get ice cream.

I even tried to help my father’s mistresses. I went on errands at 1 am to buy anything he sent me for.. alcohol, drugs, or whatever his mistress needed. I hoped if the mistress was happy, my papa would be happy, too. I have always made excuses for my pain, and his pain. Why did his friends sometimes do things to me and my sister that back then we thought were just normal when it's not even moral.


Continuing to love the people who have harmed me and scarred my sense of innocence explains why I have a high tolerance for pain.


THE ANSWER TO WHY DO I HIKE A LOT? AND WHY THE ANSWER IS DIFFICULT.

*link trigger warning*

I still struggle to talk about my past. My mental health. My coping mechanism was self-harm, from the age of 9 to 19. Cutting, overdosing on medications, CO2 poisoning, drinking a bottle of isopropyl, or a bottle of Merthiolate, and attempting to jump in front of the train in Katipunan Station (a guard saved me by grabbing my schoolbag). You name it, I tried them all.

I failed way too many times in attempting to end my life.

I know this post is supposed to be inspiring. But hey, I’m human too. I’ve seen horrors, too. I was used and abused too - in all ways you can possibly think of.

I can’t leave this part of my story behind.

Because these are all pieces of wood that I’ve collected and started this burning fire within me. The will to survive is strong and I draw on that in the mountains. Running and hiking for charities. Mountains give me peace, freedom, love, and home. Only the peace of mind that I get from the trail put an end to my self-harming survival habit.

For everyone who has been used, abused, and neglected,

For every woman who has been told, "You can't"

For everyone who is struggling to find peace and love in their heart,

For everyone who has never really felt home, or found their home,

Me, and the mountains of life we'll walk through together, are here for you.

We will be each other's guide.

THE MOUNTAINS HAVE SAVED MY LIFE, AND MANY OTHERS TOO.


Every time I hike, I feel like the mountains are like grandparents giving me a big hug, "Welcome Home", and sometimes I do feel that the trees and the mountains are communicating to me, "Who are you bringing this time? They look fun and cool people".


Guiding people to the top of the mountains is my passion and a meaningful challenge for me. Every individual's successful hike reminds me of my own struggles and journey.


Seeing someone frustrated, tired, and close to giving up on the trail, encouraging them, makes it worthwhile when I get rewarded by the look on their face when they reach the summit. It's always inspiring how much we can surprise ourselves and what we can do.

Let me share a trick on how I motivate people to keep going:

One time, an MMA fighter said to me, “I don’t think I can do this, I can’t walk anymore”. I gave him one of my lollipops and encouraged him to keep walking and count 100 steps, and when he finished my lollipop, I asked him to tell me if he still wanted to give up.


My hiking companions know I’ll dance and sing for them to keep their spirits up! That's something I learned from the young Balinese priest who is my hiking partner in the mountains of Bali. Bagawata lets me climb the mountains for free, in exchange for being his assistant guide and standby porter.

Nature is with us to celebrate. I'll show you the beauty and why it's worth it to keep going.


I believe that conquering the Seven Summits is more than just physical endurance but mental and emotional resilience. I am more than ready for that.


If you know me personally, or even just from a trek, you probably know how difficult it is for me to accept help. But I guess this is the base camp of my Seven Summit Journey. I gotta be there somehow and overcome it. I must learn to ask for and accept help. Trust that support will be forthcoming.

Thank you for your help, I made it to my first summit, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. With support from you and others who receive this letter, I can continue my journey to the other 6 mountains.

My goal is to be at Everest Summit before I’m 28 years old. With your support, you will be making me the youngest Filipina to achieve the Everest Summit.

NOMADIC LIFESTYLE OF LIVING NOWHERE, MOUNTAINS ARE HOME

Once I was just a grubby girl among all the barefoot students at San Juan Elementary School, Carlos L. Albert High School, and worked her way into the Lyceum of the Philippines University to study International Relations as a government scholar. Now I am a digital nomad whose life is on her backpack, home is everywhere, who runs marathons for charities, and a trekking guide and porter who carries lollipops and dances for everyone on a hike.

I currently work full-time as a Digital Marketing Assistant for a US-based company. My salary supports my brother’s education, family bills, and my bare-bones travel. I have been able to subsidize my mountaineering activities through affiliate marketing programs. Right now, the Seven Summits is beyond my financial capability (or indeed most people).

Would you tell me it’s impossible?

I’ll understand if you do. These days, perhaps we can only expect billionaires to set their sights on lofty goals like Mars. Perhaps it's too much to expect a Filipina earthbound girl from the shanties to aim high.

But I will still ask for your help. With your contributions, I can achieve what no one else from such an earthbound background Asian woman can dare.

This is NOT me self-harming.

This is me showing the world how I saved myself.

And how others can too.

Thank you A LOT for reading this far.

For crossing my path in this trail of life.


