Thursday, May 24, 2012

PIBC MMXII: Plugged & Kicking!

ON JUNE 10, 11 AND 12, 2012, this blog – Warrior Pilgrimage – will once again convene the Philippine Independence Bushcraft Camp (PIBC) at a mythical place called “Camp Damazo”, which is found deep in a hidden nook of the Babag Mountain Range, Cebu City, Philippines. Supporting again this endeavor is Camp Red, the only outdoors group in the country south of Subic Bay that focused solely on bushcraft and survival.

PIBC MMXII promises to be better this year and the transfer of “Camp Damazo” to a new, but improved, location speaks for itself. This blogger is the organizer and the main instructor of PIBC. Moreover, the following PIBC MMXI alumni shall be tapped by this writer to help out in running PIBC MMXII:

RANDELL SAVIOR (Camp Red/Tribu Dumagsa) shall be the official Camp Ramrod. He shall be in charge with the administration of Camp Damazo like ground space allocation, water, firewood and hygiene. He shall brief regularly the participants about camp rules that will be implemented and the daily routine that each participant will take part.

RAYMUND PANGANIBAN (Camp Red) shall be the official PIBC MMXII Photographer. He shall document all camp activities and related events through his camera lens. He shall assist the Camp Ramrod with the administration of Camp Damazo.

ERNESTO SALOMON (Redtrekkers) is the official Camp Fixer. He shall prepare, fix and cook the six meals allotted for PIBC MMXII. He shall coordinate with the Camp Ramrod pertaining to the collection of water and fuel.

GLENN PESTAÑO (Camp Red) shall demonstrate and expound the module on Every Day Carry or EDC. He shall assist the Camp Ramrod with the administration of Camp Damazo.

To recall, the first edition in 2011 (PIBC MMXI) were attended by fourteen participants. It was the first time that a bushcraft camp was held in the archipelago that was programed and devoted for Philippine Independence. So, PIBC MMXII will basically be like the previous year’s event but more expanded in the number of days, modules, participation and camping area.

Due to the sensitive location of Camp Damazo, PIBC MMXII shall limit participation to only twenty participants. June 11 shall be dedicated to the teaching of the basics while June 12 shall be focused on the celebration of Philippine independence in the morning while the rest of the day shall be spent at the Lanipao Rainforest Resort.

Registration is Eight Hundred Pesos (P800.00) to include event t-shirt, meals, certificate of participation, field manual, the free use of Lanipao Rainforest Resort and other operational expenses like security and site transportation. If interested, click this link which will leadyou to Facebook and read the details and other posts or you may contact this blogger at +63923-716-2705 or Randell Savior at +63932-450-7551 for more details.

For those that have showed their intention of joining, please send your payment in advance to the designated bank account number found in the events page of PIBC MMXII. There will be no on-site registration and payment. Failing so, would deprive you of participating this once-a-year activity.

PIBC MMXII shall officially start from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Guadalupe, Cebu City on June 10, 2012 at 12:00 noon where participants will be transferred to the trailhead at Baksan and then follow the network of streams into Camp Damazo, which is located on a high ground surrounded by thick forest. Below is the full itinerary of PIBC MMXII:

10:00 – Assembly, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
          (Take your lunch before start of activity)
12:00 – Leave Guadalupe for Baksan by public jitney
12:45 – Arrive Baksan, prepare water and gears
13:00 – Leave Baksan for Camp Damazo by streams
16:30 - Arrive Camp Damazo, rest & rehydrate
17:00 – Explore camp, pitch tents/sleeping quarters
18:00 – Prepare dinner
19:00 – Dinner time
20:00 – Socials, PIBC overview
24:00 – Taps

05:00 – Wake-up call
05:30 – Prepare breakfast
06:00 – Breakfast time
08:00 – Introduction to Bushcraft and Survival
09:00 – Tool Making
10:00 – EDC Preparation
11:00 - Prepare lunch
12:00 – Lunch time
12:30 – Siesta/socials
13:30 – Knife Care and Safety
14:30 – Foraging and Firecraft
16:00 – Outdoor Cooking
17:00 – Prepare dinner
18:00 – Nocturnal Hunting
19:00 – Dinner time
20:30 – Socials, Training review
24:00 – Taps

