Wednesday, May 25, 2011


THE KIA PRIDE IS already in its place by the time I walk into the parking lot of the Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu Parish at 6:30 in the morning of December 5, 2010. Ah, it's good to know that Boy Toledo is here and, I know, he is inside the church right now to hear of the Holy Mass. And I know also that he will pray for our safety and the success of our activity.

I am expecting Ernie Salomon to arrive later and, perhaps, Wil Rhys-Davies and Professor Marco Albeza. They came except Jungle Wil. Ernie and Marco are in high adrenaline mode today. Blame it to last night's very inspiring activity – the Kerygma Conference 2010. Held at the Waterfront Hotel, they serve as volunteers in securing the event under me. Plus, they were privileged to hear the message of Jesus and be near with Brother Bo Sanchez.

Okay. This is the third straight week that we will visit the Roble family up there in the foothills of the Babag Mountain Range. We were there on November 21 and on the 28th. As I have done before, I carry my usual 50-peso worth of bread to Manwel, Juliet and Josel. You know what, I could go there everyday and need not worry of the monotony. The act of giving and sharing inspires me!

It is already 8:30 AM when we start from Guadalupe. We follow the hard road to Napo in Sapangdaku. Yes, we walk instead of riding. We don't cheat ourselves and it is good. A long warm-up walk before a climb prevents injury. Besides, that's why people call our kind as hikers, backpackers, mountain climbers and so on. Yes, we are like that, but more. We prefer to be called bushcrafters.

By 9:15 AM, we cross the Sapangdaku River after a brief rest at Napo. It is a hot day and we suffer for this because we start late. Along the trail, I parted five used books to a family living nearby the river and, further away, I collected four camias1 fruit to mix with Boy T's fresh seaweed that he carried. I arrive first at the Roble homestead at eleven.

Instantly, I recycle the bamboo pot I used last week in cooking the milled corn. The other segment is unopened and unused so, I bore a hole with my tomahawk and survival knife. With my hatchet, I chop and slice to pieces firewood for my fire. Then with two pieces of dry bamboo, I rub one with the other to make fire after I scrape the smaller of the two for tinder.

Tried many times but the magic wasn't there anymore and it is almost twelve noon. I decide to light the tinder with a lighter and, from there, my fire roared to life under the bamboo pot. Elsewhere, Ernie and Marco are busy slicing spices and vegetables for our viand while Boy T is cooking a back-up milled corn inside a conventional pot. Viand is mixed vegetable, stirred and fried, and steamed seaweeds dipped in spiced vinegar.

Now, cooking on a bamboo pot is not easy as it may seem. Remember that bamboo is not impervious to fire unlike aluminum and stainless-steel and you have to use good common sense in managing the cooking fire just hot enough to cook through the woody chamber yet cool enough to leave the underside whole and intact. One more thing, it takes so long to cook something inside of a bamboo pot if you don't use your head. Today, under my watch, I cook it in just under 50 minutes.

We start our lunch ten minutes before one in the afternoon after a brief prayer by Marco. Boiled sweet potato were also added to our meal, as well as a half-ripe papaya, sliced and dipped in vinegar, and two cans of Spanish hot sardines. Later, Fele Roble opened four green coconuts for dessert and that bloated our tummies. Well, after that, we reclined on the bamboo benches and savor the cool breeze.

Some moment later, two youths arrive and carry an odd-looking rifle. I thought it is just a toy due to the blue- and orange-colored plastic components like the barrel, trigger and what seem to be a forestock. Yes, these things were made of PVC. These were attached to wood and, you know what, this rifle shoot glass marbles at a distance of 25 meters through ignition of a sprayed denature alcohol into the forestock-like gas chamber. The trigger houses an electronic ignitor of an ordinary lighter. That's Filipino ingenuity for you! A Filipino is a natural bushcrafter, don't you think?

We leave the Roble homestead at almost three in the afternoon but, before leaving, the Robles let us bring ten pieces of pomelo from their farm. These were the tree's first fruits and I carry four inside my almost empty backpack and It is quite heavy as it is the size of bowling marble balls. Another, I carry in my hand and juggle it as I tarry along the homeward trail.

We reach Guadalupe at four and proceed right away to a monthly meeting of the Cebu Mountaineering Society. After the meeting, Boy T, Ernie and I went back to Guadalupe and finish our day in our favorite watering hole called “Camp Red”.

Happy bushcrafting day!

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer
1Averrhoa bilimbi.

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