6-year-old boy hailed as youngest mountaineer of Mt. Bulusan

Mercado family’s recent climb in Mt. Bulusan became even more memorable when their youngest son, 6-year-old kindergarten Hiraya Mercado, was named by the AGAP Bulusan Inc. as the youngest mountain climber to ever summit Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon.

As avid bicycle tourers and mountaineers who have climbed several mountains including Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo, Noel and Kareen Mercado hope to let their child be exposed to the different wonders of nature and learn to survive dire situations.

“We want our child to be exposed to the outdoors, to physically and mentally challenging situations, and adventure travel at an early age. With the hope that he will follow our footsteps and be an adventurer when he grows up,” said Noel.

At the age of six, Hiraya has a total climb of three, previously climbing Mt. Cabanbanan, Mt. Maraot Banwa, and Mt. Jormajan, all in Sorsogon. 

According to Hiraya’s father, their climb in Mt. Bulusan was physically challenging, considering the volcano a major climb. The weather during their hike further added to the challenge as it was very cold, windy, and foggy.

“Hiraya can climb on gentle slope but needs to be piggy backed on steep and difficult sections. He is quite heavy at 20 kilograms. The weather at the summit is the main challenge. The most difficult part is the descent which is very slippery. The body is tired but one needs to push on,” he added.

Despite the challenges, their family was able to safely finish the climb by ensuring they have the right gears, stable tents, and reliable guides. 

Noel also narrated that his son remained enthusiastic during most of the climb. Being with the family and knowing most of the team helped Hiraya be comfortable with the experience.

“It is all play for him. It was our idea for him to climb. We judged that he can do it based in his reactions to previous climbs,” Noel stated. I Lou Marie Cuarto

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Photos: Karren Mercado