05:00 – Wake-up call
05:30 – Prepare breakfast
06:00 – Breakfast time
07:30 – Philippine National Anthem
07:45 – Oath of Allegiance
08:00 – Socials, photo session
09:00 – Break camp
09:00 – Leave Camp Damazo for Lanipao via Lensa Trail
11:00 – Arrive Lanipao Rainforest Park, rest & rehydrate
11:15 – Prepare lunch
12:00 – Lunch time
13:00 – Socials
16:00 - Leave Lanipao for Guadalupe by multicab
16:30 – Arrive Guadalupe
17:00 – Post-activity discussions, socials

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3

Thursday, May 17, 2012


THE WARRIOR PILGRIMAGE BLOG stirs up another Grassroots Bushcraft activity on March 18, 2012.  This time, it is about map reading and it is held indoors - for the morning lecture - at the abandoned Department of Agriculture Regional Office in M. Velez Street, Guadalupe, Cebu City and along Bebut’s Trail, for the practicals, in the afternoon.

This blogger is having his first opportunity to teach map reading to interested individuals, especially to members of the different local outdoors club, namely: the Inter-Mountaineering Society (IMS), the Cebu Mountaineering Alliance (CMA) and from Camp Red Bushcraft & Survival Guild. 

The participants bring with them compass, protractors, pencils and paper, drinking water and their willingness to learn while this blogger supply them replica maps and the seminar hand-out en gratis.      

The indoors seminar start at 8:00 AM and end at 12:00 noon.  Points discussed are the basics of map and compass; understanding the compass; orienting the map; grid lines and grid coordinates.  The whole afternoon is dedicated to plotting and navigation and designing an orienteering course at the Guadalupe Hills which becomes the live laboratory.

The participants have not only followed Bebut’s Trail but added an extra mile by tackling Kilat Trail all the way to Buhisan then to Punta Princesa.  Kilat Trail is a well-hidden route but the participants explored it, nevertheless, when found and they were able to replenish their water bottles at the only water source in the area.

Review and critique of navigation result is done at Red Hours Convenience Store, just across the old D.A. Compound after the event.  Below are the sets of collage depicting this rather technical lecture which is offered rarely here for free: 

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Saturday, May 12, 2012


THE WORLD SEEMED TO stop for a while for me as I am shell-shocked and dazed from the knowledge that somebody had just entered into my house – surreptitiously - while I am in the middle of my sleep. It happened between 12:00 midnight to 2:00 AM of May 2, 2012 and it was raining hard. By habit, I should have awoken during downpours.

My wife woke me up from my slumber and, automatically, my attention shifted to the laptops. I found the Acer Extensa still on its place the last time I saw it used but I just lost my newer Acer Aspire laptop left on the glass center table of my living room. Both were covered with cloth yet the expensive one was the one found and spirited away from me.

The burglar gained entry by removing five jalousie glass blades from a window. Left behind were the Aspire’s battery and power supply and a pair of Logitech speakers. Placed beside the missing laptop but ignored, nevertheless, were my Guess wristwatch and a Columbia Scorpion King folding knife. Obviously, a child did the dirty job while an older companion could have stood outside waiting.

I saw my backpack on the tiled floor and saw some of its items strewn all over. I felt for the things which I knew were inside but discovered that I just lost my wallet containing my ID cards and an ATM card; and a Habagat neck pouch which contained my Sony Cybershot digital camera and about eight pieces of Camp Red special edition patches.

Retrieving my LED flashlight and knife, I searched quickly the backyard for any hidden suspect that might have been trapped but found none. I went running out of the house into the rain and followed the path to the street hoping that I may catch up with the thieves. M.J. Cuenco Avenue is almost empty save for a huddled group of three pairs of male and female teenagers waiting for the rain to stop.

I am almost naked save for a pair of shorts and I am barefooted. I can’t walk on the streets like this, even if I look like taking a bath in the rain. It’s weird at that hour with a knife. I went back to my house shaken by the swell of fiery emotions that have started to boil over. My wife met me at the door and she has with her an umbrella and she goes out to T. Padilla Street to do some investigating.

I search again the backyard carefully and found my wallet left unfolded on the ground with its items disgorged all around including my ID cards and my ATM card – all wet! Further search on my backpack assures me that my stash of hidden cash is still in its secret compartment although I lost a small amount of cash placed inside an unzipped pocket.

