I will not need my cooking gears and my camp stove and I leave it intentionally behind. I will not be with my usual company. I need to be alone. I need to commune with nature and to be with the mountain folks whom I can connect with very easily. Bushcraft is most perfect when you are alone.
I arrive at the Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu Parish at 7:00 PM and I witness the blessing of the palms by the priest. There is an ongoing religious program. I passed by a procession of parishioners in old Jewish garbs coming from San Nicolas and they are now converging at the church grounds.
After that, I decide to eat a light breakfast to see me through to my destination. It is a long way there: almost three kilometers of uphill road and maybe about four kilometers of ever-increasing elevation to that knoll where there is an ancient tamarind tree. I buy my usual fifty-peso worth of bread for Manwel, Juliet and Josel.
It is hot, of course, for this is the middle of summer in the tropics. I walk my usual pace. My old Coleman boots are still around and it may disintegrate soon, but not today. It may still be liveable with my feet. My 35-liter Baikal pack is heavy with five used books but I don't mind. This cargo will make some children smile.
I meet some local folks along the trail carrying vegetables for the market and I give the path to them. Trail courtesy is very essential in your outdoor pursuits and people remember that. It's a good passport for unimpeded access into your playground.
I arrive at Lower Kahugan Springs and she is still gushing drinkable water without let-up. This time, I drink water and filled my bottle. I give all the books to a 10-year old girl and her two small brothers, as well as half of the bread. I stay here for about 10 minutes before proceeding again.
I did not follow the usual route where it will pass by a flower farm. At 8:00 AM it will be hot there and it is almost nine. I take the Kahugan Trail instead which is a much easier route and shaded although rather long. I hear from below the splash of water from the Busay Lut-od Waterfalls but I will not go down there.
I take a switchback to the Roble homestead and arrive there at 9:30 AM. I sit on the cool bamboo benches underneath a Java plum tree to recover my breathe. Little Josel badger me with my hidden stash of bread and I ultimately surrender it to him after a little chit-chat. Manwel is sweating and just came from their little corn farm uphill.