HERE’S THE FOLLOWING COSTS AND SCHEDULE OF THE SEVEN SUMMITS EXPEDITION


HOW YOU CAN HELP


These are ways you can help me:

  • Financial contribution. In this fundraiser, I'm humbly asking for covering the first three expeditions: Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, and Aconcagua.
  • I’ll probably be asking 100+ people, if I overcome my shyness, maybe a thousand… so yes even your $5 is SENDING ME TO THE SEVEN SUMMITS!
  • In-Kind contribution (flight ticket/s, advanced trekking gears)
  • Introducing me to individuals, brands, or companies who may be interested in hearing my story and sponsoring some cost of any of the expeditions.
  • Share my story, the story of how we met, how you remember me, or if you resonate with my story… together let's send a message of compassion, hope, strength and resilience.


I also uploaded some of the photos of the individuals I've hiked, ran, and traveled with - who became my friends and family!

Featured photo: 10 Summits of Bali in 10 Days that me and my friend Stephanie started. It's a free hike to clean the mountains for 10 days! How about a 7 Summits Clean-Up?




Milestones

1. Kilimanjaro

€3,000 Completed

We have already summited Kilimanjaro! It's happening! One out of Seven. We are just getting started.

2. Aconcagua

€3,234/€12,000 ongoing

The Highest Mountain of South America. This is where we are going next! It is the highest mountain in the Americas, the highest outside Asia, and the highest in both the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere with a summit elevation of 6,961 metres.

Organizer

Filipina Digital Nomad pursuing encounters with beautiful places and people, getting sweaty, dirty, and hungry along the way.

Filipina Digital Nomad pursuing encounters with beautiful places and people, getting sweaty, dirty, and hungry along the way.

Donors

  • Guest
  • Donated on Sep 06, 2023
  • So happy seeing you enjoy your life. Praying for your safety 🙏 Enjoy and take care always

€25.00
  • Ryan Carter
  • Donated on Sep 06, 2023
  • With you all the way x

€100.00
  • Marie Brès
  • Donated on Sep 06, 2023
  • You rock for asking, you rock for going 🗻 and I hope you inspire people to do just like you

€20.00
Sep 26

I SUMMITED KILIMANJARO! THANK YOU!

Update posted by Antonette Reyes at 08:11 am
rrrr

We made it to 19,341 feet!While coming up here, I felt like I've always been meant to be here. I had this strong feeling that this was destined to happen for a long time already. And this place is just waiting for me…Definitely one of my toughest hikes! Trekking in. . . . .

See update
0
Aug 13

Flights Booked

Update posted by Antonette Reyes at 07:09 am
rrrr

Hi everyone,I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your overwhelming support. We may or may not have climbed together yet, but whichever is the case I would like to thank you for being able to see the depths of admiration to mountaineering and most importantly sharing this journey. . . . .

See update
0
Jul 11

Less afraid.

Update posted by Antonette Reyes at 05:02 pm
rrrr

Hi friends. I can't thank you enough. Kilimanjaro is fully covered already! Thank you so much for making this possible. I kept saying "it's real, it's happening". I have secured a Schengen Visa so I can spend time in Europe in early September to get alpine climbing practice somewhere in. . . . .

See update
0

Donors & Comments

33 donors
  • Guest
  • Donated on Sep 06, 2023
  • So happy seeing you enjoy your life. Praying for your safety 🙏 Enjoy and take care always

€25.00
  • Ryan Carter
  • Donated on Sep 06, 2023
  • With you all the way x

€100.00
  • Marie Brès
  • Donated on Sep 06, 2023
  • You rock for asking, you rock for going 🗻 and I hope you inspire people to do just like you

€20.00
  • E W
  • Donated on Sep 06, 2023
  • Your story really hit home to me. It's not much but it's all I could spare for now. Wishing you all the best in achieving your Dreams. hugss xx

Amount Hidden
  • Alexander Welder
  • Donated on Sep 05, 2023
  • Good luck and the best for your journey ! 🙏🏼

€25.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Sep 05, 2023
  • You’re anything but crazy. Go rock the 7 summits!

€75.00
  • Chi Pham
  • Donated on Aug 30, 2023
Amount Hidden
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Aug 26, 2023
  • Really inspired by who you are and what you are aiming to achieve. Wishing you all the best on your journey 🙏🏼💪🏼🏔️

€50.00
  • Mitch Anderson
  • Donated on Aug 25, 2023
€500.00
  • Roselyn Bayocboc
  • Donated on Aug 19, 2023
  • Good luck to you. I'm so proud of you.

€30.00
Show more donors

Followers

11 followers
Mars Escobin
E W
Alexander Welder
Philipp Renner
Eric SAUER
Richard Leo Amburgo
Scott Shuford
Adrian Bader
Ivan Vanderbyl
Show more Followers
€3,234.00
raised of €15,000.00 goal
Kilimanjaro - €3000
Aconcagua - €12000
21% Funded
33 Donors

Current milestone

2/2

Aconcagua

€3,234/€12,000

Help this ongoing fundraising campaign by making a donation and spreading the word.