Saturday, December 25, 2010

HAPPY CHRISTMAS (A Video Carol Presentation of the Cebu Mountaineering Society)

It is, once again, the advent of Christmas. This is a season of gift-giving and the remembrance of an infant boy who was born in a manger 2,000 years ago and who will, one day, change the world. We all enjoy now of that little boy's legacy and, because of that, we all live in a better world and receive blessings.

For an outdoors group like the Cebu Mountaineering Society or CeMS, celebrating Christmas would tend to incline towards the mountains and the environment. When talking about the environment, Mount Manunggal comes into mind. In Mt. Manunggal, it is where CeMS have become an inspiration and established thereafter. 1989 was that year.

Several years after that, people come and go to Mt. Manunggal and leave voluminous garbage. CeMS tried to correct that with its first phase of its stewardship program in 2006 by collecting garbage after every commemoration of the death anniversary of President Ramon Magsaysay which is held every March 17th of each year. For three years the garbage kept on accumulating until we decide to implement the next phase.

We educated the campers and visitors of Mt. Manunggal by installing steel environmental-awareness signages at strategic areas in tandem with Ayala Mall but it is not enough. We tried to activate the last phase but CeMS do not have the funds to implement it. It would have complemented the first and second phase. It is, for this reason, that CeMS is asking you to donate a part of your blessings for this worthy endeavour.

The fund will be used to fabricate sturdy garbage receptacles all along the camping area where there are environmental-awareness signages located. To optimize your donations, part of it will be used to provide the capital to sell foodstuffs and refreshments during the celebration of the Sinulog Grand Festival on January 16, 2011 for which the whole of Cebu and the Philippines will be celebrating and where the profits go to fund these receptacles!

Please send your cash or check donation to CEMS MOUNTAINEERING SOCIETY INC., under account number 175-160271-4, Chinabank Cebu, Ramos Branch or through Western Union and address it to Ann Trinitas Vidal, Aces Laser Surgicenter, Ground Floor, Cebu Velez Hospital, 41 F. Ramos Street, Cebu City, Philippines 6000.

CeMS have come a long way since its inception and have produced another generation of responsible climbing individuals and they provide this carolling video to entertain you. This video is taken during the CeMS Christmas Camp in the Sierra Tree Farm of Mount Gaas, Balamban, Cebu on November 27-28, 2010. Take time, enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas to you! God bless you!

- Jonathan Consunji
President, CeMS

Sunday, December 19, 2010


JOHNSON LUYM ARRIVE with his Ford Ranger at eight in the morning in Mango Square and both me and Ernie Salomon immediately get inside together with our backpacks. It's a long way to Tabunan and we have to pick up Wil Davies and Ricky Sevilla. Today is Sunday, July 25, 2010.

We pass by JY Square in going to Banilad and we pick up Ricky first before meeting up with Wil. The truck is wide and it accommodated all of us as Johnson steered the wheel up up away to the Trans-central Highway. We took a right turn by the the time we got past Kilometer 26 and down into a snaky dirt road.

Tabunan, settling in the bosom of Tabunan River Valley, is the jump-off point when crossing into Mount Manunggal and into a part of Balamban town itself. This place once hosted the scourge of the Japanese during World War II and I revere this place very much. A book by Col. Manuel F. Segura - Tabunan: The Untold Story of the Cebu Guerrillas - is written after the exploits of our local resistance fighters in Tabunan.

Ricky led our party crossing and re-crossing the swirling Tabunan River four times until for about a half-kilometer then we climb up a jumble of huge boulders that is a natural watercourse judging by the smooth and slippery surfaces. The weather is mild today with clear skies and I took the rear with a Kodak camera ready.

We climb over a low ridge and under huge overhanging rocks, a trail full of thick foliage, covered in every sense of the word. This is the first time that I pass by this trail going to Manunggal and I have the opportunity to take pictures, take note of the prominent features and identify vegetation and trees merely because I am not leading this climb. I have all the space and pace to myself.

