Posted by: Chuck | May 31, 2013

First amputee to scale Mount Apo is a Cebuano


CEBU, Philippines – When he lost his right leg at the age of 15, he learned to enjoy and value life even more.

Balais, 39, grew up a normal kid and wanted to be like his idol in the Philippine Basketball Association, Samboy Lim, until a freak accident during a Barangay cage league in Olongapo when he was 15 years old. With the broken bone in his right thigh already infected, the doctors had no choice but to remove his leg. Balais became skinny and got inspired to do weightlifting and ventured into bodybuilding. In 1996, he represented RP in a Paralympics competition in the US where he finished 12th among 24 international athletes. He is also the first amputee to cross the Hilutungan channel some years ago and now becomes a Skywalker himself like his idol, not for its high leaping ability on the court, but having conquered the country’s highest mountain.

In 1999, Balais tried his luck in Cebu where he joined the Philspada National Games and won gold in swimming. His performance got him an invitation to the RP team, became a mainstay and had represented and brought home honors in competition he had in US, Australia, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, not to mention the national records for amputees in swimming.

Now, Cebuano Arnold Balais established another record — the first amputee to successfully climb the country’s highest mountain, Mount Apo. Inspired by a story featured at Philippine Star three years ago about senior citizens succeeding in their climb to Mt.Apo, Balais had since been thinking about trying it himself.Nung nabasa ko yun sa Phil.Star na may senior citizens na nakaakyat ng Mt.Apo, sabi ko, okay yun ah!,” said Balais to The FREEMAN. Balais then tried and succeeded trekking in Mt. Manunggal and never stopped thinking of going to Mt. Apo .

English: Mount Apo, Mindanao, Philippines as s...

English: Mount Apo, Mindanao, Philippines as seen from Lake Venado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At 3 pm last Monday, Balais started climbing the potentially active volcano in Mindanao which has an altitude of 2,954 meters or 9,692 feet  and reached the summit last Wednesday, May 29, at10:40 am. “The weather is not what we expected it to be, it was raining and slippery and it made our climb more difficult. We had to climb five mountains, a makes hift ladder that I can’t use my crutches.Kailanganggumapang, tumalon. But it is worth it. The view is beautiful and you can see the awesome picturesque mountain. He reached the summit at exactly 10:40 a.m. The view is magical and at last I conquered Mount Apo ,”added Balais. The adventure, though, was not yet over after reaching the peak, as going came to be more dangerous, due to the downpour of rain.

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