Thursday, May 1, 2014


THE NAPO TO BABAG series of tales had always been full of human interests which cannot be perceived without the help of the Internet.  This blog unravels the other side of Cebu which only the stoutest hearts could achieve by virtue of its moderately difficult accessibility and deliver it on the comforts of your desk, on your laps or on your palm or whatever.

This blog takes on different situations, circumstances, weather, purpose and people and no two tales are alike even though these are linked by the same situations, circumstances, weather, purpose and people.  Trust that to the expertise of this blogger who has an eye to see any difference and he is always on a lively activity by any standard of which he chooses to accomplish.

However, this particular day today, October 13, 2013, is not one of those times where it is lively.  For one, I am suffering an unusual headache and I do not have a very good appetite.  How and why in heaven’s name did I have to go on a strenuous activity when a good day’s rest would have been fitting for my disposition?  The answer my dear is this:  Honoring a commitment.

Honor.  Commitment.  These words are now lacking in the vocabulary of today’s generation.  Even those of my generation who had now adopted modernity and convenience and comfort had forgotten these.  They had become addicted of their gadgets and becomes complacent.  Old school values are still the best.  That’s what set you apart from the rest.  

I arrive early at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and I see Sam Lim walking behind me.  Ernie Salomon came next, then Boy Olmedo and, last, Boy Toledo.  Sam leave early for Napo because he has guests whom he invited for this hike and he will be waiting for us there.  Boy T, Ernie and Boy O goes to the roadside market to secure the ingredients for our noontime meal and take full breakfasts while I opt to eat just two cinnamon bread.

When we have finished on our personal tasks, we hop on motorcycles bound for Napo.  We arrive and Sam is already there with his guests.  Two female and a male joined our company and, from the looks of it, it appears that they do not know what to expect although, all averred that, both girls are from this locality and the man is from a mountainous region in Mindanao. 

The concrete foot bridge spanning two banks of the Sapangdaku Creek is now finished but I opt to cross the stream on the traditional path instead of the bridge which means that we have to take a circuitous route.  All followed me without complaint because if it is physical exercise they want today they will get it the hard way.

The guests are so noisy talking among themselves and do not exercise trail courtesy.  Not all people and modern hikers know Leave No Trace.  For all of us who are bred with the old school of thought, trail courtesy is second nature.  We learn it years before LNT came to stupefy the mountaineering community here.     

I am leading the hike and, each time I stop to gaze at something or take pictures of plants, these guests would never stop but go on their way as if they know their way around.  I begin to dislike how they show wrong manners and, the fact, that they are wearing the wrong footwear and carry no backpacks.  Not even a water bottle!

I swear at myself for honoring a commitment.  Next time I won’t be in this same company like this.  I do not like to use my time to show people of places that they do not appreciate.  I do not like to guide people who only want to climb mountains to add to their personal achievements.  I do not anymore to be in company of outdoorsmen that tend to lean more on a corporate-like nature doing nothing but walk, talk and feeling good.

I ignore the guests and when I reach Lower Kahugan Spring, I refill my bottle to the chagrin of the guests who, by now, are utterly thirsty by their failure to bring bottles.  They have underestimated the rigors of hiking on mountainous terrain and, of course, they have to wait until the slow drips filled my Nalgene full.  Serves them right!  

I let all know that I want to walk the Kahugan Trail and they could choose amongst themselves which trail they would want to hike and then we will all meet at the Roble homestead. They follow me yet, when they arrive at a fork on the trail, they opt to take a short cut.  I do not mind walking alone.  In fact, I love it.  Loving it more without those guests.           

The good thing about hiking alone is that you find peace and you do not worry anything about your companions.  You concentrate all thoughts on yourself and you get solutions to perplexing problems.  I ascend slowly because, although Kahugan Trail is the longest, it is the easiest.  You do not overexert and that removes heart burnout which is good considering my physical condition today.  It also has the best views and is the most covered.

When I arrive at the Roble homestead, Boy T is already sitting on a bench, quite winded.  One of the girls arrive and sat on the farthest bench.  I thought I am just walking on a slow pace but, hey, I arrive almost at the same time as their fastest walker (Boy T), who was not carrying a backpack halfway, on a route that the rest chose that was supposed to be a short cut.  (Boy T requested Fele Roble to carry his Conquer bag when we met him on the trail.)

Anyway, I unload my backpack of the kilo of rice and bread for the Roble family.  My bag was really heavy with items intended as a training weight in my preparation for an activity in Antipolo, Rizal on October 18 to 20.  I will conduct a survival seminar for mountaineers belonging to the Mountain Climbers Alliance of the Philippines there.  One of the items I carry is the AJF Gahum heavy-duty knife, which is still in the process of several tests.

I am happy to see Fele and Tonia and their boys, Manwel and Josel.  Juliet is tending their goods at the roadside market back in Guadalupe.  Fele opened green coconuts for all except mine.  I like to open mine with my AJF Gahum.  After drinking the coconut water, I bear the knife on the empty coconut and it is split in one stroke.  

Manwel tried my knife on another empty coconut and he is amazed at the easy way it does on that comparing the effort with which he had on their own sharp bolo.  He noticed the weight and the thickness.  Boy O just loved the shape of the handle and how he wished he could buy a similar knife.  After the coconuts, coffee is served.  

Ernie gets busy with his slicing knife as he prepared our lunch.  We prefer to eat our meals hot.  I insist it should be the way it should be as had been done long ago and I believe culinary skills for the outdoors should be taught and practiced all the time.  If you depend too much on pre-cooked food then you are one of those corporate do-nothings.

Boy T takes care of the milled corn and teaching the male guest how to cook it while Ernie does a superb work on three dishes: pork adobao, pork with beans and pineapple and mixed vegetable soup.  The viand were all cooked by firewood.  I opt to eat the third dish without second servings as I am not really in my best condition.  I do not know but I feel pain from the nape down and I have a giddy headache.

After some fruitless conversations which I am not interested anyway (I took a nap), we go back down to the Sapangdaku Creek and Napo.  Since there were no more motorcycles to take, we hike up to the main road and caught some empty seats.  By now, everyone is safe and we decide to end the activity uneventfully.  

Except for the knife test and my chat with the Roble family, there was no tangible event to make this activity worthy of mention but I still documented this and gave it space for this blog to drive a point:  When you have changed paradigm and discard another, it is hard to go back.  Yes, I have outgrown my relevance to an outdoor activity that do nothing but talk and feel good.


(Postscript:  On October 15, 2013, or exactly two days after that hike, Cebu and Bohol are rocked by a 7.2 earthquake.  It shook for 32 seconds and several aftershocks are felt.  I believed my body manifested what animals felt before an earthquake.  Instead of restlessness, I felt unexplained weariness, pain at the back and a great headache.) 

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

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