This beautiful route is called Kapiyo-an Trail. I pass by a huge rock face where a hanging juvenile snake is poised to strike after being disturbed by the ones before Wil and me and I took a perfect shot of the reptile from a comfortable distance and give it a wide berth as I go on my way. I am glad that Wil has a natural eye for these things to watch on.

After an hour of steady climbing, we reach a house where there is a shady clearing. I think I just saw the largest stag horn plant here hanging from a slender madre de cacao tree. The place is a welcome point to get away from the heat and to replenish our exertion with its own supply of cool water from a natural spring.

Moving from there we came upon another house with a shady clearing after thirty minutes of uphill walking. The owner of the place is a local blacksmith and he make bolos, knives, scythes, spike axes, hoes and other items made from steel. He has an improvised hand-turned blower to supply air to his furnace and a home-made anvil where all his creations are hammered into shape.

Aside that, the place also has an ancient round-stone mill that ground corn to small bits. Ricky, Wil and Johnson tried the stone wheel with a long wooden lever hung from the ceiling. The stones are heavy and it is colored rose pink. The upper stone turned when the lever is pushed and pulled in a circle-like pattern and it doesn't need a lubricant.

After that interesting interlude that elicit Wil's interest, we are now on the last stretch of the trail to the main camping area of Mt. Manunggal. We arrive there forty minutes later and take a rest at one squat house owned by Noy Polding and his family. The area is very quiet, the grass growing thick hiding whatever scar that last March's activities1 may have left.

The white-painted President Ramon Magsaysay monument have blended reassuringly well with the green landscape. It mellowed down the harsh memories that it had kept for a half century after a plane crash upon this meadow where the whole country mourned the loss of the most well-loved leader of all time and eighteen of his aides and staff, to include some prominent journalists.

Yes, Pres. Magsaysay is very well-loved by his countrymen where, on every March 17 of each year, people climb here and visit his monument to pay homage to his deeds and commemorate his death with tree-planting activities and other events. I have done that many years ago when few people came but, as many revelers increased, I decided not to be a part of it. Sometimes, you have to observe outdoor ethics.

We stayed here for a long while heating our canned food for our lunch. Noy Polding gladly accommodated all of us into his house so we could all sit comfortably eating our meal and offering to cook the rice for us. Thank you very much, sir! May your tribe increase!

After the meal, Wil was asking for the kind of cordage used as a trump line for a carry-basket. Noy Polding's wife sourced this from a nearby grove of abaca plants and started to clean the dry fibers with a knife. Then their daughter started to twill the hemp with the use of a primitive twilling device which give us an inkling of the mechanics of this simple machine.

We toured Johnson and Wil to the monument, the helipad area and to the kiosk where the engine block of Magsaysay's plane is preserved. All around, the seven steel environmental-signage that were erected during my term as club president of the Cebu Mountaineering Society still stand and Wil appreciated very much our advocacy in preserving Mt. Manunggal. I am just wondering where are all those pesky amorsico plants now?

We leave at two-thirty in the afternoon. The route is steep and slippery and, over in the east, rain clouds bulge over the ridgelines. Ricky took the lead, followed by Johnson, Wil and Ernie, with me doing backstop. We took spills but nothing serious. A wall of rain greet me as I reach a low ridge, just over a hundred meters below me is the river bed. Very slippery and dangerous, but I am slow and cautious.

By habit, I took off my shoes when crossing a river. The river rose a few inches and the current much faster than the time we cross hours ago. From there, I decide to walk barefoot over some sharp pebbles and stones until I reach the main street of Tabunan. We rehydrate on big bottles of Beer Na Beer and Wil liked the taste of it apart from the cheap price. We consumed six bottles before leaving for Cebu City after a long discussion of the route and it is already dark.

