Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I AM A SELF-STYLED “gunless society” advocate yet I am also skilled with a gun being someone who happen to be trained by an ex-Sayaret Matkal in the early '90s. Why is that? Is it possible to stand in the middle amidst two differing principles? That is a line of thought I could easily live with being someone who has been there at one time or another.

It cannot be denied that more and more people have fell victim to criminality and the police cannot be at certain places all the time to give protection. It cannot also be denied that more and more people have access to guns now than ever before and crime statistics have risen because of that.

Then again, why not make a stand that would benefit the best of both worlds? Teach people about the principles of a gunless society while firing a gun on the side. Double speak? Maybe? But I don't care what you think. If teaching people both would result to a betterment of society then, so be it. I don't care about the politics behind each side.

So, once again, my gun skills will be used for the betterment of certain individuals who, by the nature of their work, are tasked to carry guns, guard private properties and protect the lives of company officers, employees and their visitors. I am talking about the often-neglected and often-ignored private security guards.

This writer under the banner of my personal blog - Warrior Pilgrimage - was tapped by Tactical Security and Detective Agency, Inc. in October to conduct the Basic Gun Safety and Firearms Proficiency Training upon their guards assigned with Oro China Jewelry and with Gateway Motors (Cebu), Inc. at different firing ranges in Metro Cebu.

Security guards from among the different outlets of Oro China Jewelry scattered in the cities of Cebu, Lapulapu and Danao availed of this program on October 2. Firearms used were a 9-millimeter pistol, a caliber .38 revolver and a 12-gauge shotgun. The well-maintained Kamagong Firing Range inside Camp Lapulapu, Cebu City was used as venue.

Participants fire five rounds per position totaling 25 rounds for revolver, 15 rounds for 9mm pistol and two rounds for shotgun. Positions were standing for both pistol and revolver at 10 meters using strong hand and 5 meters for weak hand; kneeling, sitting and prone for revolver only at 10 meters; and a 5-meter draw-and-fire pistol on a selected target. Aside that, familiarization firing for a 12-gauge shotgun is also laid for the firers.

The following week on October 9, sixteen guards comprising the first batch coming from the different areas of Gateway Motors like KIA-Gorordo, KIA-AC Cortes, KIA-Linao, KIA-Tawason and BMW-Nivel Hills were fetched from the agency headquarters in Mandaue City and fired guns at the NS Firing Range, Tawason, Mandaue City.

I had my hands full overseeing the 16 firers on a very hot day until Mr. Zaldy Recla, human resource manager of Gateway Motors, came to assist me. Mr. Recla is also a club member of NS Gun Club whose firing range in Tawason is the ones we used.

I used the same formula as with the previous participants (to include the 14 company officers, employees and security guards from Cebu Grand Hotel that I taught at Aqua City Firing Range, Talisay City on July 23, 2011) and I find it effective and very practical. Also, this is the first opportunity for all the guards to fire different firearms and at dissimilar distances and situations.
On October 23 and at the same NS Firing Range, it was the turn of the second batch of guards from Gateway Motors comprising eleven people. Mr. Recla came again to give support to his wards and, at the middle of the day, both this writer and Mr. Recla test-fired a US M2 Carbine as consolation to release a long drawn urge to tickle this classic assault rifle.

Afterwards, I treated the guards to a late lunch in Upper Canduman while being entertained by our very own Flash Donaire demolishing Omar Narvaez of Argentina on late broadcast TV. Warrior Pilgrimage would like to thank Mr. Recla and to security officers, Fernando Ypil and Robert Unabia of Tactical Security, for valuable support to all my engagements.

For this series of firing range activities of October, Warrior Pilgrimage, in consonance with Tactical Security & Detective Agency, Inc., is happy to give each firer certificates that would enhance their standing in the security industry and I see a smooth relationship in the future.
Document done in Libre Office 3

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

POEM #7: Budget Backpacking

Hot day on a simmering ridge,
I am almost at the top the hill.
Behind me, are two old men;
lagging a hundred meters and trudging
up a trail in their darnedest best; snorting and wheezing!

Somewhere farther behind,
moving up swift and furious,
are winds spurred on by a storm cloud.
Overtaking the two old beans and me;
in a rare burst of cold shower in the middle of summer!

