So It Seems I’m Just Too Fat To Trek!

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Too Fat To Trek In The Philippines!

So after a long day at Mt Pinatubo we pile into Denwil’s van and head off on our overnight drive to Banaue (pronounced Ban-Ow-ee). It’s one of those little vans that we don’t get here but its very comfortable and we each have our own recliner so to speak. We only go a little way and stop for dinner at King Chow which is the Phillipino version of fast food. Not something we would normally have eaten but I’m happy to go with the flow. So far…

So we order, sit down and Denwil tells us (well me in particular) that he doesn’t think I understand trekking.

Crossing the swing bridge on the Overland Track
Crossing the swing bridge on the Overland Track

Hmmm really??

Oh no he says, I don’t understand trekking at all and proceeds to tell me that and I quote: “you’re too fat for trekking“.

He repeats this a few times.

I refuse to take the bait and he starts to get a bit nervous that the fat chick is getting angry so he proceeds to enforce his opinion. Harder. And harder.

The boys will be OK because they are young. Brad – hmmm he’s old but he might be OK but you are too fat.

Right away I want to say “blow it out your arse you judgemental prick!”. But its bound to be lost in translation. The condescending attitude does little to help his cause and Brad is trying to grab my hand under the table but I’m seething and having none of it. Actually I’m absolutely steaming. I’m always being judged harshly.


I’m used to it, and it doesn’t normally bother me. Yes I am fat but I’m also fit and above all else I’m single handedly the most determined person you might ever meet and as long as I can physically put one foot in front of the other – THERE IS NO STOPPING ME.

I heed Brad’s terrified look and calmly tell Denwil that yes I know I’m not typically the build of a serious trekker but I’ve done the Inca Trail, I’ve also done the Annapurna Circuit, not to mention Cradle Mountain and Mt Kosciusko (which isn’t at all hard but he doesn’t know that!!) and that while yes I may need help going down on occasion, (not 100% sure of my repaired Achillies at that point) trust me up is no challenge and actually my preference.

Me on the suspension bridge about to start hiking
Another suspension bridge, this time on the Annapurna Circuit.

Nope – no dissuading him. Jake at this point is being so sweet and when Denwil goes to the loo tells me that its because if any of us need help that will make Denwil’s job harder and he doesn’t want to do that. Thank you Jake I appreciate the support.

Brad talks me into leaving it for tonight and talking to him again tomorrow so I do just that and off we go. An overnight drive, little sleep and a 70 minute wait for breakfast when we get to the guest house doesn’t help my attitude any, but I promised Brad I would keep a lid on it and discuss it calmly so I avoid the chat until after breakfast.

Denwil comes and tells us he is going home to see his family and that we should have a sleep and he will be back “after lunch” to get us to go to Haptad Rice Terraces. OK that’s fine I decide to let him also have a sleep before I tackle the “too fat for that” conversation.

Moving on – but very sneakily on Denwil’s behalf…

So we get in the car to go to Haptad Rice Terraces and I mention to Denwil that I thought we were starting our trek today. Oh no tomorrow he tells me. Tomorrow. OK I had the days wrong – no drama.

We spend a nice afternoon trekking to the hot springs at Haptad Rice Terraces (a very easy walk across the rice terraces) and I think OK maybe he’s just seeing how we go walking on the edge of the terraces and wanting to see how we handle the stairs and hills, so I don’t worry.

We had a great afternoon, a nice soak in the springs and then had coffee with Denwil’s uncle Jose on the way out. Very nice afternoon and while we were too late to go to the local village, it had been a nice day considering how it started out.

So tomorrow Denwil is picking us up ready for our trek to Batad. OK all good see you in the morning Denwil.

So…. back at the guest house I dig out my “itinerary” for our trek and immediately notice that I was correct. We were supposed to start our trek today. This morning actually.

We were supposed to walk from Banaue to Batad starting today and then tomorrow from Batad to somewhere else I can’t now remember, but the important thing is I WAS RIGHT – two overnight stays on the trek before we headed for Sagada.

Denwil you sneaky devil! He’d obviously changed it because – yup you guessed it:


Hiking in Chimanimani National Park Zimbabwe
Hiking in Chimanimani National Park Zimbabwe

Ohhhh I was livid, but once again, Brad talked me down. I’d been sick for about 10 days now with a nasty chest infection and was coughing still. Jake had also had it and Noah was suffering some headaches so Brad in his usual “get Jen off the ledge” manner, talked me into just leaving it as it was and enjoying the easy alternative.

So we did hike down into Batad Village which to be honest, did take me a while. I was only 7 months post Achilles tendon repair and my flexibility sucks anyway. Down is always awful for me, but trying not to bend that ankle too much made me even slower.

We stayed overnight which was really fun and then headed back up the next day. Denwil took off. Like just left us for dead and started heading for the top. I couldn’t be sure but I think there was probably around 3000 stairs to get back out of the valley.

Imagine Denwil’s surprise when he got to the top only to find us right behind him. I know its shallow, but man that was such a vindicating feeling.

Denwil will never know how lucky he was that those boys were with us and Brad didn’t want me to get us stranded in Banaue with no trek (he was nervous if we upset Denwil too much that would happen and I’d already paid in full).

VERY lucky Denwil! Skinny fool!

After the climb out of Batad Rice Terraces
Myself, Bead and Denwill, after the climb out of Batad Rice Terraces

Check out some of my other Travel Stories.

Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She’s always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.