It never dawned on me that I could take a day hike in Mt. Manunggal starting from Tabunan. This is my first time to do this, thanks to Ricky's generosity for showing us a very good trail and for his time. Ricky's main concern though is that when many people find this route it would surely disturb the serenity and peace that the inhabitants are enjoying right now.

Johnson deftly drive the 4 X 4 truck up the bends and turns of the road until we reach the Trans-central Highway. The Ranger speed its way up into the notch of Busay and straight down into JY Square then into Banilad where Wil decide to drop himself off. From Banilad, Johnson drove the Ford, upon Ricky's insistence, into Tres Borces Street in Mabolo where a local resto is located. We dined on chili-hot chicken drumsticks and washed this with Red Horse Beer.

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1Every March 17 of each year, hundreds of climbers, visitors and tourists converge in Mt. Manunggal to commemorate the Death Anniversary of the late Pres. Ramon Magsaysay. The result is a total mayhem with piles and piles of garbage left behind as well as disturbed vegetations.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

KERYGMA CONFERENCE 2010: Restoration

THIS IS YEAR 2 of the Kerygma Conference here in Cebu. Today is December 4, 2010 – a Saturday and this year's theme is Restoration. Now a crowd is milling around the reception area of the Grand Pacific Ballroom in Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City. As was last year's KCon, held then at the Cebu International Convention Center, I am again tasked to handle security.

My team of volunteers – all ardent outdoorsmen except two - are already in place at their posts and it is truly a big big day for everyone. It is their first time to serve in KCon and all are very eager to hear the message that will be delivered by the Kerygma Preachers, notably from Bro. Bo Sanchez himself who will come directly from Davao in the last part of the program.

Ernie Salomon1, Eugene Abarquez2 and Rowel Seno3 are manning the entrances; Marco Albeza4 and Vince Delicano5 are at the stage wings; Jay de Paula is securing the backstage; Jecris Dayondon6 guards the staff room and Lito Lawas is at the balcony. Me, I do the most trying part – walking here and there and up and down and in and out aside from eyeing the arrival of Bro. Bo who might arrive incognito (as he have done in previous engagements).

Prior to this day, preparations have already been organized for the Cebu leg of KCon starting on October 25, 2010 where Bro. George Gabriel of the Shepherd's Voice Radio and TV Foundation and managing editor of FiSH Magazine came for this purpose. After that, many many meetings were scheduled to fine-tune the committees that will handle the process of work for this big day.

I was here last night and gone home late. I excused myself for this day from my day job and arrive early to serve Jesus at His banquet! Last minute rehearsals were undertaken by Fr. Joseph Skelton and the Light of Jesus Music Ministry. Fr. John Iaccono blessed the venue, exhorting the prayers for protection and imploring the Blessed Virgin Mary for intercession.

At 1:00 PM, the program start with a Healing Mass celebrated by Fr. John then a song and worship by Fr. Joseph. Bro. Carl Fontanilla provide the first talk where an entertainment number by the SOS Children's Village ensue thereafter. At 4:00 PM, Bro. Michael Angelo Lobrin render the second talk and followed by another entertainment number by Fr. Joseph and the SOS children. Bro. George came next with song and worship before Bro. Bo finished the day with the Grand Feast Talk and exhortation and, later, the launching of his latest book entitled Awaken the Healer in You.

There is a book-signing afterwards by Bro. Bo and a crowd developed along the sidelines. My team found their hands full but they were up to the challenge. Everyone who bought Bro. Bo's book got what they wanted plus a cheek-on-cheek pose before flashing cameras. After an hour, my team whisk Bro. Bo to a waiting van for transfer to the airport and our team took the opportunity to have their events ID signed by Bro. Bo himself and pose with him and everyone feel blessed that evening!

For me, I feel like I am walking on air and tomorrow I will climb a mountain...

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1Of Camp Red, a bushcraft and survival group.
2Of Pundok Habagat and currently Vice President for Visayas of the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, Inc.
3Of Timex Outdoor Club.
4Of Camp Red, a bushcraft and survival group.
5Of the Cebu Mountaineering Society.
6Of the Cebu Mountaineering Society.

