Jungle Environment Survival Training (JEST) forces you to think out-of-the-box, because if you don’t; you will definitely suffer the consequences up to the point of death. During my recent training for JEST Camp, we were taught only for a few hours on how to manipulate bamboo into all the necessary utensils and materials we’ll need to survive for the next three days; from making camp fire, stoves, cups, spoons, water purifiers, and traps for birds, lizards, chickens, bats, and fish. Aside from bamboo cooking and trapping, we were also taught how to identify edible & medicinal herbs, roots, trees, and how to extract water from wild vines. This kind of experience challenges you to tap into a way of thinking that under normal circumstances wouldn’t be possible. For the entire training camp, we were primarily equipped to use a Bolo, a few meters of rope, and everything else we can find in our environment. The first task was to locate our water supply and create a shelter. Doing this after hiking for a couple of hours through the humid jungle can challenge your mental toughness and focus. Finally, reaching base camp, we had to start building our shelter. A normal mountaineer would be carrying his tadpole or dome tent for this kind of terrain, but we weren’t normal campers. We were training to develop the survival mindset that our ancestors perfected. And so we gathered branches, bamboo, dried leaves; and tied them all together using whatever we can use as rope like vines, paracords, and plastic ties to make our shelter. It was a crude construction but enough to shelter us from any precipitation. And rain at night it did. We struggled with the wet and cold brought about by the wind and rain. Next day, we looked around for materials that could increase the durability of our shelter. In the end, we had to maximize what we have by using our ground sheet and an old poncho as our fly sheet. We used the same thinking process of maximum efficiency from what the environment can provide us throughout our training camp. By the time we made it to our extraction point from the jungle, the survival mindset was finally activated within us; a thinking process that we can adapt to any situation by utilizing our creativity and our will to succeed in any environment.

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