Monday, December 1, 2008

ERNIE'S TRAIL

TOK-TOK-TOK, TOK-TOK-TOK, TOK-...


My Nokia 2350 delivered its pre-set challenge at 4:30 AM. Grudgingly, I accepted the dare despite a swollen and stiff right knee and rustled myself up from my bed to the bathroom downstairs. It was the end of the Ramadan season, and an official holiday was declared which fell on October 1, 2008. I don't have to go to work today and Boy Toledo made sure of that by having me attend a scheduled day trek at 7:00 AM from Guadalupe to Mount Babag, whose trail we have climbed on August 17 and September 7. Which I repeated again solo on September 14.


Hurriedly, I stuffed all the things I need inside my Habagat waist bag: a clean t-shirt, plastic meal containers, spoon and fork, water and a Kodak C713 digital camera. I brought also a used pair of black leather shoes which my son have outgrown intending to give it away as a gift to a little boy up there in the hills. I hied a jitney for the downtown area then another for Guadalupe and reached there at 6:15 AM. Making a vacant time productive, I took pictures of the Virgen de Guadalupe Parish to include the beautiful tainted glass windows and the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary.


I went backdoor of the church towards an eatery and, surprise of surprises, from afar, I saw Ben Lao waiving and smiling at me. Then he made a hand gesture pointing at a guy to my right and I saw his brother, Matt. They were my climbing contemporaries of the early '90s and they were here to send off of what used to be the “climbing elite” of the Cebu Mountaineering Society or CeMS. Matt just came from Davao while Ben also just came from Batangas and they made known their intentions to me that they are staying here for good in Cebu.


Boy T arrived after me then Ernie Salomon and the last to come was Glenn Domingo, the Ubuntu Linux guy. We ate breakfast at the eatery and bought extra rice and viand as our lunch which we placed inside our empty plastic containers. We waited for awhile, anticipating 11th-hour participants but none came by the time we decided to leave on the dot at seven. The smaller the party the better the pace. We walked the ascending and curvy asphalt road from there to the basketball court in Napo. Ben walked the extra mile with us up to Napo very glad of the opportunity to sweat out the doldrums that held him long.


We bade goodbye to Ben as we left Napo for the trail that led to the back country of Metro Cebu. Ernie took the lead while Boy T and Glenn D followed after him and me acted as backstop. We crossed the first river crossing and once on the trail, I made ready my camera to record this event in clear images unlike during the first two occasions which I did with limited success with just a cell phone cam. With newly-charged batteries, I took shot after shot at will at the three guys ahead of me, the scenery, the flora common on this area and just about anything that got caught my fancy. I took also one-minute videos.



Limping behind them at first, my knee tendons began to loosen up as the trek progressed. Half-running and half-climbing, my movements were now fluid-like and agile, the pain drained away by the constant motion and exertions. The pace we made were much faster than the previous trips we took this trail. With a surplus of time saved we were able to talk to each other and one of those topics that elicit importance was the club's project of creating and choosing a domain name for CeMS in the World Wide Web.


Glenn D was tasked to plan and study my proposal and after a good research in his idle time he was able to come up with a favorable progress. We both agreed that it is best that the appendage of our group's web address is “.org” to follow the word “cems” so as to distinguish it from another entity using the word “cems” that goes with a URL tailwords of “.com” and “.net” and “.biz”. Sounds very technical, right? We're not nerds but just ordinary guys in their 40s who adapted well with the cyberspace age and make use of this technology to our vantage.


Going back to Ernie's trail, we climbed beside a steep flower farmlot where a family of four were busy watering their plants. Climbing up for more, we again passed by a lone male goat munching on bound leaves hung from above him. Here, we rested for a while as I took a good shot at the ruminant with a camera flash that provoked him to instinctively duck! We were on an upland neighborhood and I saw children ogling at us from inside their houses while others were tilling the soil of their garden oblivious of our presence.



The weather was very fine and sunny with occasional clouds that work to our favor. We reached a lone house on a hill and we rested there. I took advantage of it by playing Santa to a little boy, whose face lit up with a big and warm smile as he received my gift for him. I assured him that I will bring more gifts for him and his brood each time I will pass by their mountain abode. Giving away something is my way of endearing CeMS to the locals, like what Doc Abe Manlawe used to do in Malindang. How I wished all of us would have that innate sense of social responsibility for our disadvantaged brothers living in remote areas.


I walked on air as I left their place glad to have done a good deed. We went downhill to a small brook and crossed it. We tackled another steep trail and everyone exerted to their utmost as each one of us encourage each other. We stopped by a a bare farm lot and enjoyed the view of the metropolis. I call this place “Manwel's view deck”, in reference to Manwel Roble, who guided us to a new trail. He also happens to be the older brother of the little boy who received my gift. I recorded a one-minute video here showing the angle of this precipitous location.



We pushed on, until we reached the relay tower area, which sat on the peak of Mt. Babag and walked on a dirt road towards a store three hundred meters away. We took our lunch at the store at 1:00 PM and drowned the food with two bottles of San Miguel Beer Grande. We left at two in the afternoon following the trail downhill towards Kahu'gan. We were packing a very torrid pace and reached the chapel of San Roque at 3:30 PM. Here, we rested and drank the rest of our water.


Retracing our trail as we reached the river crossing where a spring is located we made good progress under a very favorable clime and arrived at Napo 45 minutes later. We gratiate ourselves each with skewered fried bananas and cold soft drinks there. We all agreed that we will have another session at this same trail in the next week or so knowing that it brought great bonding among ourselves and a good dose of sunshine and physical exercise in a trail so accessible and where the cost to get there is never a problem.


And Manwel was very helpful, sharing to us his familiarity and knowledge of the different trails and water sources. It was a good training session and we went home on our own separate ways after reaching Guadalupe. I arrived home at 5:00 PM, fortunate enough to embrace my 3-year old grandson and tickle him to laughter until his dream time.


Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer, Trebuchet MS font, size 12.

3 comments:

lazarus said...

i want to feel what it is to be on the summit, to feel the mountain breeze and the see the world from the top. but i don't want to experience the tiring climb.

Tey said...

Pssing here...... Thanks for the visit.. Looks like you had so much fun with that trip.
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PinoyApache said...

Thanks lazarus and Tey for visiting my site and giving comments about my trip of October 1, 2008. I do have fun on all my trips especially at this area in Guadalupe.