I tried the upper level of my house and the HP notebook is safe. My pair of Rivers hike shoes which I thought stolen is also upstairs. Gosh, what audacity for this unknown intruder to enter my lair. I could not shake off my anger and my unbelief that somebody had just did the impossible. And did it under the cover of rain. You know what, somebody had just torn off a page from my book and turned the tables on me. 

On some distant dark past when I was still in the Force, the rain used to cover up my movements and I operate effectively under it. I know very well that rain make people drowsy as warm air are pushed by supercooled air upon its approach. The monotony of raindrops on roof or on a puddle makes everyone comfortable and drop their guard. Even dogs drowse during rain, their excellent senses drowned out by that annoying rhythm and cool comfort. I know, because I used to tiptoe over them.

Then on some more distant darker past, I learned to stay awake when it rained. It was cruel and hard. Sleep is snatched away from you while everybody are enjoying their time on a warm bed on a very cold night. I grow up watching a stream during downpours for, when it rose, I have to plug the holes and, when it overflowed, I have to wait for the flood to abate and then start cleaning the muddy silt while it is still soft and watery.

Even the sight of bulging rain clouds in the distance is enough to send me scurrying for home to hold the fort against a liquid foe. It was like that for twenty years. That was when I lived in the old house.

But on that rainy night when someone entered my home, I rediscovered something amiss in my grown-up adult life: the feeling of abandoned bliss and comfort. The old feelings accompanied by sweaty anxieties and goose chills which usually follow when the subconscious mind switch on the brain to consciousness during the approach of rain were gone.

That feeling is surprisingly absent. Or it may have been eroded by living in a new house? Or I may be getting rusty and lost my old zing? Whatever. It is a shock to me and is so alien. I could not defend my home in that situation and, for that matter, allow any intruder to make mincemeat out of me. It was a good thought though that it wasn’t an assassin but just a petty thief.

I could do nothing about the stolen laptop and camera for now, so I texted my old underworld friends to take a look out of those items if ever it gets traded in their places. On the other hand, it is wise to have this incident recorded to the police authorities. I went personally to the Waterfront Police Station and pass a piece of paper to the investigator where all the info are typed so I could keep questions to a minimum.

The Acer Aspire is the center of entertainment for my boys. In it they could play online games, surf the ‘net, interact in Facebook, watch You Tube videos, download MP3, listening to music or saving pictures. The 4GB DDR3 memory, the 500GB hard disk space, the 15.6 high-definition LED LCD monitor, the Windows 7 platform and open-source browsers gave them the freedom to do as they please provided you use 110 volts of electricity else it explodes in your face.

The Sony DSC-220 camera is a different matter. It is used in the furtherance of my outdoor activities and my travels with which images captured are documented and blogged in Warrior Pilgrimage or uploaded in Facebook or Webshots. The camera had been dropped on streams twice but it still functioned after a few days drying. Basically, it could withstand rough handling.

Those were my toys and my joys. It pains me that it is not with me anymore and I just hope that my outlaw pals would send me a positive message in the days to come. If not, life moves on and wait for these things to drop from the sky along with the rain.

A new thought crossed over me. This concerns about the new feeling of comfort and bliss. To an ordinary mortal, this is most welcome. To a man who used to live life dangerously in the past, this is evil. I begin to sense the urgency of my present plight. I used to be comfortable at being uncomfortable or uncomfortable at being comfortable. How to recover the old sense back is the most difficult part.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012


WE ARE ONLY FOUR people going to the Babag Mountain Range today, February 19, 2012. I will teach the three bushmen with me the rudiments of making a wooden spoon by hand and knife. The three guys are Silver Cue, Lawrence Lozada and Dominikus Sepe and all of us belong to Camp Red, your only Philippine bushcraft and survival guild south of Subic Bay.

Making a spoon from scratch is one of the skills highly valued by all bushcrafters found everywhere in the world. This writer espouses this craft thru the Grassroots Bushcraft Teaching Series which are all documented in this blog Warrior Pilgrimage. 

