"Of course, I would gladly give my permission, for what corporation wouldn't want to be identified with the adventure, courage, discipline, physical fitness and concern for the environment that the very mention of mountaineering evokes?"
These were the very same words uttered by Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala when the young founders of AMCI (formerly known as the Ayala Mountaineers Club, Inc.) sought his permission to name their organization after him.
It all started more than a dozen years ago, on Valentine's Day in 1983 to be exact, when seven hardy fellows: Ed de Vera, Ruben Olayres, Vic Navarro, Vladimir Dizon, Nelson Deles, Noel Garcia, and Noel Punzalan planned their weekend adventure to climb Mt. Banahaw. It was during these times when backpacks, tents and trekking shoes were not yet as popular as they are these days. These seven climbers had to settle for denim pants and rubbershoes, duffel bags and had no physical training at all. They used "tolda" as their tent and had to sleep with their aching bodies surrounded by the freezing temperature of the forest without sleeping bags. But as courageous as they are, they were able to scale the peak of the 7,100-foot mountain of Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon. They saw the grandeur of the holy mountain and they had the thrill of being high above the clouds.
Because their first climb was indeed an unforgettable experience, they thought of putting up a club of mountaineers. They started climbing regularly to satisfy their quest for weekend adventures. As their passion for climbing grew, they thought of enlarging, inviting even total strangers to join them. Thus the Ayala Mountaineers*, as an open club, was formally organized. Being all Makati-based, the group adopted and sought permission to use "Ayala" as the club's name. It was gladly granted. And that was the start of it all for the Ayala Mountaineers*.
In the succeeding years, training of aspiring mountaineers began and opened its membership to women. From the seven founding members in 1983, the club has grown to a sizeable group coming from all walks of life and professions, mainly from the enclaves of Makati's corporate corners. It has remained intact inspite of seemingly insurmountable challenges. It will surely weather more challenges that will come in the days ahead. The Ayala Mountaineers* today is still growing and will continue to grow with the same dedication and courage that the founders had when they scaled their way on their first mountain many, many years ago.
*Ayala Mountaineers Club, Inc. is now known as - AMCI Mountainering Club, Inc.
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