Sunday, May 1, 2011
CAMP RED IS CLIMBING to the foothills of the Babag Mountain Range today, November 28, 2010. Today is no ordinary day. Fele Roble, Manwel's father, will be celebrating his 39th birthday. This is the reason why Camp Red will be there – to lend support and more. Yes, something like bushcraft activities and overnight stay.
I arrive at twelve noon on the front parking area of the Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu Parish and, several minutes later, Ernie Salomon arrived then Jamez and, last to come, Boy Toledo with his KIA Pride. We leave Guadalupe at two in the afternoon. Boy T is generous enough to give us a ride to Napo, our jump-off point, and save us the trouble of walking on a hot pavement.
I bring my Habagat Viajero for this occasion. Inside it were my Apexus tent, my Korean-made sleeping bag, my heavy-duty Maglite with four size D batteries, two kilos of milled corn, cook set, stove, clothes and my tomahawk in its special case. Added also were two bottles of 750-cc local brandy and four bottles of 350-cc commercial energy drink. Well, if you ask me how much it all weigh, I reckon it is more than ten kilos. Probably, 12-and-a-half kilos.
It is a hot afternoon. After Boy T parked his car in Napo, we cross the river right away and follow the meandering trail beside the Sapangdaku River. I am ruthless today and I exert a fast pace. I arrive at the Lower Kahugan Spring in thirty-two minutes. Five minutes later, Ernie and the rest arrive one after the other. I toil for about two minutes before I leave them again towards that knoll where a giant tamarind tree grow and where the Roble homestead is located.
My Viajero is very heavy yet I manage to climb the hill and arrive in about forty-three minutes. Already there were a number of people. Fele have visitors and I did not see as much local people in his place as I see today. I did not know he has that many neighbors. Little Josel is the first to meet me and, even when I am tired, I can still afford a smile. Meanwhile, I waited for the others. After ten minutes, they came.
Fele already prepared for our coming a two-segment bamboo, goat caldereta and free-rein chicken soup. The bamboo is where I will cook the two kilos of milled corn I carry and the caldereta and chicken are the ones that we will eat during our early dinner. But, before the meal, I work on the bamboo. I baton my tomahawk to create a rectangular hole on the bamboo. Later, with my 'hawk, I chop firewood for the fire that will cook the milled corn inside the bamboo.
Espying a mature brown bamboo, I chop this into two pieces and pierce a small hole on the large piece. I place my collected tinder underneath it and rub the other bamboo over the hole. Grrr! No heat! I choose a long slender firewood and smooth its face with the 'hawk and tried rubbing it over the hole and white smoke begin to emit and, after much perspiring effort, I failed and it never caught fire.
The locals were very entertained by our activity and they reminisced of their grandfathers who cooked and made fire with same and such devises. They also averred that their forefathers also used to light fires with flint stones and steel! Very well. And that unleashed a floodgate of important information for me and Camp Red. The locals talk like a myna after several rounds of local rum and entertainment provided by us and it helped our guild's vision. You wouldn't have it in any other way and time except today and here!
Oh, the milled corn inside the bamboo took time to cook. You cannot force it by increasing the fire else it will burn through the underside. Anyways, we eat the native chicken soup and caldereta with milled corn cooked inside conventional pots. The chicken and soup is superb as it filled our burning hunger and everybody concentrated their spoons on that while the caldereta is okay even without that organic orange coloring.
After the meals, I retrieved my cache of brandy and mix that with the energy drinks on a 1:2 ratio. Glasses of mixed brandy were passed all around and even the locals liked it. The conversations now were more animated and very entertaining. For two hours the brandy supplied the spirit of the fellowship until it run out its course. By that time, the locals leave slowly until we have all the place to ourselves and the Roble family.
Meanwhile, Ernie keep up the fire going to cook the milled corn. Well, it did cook though the milled corn but the fire burn through the bamboo and overcook the bottom layer to a black color. I keep the cooked milled corn and bamboo high up and safe above the ground to protect it from ants. We intend to eat it tomorrow morning.
Night is already late and time to look for ourselves our sleeping niche. I chose the makeshift hut while the others prefer the long bamboo benches. Fortunately, it did not rain that night but it is cold. The tents were rendered useless. Mine remained undisturbed in the bottom of my bag.
I wake up when my cellphone scream its pre-set alarm. Why is it always noisy? Anyway, the sun have just cleared the horizon and it's my first time to see sunrise here since the time we visit this place over two years ago. True enough, we finish the milled corn for breakfast. Caldereta that have escaped last night did not last after a minute this time.
We pack up and leave at ten. Today is a holiday and many children are tending the farms that their parents have hacked out of hard sloping ground. Many were watering the plants and some are on a search-and-destroy mission against caterpillars and plant worms.
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer