Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WILDERNESS HEALTH, HYGIENE & SAFETY IN THE FIELD

GO WILD ADVENTURES, through William Rhys-Davies, recently made their presence felt here in Cebu by introducing the Wilderness Health, Hygiene and Safety in the Field to local participants on August 23, 24 and 25, 2011 at Mount Manunggal, Balamban, Cebu. This writer assisted Mr. Rhys-Davies with the preparation, organization and other administrative tasks to make this event successful.

This outdoors course is offered here for the first time and concentrates mainly about personal and campsite safety and hygiene and exposed the participants to the realities of the “big-picture awareness”. The participants were ferried from JY Square, Cebu City to Mt. Manunggal via the Transcentral Highway and the Cambagocboc-Sunog Road courtesy of Mr. Barry Downes.

Fine weather greeted the party on the first day. Mr. Rhys-Davies taught campsite selection and safety; knife safety; and cooking fire management. He further discussed about the option of choosing the right kind of gears and materials for the right season and climate. Tents were set up by each of the participants on the helipad area except Mr. Rhys-Davies and I, who both preferred to sleep outdoors shielded by tarpaulins overhead.

Dinner served were an assortment of canned goods, milled corn and mung bean soup but without monosodium glutamate which is forbidden by Mr. Rhys-Davies and this writer as an ingredient. Mr. Rhys-Davies slept on a bamboo bench while I favored the ground near the Pres. Ramon Magsaysay monument and covered it with dry palm leaves as a cushion so I could elevate a few inches if, in case, it rains and the ground becomes a puddle.

On the second day, the participants were taught how to analyze terrain for travel and how to place “Fred in the red shade” of a compass after breakfast and there was a friendly competition amongst the participants on who gets the perfect spot during the drills. It rained after that and the instructions transferred to the house of Mr. Leopoldo Bonghanoy, which is just located nearby.

Mr. Rhys-Davies continued the lecture which now touched about personal and food hygiene. I complemented the lecture by teaching everyone how to cook canned goods without using cooking oil. After lunch break, Mr. Bonghanoy's daughter showed to all how to process raw abaca fibers into cordage and twirl it into a rope with the use of a simple machine. Everyone tried their best to twirl the fibers and attain some discernible success!

After the rains have stopped in the late afternoon, I gathered a bamboo pole from a small stream and demonstrated to everyone of how to cook milled corn inside of a bamboo. It would have been a success were it not for strong gusts of wind that blew away my cooking fire every now and then and turning my milled corn half-cooked so I decide to cook another batch of milled corn inside of a Vietnam-era mess kit on conventional camp stove for dinner plus different menus.

Everyone retired early as the cold crept into everyone's layer of clothing and the fogs made it more miserable bringing slight drizzle. I worm into my sleeping bag partly exposed from the elements. By early dawn, heavy drops of water sprinkled my face and I'm forced to move into the innermost recesses of my shelter. For more than an hour, I sat and waited out the dawn shower to stop before reclaiming sleep for the rest of the night.

The third day brought forth sunshine and heat dissipating last night's dew and moisture. Mr. Rhys-Davies started the activity very early in the morning and begun giving instructions on first-aid responder duty and lightning-strike drills. More drills were set-up along the stream and along a road even as I prepared a meal of milled corn and cabbage soup on all the three bamboo segments.

The activity ended after lunch with a ceremonial toss of brandy by Mr. Rhys-Davies, this writer, Glenn PestaƱo, Silver Cue, Lawrence Lozada and Raymund Panganiban. As scheduled, Mr. Downes arrived with his Suzuki Scrum to transport us back to JY Square.

Document done in Libre Office 3

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