Monday, December 6, 2010


MY DISCOVERY OF A new and different route into the Buhisan Watershed Area on May 3, 2010 lead me to come back two more times on May 30 and on June 19 where, on the latter dates, I introduced bushcraft cooking to people who were with me. Those were statement events that made Camp Red a distinct outdoors group having its own identity.

For your info, Camp Red is synonymous with bushcraft and survival and nowhere else will you find another group doing this kind of thing in Cebu or, for that matter, the rest of the Philippines south of Subic Bay. Camp Red is an outdoors sub-culture and, so, is special.

Today, July 11, is the fourth incursion of Camp Red here in Buhisan. As usual, we start early in the morning from Guadalupe taking on Bebut's Trail, which route goes in a half-circle to Napo but, halfway trough, we stop by at a place we call the “Portal”. The “Portal” is a crossroads of sort where seven trails cross each other and one of these is the faint path to the wildest part of Buhisan.

Ernie Salomon is present, as well as new guy Marco Albeza who tow his three best students from the University of San Carlos, namely Rey, Roy and Clang-clang. Old Cebu Mountaineering Society reliable, Boy Olmedo, came along and, last but not the least, the top honcho of Jungle Wild Adventures – Wil Rhys-Davis.

Rain overtook us on “Heartbreak Ridge” of Guadalupe Hills. Roy, Rey and Clang-clang became children again and frolic under the cold strong shower. We watch and we remembered our childhood days. After twenty minutes, the rain stopped and the sun shone just enough to evaporate our wet clothes and the the now-slippery trails. I passed by Ricky Flores' house and parted away bread to his children.

The rainy season had made the vegetations thick and the indiscernible trails have become a challenge on my tracking skills. I groped under the sagging canopies and stepped over strange-looking mushrooms and sprouts. We use guy ropes whenever possible and the newbies accepted the challenge without complaint.

Finally, arriving at the creek bed, we were afforded the spectacle of cut trees, whose trunks fell on the wayside. It is obvious that mindless zombies left in a hurry after hearing our coming leaving their quarry, eleven trees in all, to our own investigation and consternation.

We prepare and take lunch in the middle of the catchment basin. It is hot and I put out my two hammocks to make our student-guests comfortable as possible. At least, this is the safest part of the basin and away from the wayward bullets of bird hunters which ran unopposed doing their thing here. Ernie do the honors of cooking pork adobo while Marco and me cook the milled corn.

After lunch, we lost our way and walk in circles and follow a dry stream bed until we reach the man-made lake. Then, it rained again. Hard! Automatically, I look for higher ground and lead the party to a safe area if, in case, a flash flood occur. There wasn't and I follow the old path to the tamer side of Buhisan.

Found our way this time and found the road and follow the asphalt road until we reach Punta Princesa. From there, we found PUJs for Guadalupe and ended our day at our favorite watering hole in V. Rama Avenue where we rehydrate and discuss our recent activity.

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Collage in Powerpoint 2007 converted to JPEG

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


2009 HAD BEEN a fruitful year for Tactical Security and Detective Agency, Inc. and what would be more appropriate is to award deserving individual security guards and whole detachments for their worthy efforts during a Christmas Party held at Cheaverz in Banilad, Cebu City on December 26, 2009.

While the giving of recognition to worthy personnel is something that can be replicated with other organizations, the giving of one to the four detachments is unique, in a sense, that there is a coordinated effort among the individuals comprising such groups that would elicit merit and respect from the ladder up.

While Tactical Security have been very busy taking care of the properties and persons of their valued clients, its officers have also been seeing to it that all their guards are at their posts; their equipments, their documents and responsibilities in order. Adapting a valued tradition from the uniformed organizations – the rank inspections - Tactical Security applied this on its several big and small detachments.