Thirsty ground and wilted greens;
now, made wet and alive by a passing rain.
Trees danced on the fringes of Buhisan,
underneath is a path that led to the teak forests of Baksan,
where coffee break waited eternally at Starbucks Hill.

Across is Mount Lanipao and a saddle;
beyond is Arcos Ridge and a route down to Sapangdaku River.
You know, Bebut's Trail are full of surprises.
It goes crescent-like from Guadalupe to Napo
where most journeys start
...or end.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

WARRIOR REVIEW: Bamboo Millennium Patrol Shoes

LAST JANUARY 2011, DES Footwear, makers of Bamboo Military Shoes, approached me and made known their intention to test their locally-made shoes. This, they believe, would help them upgrade their product and procure the best materials that would give them better confidence to penetrate the market.

Their factory is located in Basak-Pardo, Cebu City, Philippines. Basically, their shoes are MADE IN CEBU; so very distinct from the more popular cheap shoes made in Carcar, which is also a part of Cebu. Their shoes, just like in Carcar, are hand-made and done by skilled local labor and are stitched for long wear and good shape retention.

And so, I was given a free pair of their Millennium Patrol Shoes and another free pair of their Charol Parade Shoes, both Size 10. Their parade shoes are made of shiny black leatherette uppers and locally-made rubber soles. I have worn the pair rarely and these have not seen much abuse unlike that of the patrol shoes.

The patrol shoes are made of genuine leather, dyed black, with local rubber soles. Inside are fully-padded insoles and flexible shank for extra support. It had seen constant pounding through walking and day-to-day use going to the office and on the field and holds all my weight of 95+ kilos. However, by May, the soles start to crack and, in June, water leaked inside.

In July, Bamboo Military Shoes replaced the much-abused pair with another free pair with much better rubber soles that is hard as it is oil-resistant. Aside from the walking and the constant daily use, the shoes have been used regularly to push the motorcycle stand upright which use the left foot and crank-start it with the other foot.

Likewise, the Millennium’s look and feel serve well in very official functions and setting. Although designed for rugged use, its simple design could very well complement any formal attire and the leather is very easy to buff and shine or daubed with commercial-dye solutions.

According to Mr. Fermin Uy, the bulk of their sales are from the Charol Parade Shoes which are bought and used by policemen, security guards and criminology students. Their patrol shoes have not caught on the trend yet but I can’t see any reason why these sturdy shoes would not be worn someday by civilian security forces and the military if it were advertised through conventional means.

Since DES Footwear is a small company, funds to spend for advertisement are very scarce and whatever income collected from sales are diverted instead for production expenses which are increasing every quarter due to an influx of demand. It is for this intention that DES Footwear decided to utilize this person to test and market their products.

This writer is indeed very glad to have DES Footwear as a sponsor to further his passion as an adventure-travel writer. This greatly helped me to possess a sturdy pair of shoes for my journeys which, sometimes, are a part of my day job as an officer of a reputable security company.

Another free pair of Millennium Patrol Shoes did land on my desk this January 2012 compliments of DES Footwear and I am proud to announce (as well as endorse) this in Warrior Pilgrimage. Prouder still I am, to have been given this privilege of wearing a product made by Cebuano hands.

The shoes are now available in the market and, if it interests you to own a pair, the prices are One Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P1,500.00) for the Millennium Patrol Shoes and One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) for the Charol Parade Shoes. These are much cheaper than the cheapest competitor and a quality that is at par with established ones.

If you would like to order a pair or several pairs, I may be contacted at mobile phone number +639237162705 or email me at pinoyapache@yahoo.com.

Document done in Libre Office 3.3

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


IT HAD BEEN QUITE a while since I last visited the Roble family at their humble abode found among the foothills of the Babag Mountain Range. The last time I was there was on July 27, 2011 with Glenn Pestaño of Camp Red and Randell Savior of Tribu Dumagsa. That bush hike gave me an idea instead how to teach and introduce bushcraft and survival to individuals and groups in easy single topics.

Today, November 20, 2011, I will be bringing in the core of Camp Red1 along with the new would-be bushmen. I am Camp Red and returning home with me is Glenn. Coming along for the first time here are Jhurds Neo, Silver Cue and Lawrence Lozada. Going along also for the first time with the pack are Faith Tannen, Justine Ianne and Ouch Melbourne.