So, after meeting at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and after providing ourselves the ingredients for our noon meal, we proceed to Napo by hired motorcycles. We start at the trailhead at 9:00 AM. The climate is hot and very humid; the trail still retained mud on some stretches borne out of two weeks of constant rain. The vegetation are healthy and green and the Sapangdaku River is full.

We arrive at Lower Kahugan Spring in twenty-six minutes something. The fastest I have timed myself going there is thirty-one minutes. This is good! The three guys behind me are so unrelenting and so full of vigor and speed. At the spring, I rehydrate myself and fill my water bottle.

After a brief interlude under the cool shade, we climb up an exposed route passing by a flower farm. Our destination is the Roble homestead which is found on a knoll where a big tamarind and a Java plum tree grow. I push myself hard trying to outdo the rest and found myself stopping often to recover my wits and my breath.

We reach the cool bamboo benches and claim our own separate niche underneath the shades. I boil water for coffee to pep me up while disemboweling my backpack of a present of bread for the kids Manwel, Juliet and Josel Roble. I pass the ingredients for our meal to Antonia Roble so I could concentrate on the outdoor lecture of “Spoon Carving 101”.

I choose the dried stump of a Mexican lilac tree and splinter it into firewood size with my tomahawk. I select the best three parts and pass it to Silver, Lawrence and Dominikus. It is hard and gnarled and I could not find a softer wood but they insist to work on these. The wood is reddish with a yellowish tinge and some dark streaks. I show to them my finished spoons as instructional aids or work models.

Silver have with him his locally-made trench knife replica and his genuine Mora knife; Dom his broken Camillus 1971 multi-knife set and his locally-made tracker knife replica; and Lawrence his Gerber multi-tool set. I supply them with broken glasses for scraping purposes and offer my tomahawk and Mantrack knife to work on the wood. Lawrence opt for the tomahawk.

From time to time, I look over their work, giving them hints of where and how to achieve better progress. Meanwhile, I test my newly-acquired Made in China stainless-steel pot on the side by cooking a half kilo of milled corn for our lunch. The water boil quickly because the skin is very thin while removing the lid is effortless even while it is hot.

Then it comes to a time that we have to cease for a while our session to avail of lunch. Dish is specially prepared and is made of taro leaf stalks, taro rootcrops, red beans and eggplant cooked in coconut-milk soup locally called “linabog”. This dish is my favorite and I help myself with several servings until I end up with a bloated tummy. Likewise Silver, Lawrence and Dom enjoyed very much this local food. Then comes the dessert: green coconuts. (Burp!)

The participants continue their work on their respective spoons while I refine further one of my early-made spoons. It had become some sort of a back scratcher in my home. I scrape the spoon head, thinning it further, and sanded it. I may have to apply varnish on to this one and make one friend happy who had been asking for such.

Anyway, Silver’s Mora cut away the wood easily. On the other hand, the tomahawk did good on Lawrence’s wood only that he make some misjudgments, unintentionally cutting away his wood (and sometimes chipping off small parts of wood) and the size of his spoon. Dom’s tracker knife is very cumbersome and left little to be desired.

Silver make good progress of his spoon maybe because he has an efficient knife. Dominikus, meanwhile, did his best with limited resources apart from the heavy tracker and a broken Camillus but created, nonetheless, his own “masterpiece”. Lawrence’s spoon becomes a midget after considerable exposure to flaws. All made their spoons for the first time.

Five hikers came in the middle of our meal and they were very entertained by the activity of spoon carving. They also eat their lunch with their bought food at the benches and helped themselves with them green coconuts. After a while, they leave for Babag Ridge giving us back our big spaces.

By 2:30 PM, we pack our things back into our backpacks and say goodbye to our hosts, the Roble family. We take another route in going down to Lower Kahugan Spring and proceed on without stopping. We were so obsessed with speed that we reach Napo at 3:03 PM. Jeez! Thirty-three minutes for a route that normally takes about forty-five minutes! Wow. Another record.

From Napo we were transferred to Guadalupe and further transferred to a new watering hole located at M. Velez Street – Red Hours. Over bottles of ice-cold bottles of Red Horse beer, we talk of the day’s activity. Spoon carving is not difficult to do. The moment you finish one, you are onto your second until you become well-versed with what you do and, by that time, you establish a good relationship with the blade.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3
Pictures courtesy of Silver Cue and Chingki Kinito