This had been a year-long affair that culminated during the last few weeks before the awarding ceremonies. There were four categories: Category D for posts comprising 6 to 9 guards which were contested by eight posts, Category C for 10 to 19 guards fought among four detachments, Category B for 20 to 29 guards vied among four detachments and Category A up for grabs by three platoons with 30-plus guards.

To sum it all, the following were the results:

CATEGORY D (6 to 9 Guards)
First – BBRC Property, Cebu Province – 160 points
Second – Cebu Performing Arts Center – 65 points
Third – Museo Sugbu, Cebu Province – 20 points

CATEGORY C (10 to 19 Guards)
First – Greencoil Industries Inc. - 415 points
Second – Sacred Heart School-Jesuits – 387 points
Third – Cebu Country Club – 375 points

CATEGORY B (20 to 29 Guards)
First – Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp.-Mactan – 970 points
Second – Cebu International Convention Center – 415 points
Third – Banilad Town Center – 160 points

CATEGORY A (30-plus Guards)
First – Cebu Provincial Capitol – 645 points
Second – Cebu South Bus Terminal – 315 points
Third – Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center – 240 points

All security guards comprising the First-place detachments were entitled to ten kilos of rice each where a total of 800 kilos (sixteen sacks) were given by the Board of Directors of Tactical Security. Certificates of recognition were also added to their prize.

Aside those, there was also a free-for-all contest among the best head guards and shifts-in-charge for all detachments and they were rated according to their work proficiency, effectiveness, leadership, professional conduct, relationship with clients and subordinates and their superiors. The rating came from their immediate supervisors and clients where they are serving.

The Top Five Head Guards and Shifts-in-Charge were chosen according the computed value points:

SG Paulino Lakandula, Sacred Heart School-Jesuits – First (4.32)
SG Nielde Gaje, Cebu International Convention Center – Second (4.30)
SG Romulo Marabiles, Kajima Corporation – Third (4.18)
SG Samuel Bornea, Banilad Town Center – Fourth (3.96)
SG Servillano Angcay Jr., Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center - Fifth (3.96)

SG Arthur Pacaldo, Cebu South Bus Terminal – First (3.93)
SG Joceryl Ardonia, Cebu Country Club – Second (3.89)
SG Rene Anduyan, Sacred Heart School-Jesuits – Third (3.69)
SG Eugene Cinto, Cebu International Convention Center - Fourth (3.68)
SG Renante Cortes, Sky Rise Realty Development Corp. - Fifth (3.64)

A cash of one thousand pesos, certificate and a sack of rice each were given to the first-place winners of the Best Head Guard and Shift-in-Charge while the runners-up were given five hundred pesos each aside from a certificate of recognition.

Additionally, the following guards were given certificates of recognition and ten kilos of rice each for meritorious service that have given Tactical Security a good name like SG Ricardo Butio Jr. and SG Melvin Parantar, who were both responsible in arresting snatchers and recovery of stolen items while assigned in Banilad Town Center; SG Jubert Daligdig for the arrest of an intruder and the recovery of a stolen article from Cebu General Services.

SG John Tabera for the arrest of a contract worker trying to smuggle out an item from RDAK Motors; SG Jasper Santos and SG Edgar Vallentos for the arrest of an armed person and the confiscation of a handgun in Cebu South Bus Terminal; SG Maximo Casipong for coming to the defense of an injured man in Kajima Corporation and SG Domingo Auxtero for being adjudged as an outstanding guard in Pag-IBIG Fund Cebu City Branch.

Kudos is hereby given to the hard-working officers and staff for their untiring endeavor to make this event successful and have pushed up Tactical Security head and shoulders above its flock in a very populated and competitive industry. Special mention is thus afforded to the officers comprising the Inspection Committee: Mr. Jing de Egurrola, Mr. Joe Patrick Larena and Mr. Eddie Alberca.

For your security needs, we do things the Tactical way! Call us now at 346-6051 or 236-1492 and we will design all your security needs.

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