We will just stay at the Roble homestead and cook our noontime meal. The main activity would be the Grassroots Bushcraft Teaching Series which I will discuss with the participants, this time, touching about Knife Care and Safety. It is very important for every bushman worth his salt to learn knife ethics and this would be very helpful especially if you are with another or with a group.

This blog, Warrior Pilgrimage, espouses the proliferation of bushcraft and survival here in the Philippines as an alternative, but very affordable, interest or hobby. You needn't have to travel to far-off places spending huge amounts of money and time just to pass by a place and take pictures. Bushcraft and survival is all about learning wilderness skills and you could do that even at your own backyard!

So we start from Guadalupe and motor to Napo where I give them the final briefing about the main route, the terrain, the evacuation areas, water source and inherent landmarks and scenery. We cross the Sapangdaku River twice over stones placed as paths and rested for a while at Lower Kahugan Spring to recover our breath and to replenish water bottles.

Kahugan Trail present itself as an obstacle for all the first-timers as it slowly ascend towards the Roble homestead via a route that is unknown to most of the outdoors people. The weather is fine and cloudy yet we hike along a covered trail. Once we reach the place, I decide to prepare coffee for everybody before I start the lecture.

People would always link the blade as a weapon and the mere sight of it would make them shudder and became wary of the person holding it. Of course, throughout history, it had been used as an instrument of destruction in early warfare and, even today, it settled personal grudges. Even I, have that penchant to use it as a weapon during solitary hours of shadow fighting and knife throwing.

However, I will partly diminish that thought and give another perspective of the knife as a useful tool for bushcraft and survival. Early man invented the knife for this purpose to aid him and his clan for their day-to-day survival. It metamorphosed itself from stone to animal bones or shell to copper to iron to steel. The steel have perfected the blade in its present state and a wide array of steel alloys are offered in the market.

The carrying of a knife outdoors demands some sense of responsibility though not only towards others but also of your own. Personal safety starts from yourself and the demands of the rugged playgrounds that bushcrafters chose is also a venue that you need to think over of what type of sheath you are to use, how would you carry it and where would you hold this when you unsheath your knife.

I remind them that there is a national law governing the carrying of knives and other bladed instruments applicable here in the Philippines but it does not specify the limit of the length of blade. It only forbids the carrying of knives, concealed or not, in public places without the proper permits. Responsible knife owners find the malls, airports, seaports and random police checkpoints as obstacles.

However, for purposes of not entangling yourself with law enforcers and losing your prized possession, it is best that you declare it openly in a fine and pleasing manner. A smile will do the initial thawing of nerves. Bushmen are not mean people and they also know how to smile. Am I right there?

I also emphasize to everyone to treat their blades like a baby brother and to learn how to sharpen it and keep it spotless of stain and rust. For this purpose, I carry my set of honing stones - coarse, fine and smooth - and demonstrate these how to achieve a sharp edge with a traditional system of sharpening a knife. I show them what stone that you would need water when honing your blade and what stone that you wouldn't need water.

For entertainment, I decide to show them part of my blade collection. My backpack is heavy with these but I am not a bit bothered. Bayonets for the M16, the M14, the Garand and the Japanese Kurasa rifles; native blades; my current knives used in bushcrafting; and my constant companion – the tomahawk.

Our lunch consists of chicken soup from two free-rein chicken and a mixed-vegetable stew cooked by Fele and Tonia Roble for us and desserts of green coconut meat and water. We depart at 2:00 PM and go by the same route from which we came. To add accent to our activity, I opt to bring them down to the hidden waterfalls of Busay Lut-od.

We reach Guadalupe in a happy mood and douse our thirst away with rounds of cold beer at Summer Kyla. This is the third activity of the newly-refurbished Camp Red and I beam with pride with how our unconventional pursuit catch on the interest of people like Faith, Justin and Melbourne.

Document done in Libre Office 3
Photos courtesy of Ouch Melbourne and Silver Cue
Reference materials used were from Andy Beck and Caleb Robert John Musgrave

1A Cebu-based outdoors group dedicated to bushcraft & survival, the only one of its kind in the Philippines south of Subic Bay.