Saturday, July 26, 2014


I HAVE THE WHOLE afternoon to myself today, December 22, 2013, after I had a good rest in the morning. That rest was spent reading books about the The Nullarbor, compiled by the Australian Geographic Society, and Rory Stewart’s 2002 journey on foot in Afghanistan which he documented in The Places in Between.

I was really tired last night after a whole day of travel to Guintarcan Island, Cebu and back for a humanitarian mission sponsored by a Danish organization with which trip started at 2:00 AM and ended at 8:30 PM. It was the biggest relief operation I have had led involving two loaded trucks and five small seacrafts that target 2,000 households.

After I have had my lunch at home, I commute my way to Jones Avenue thence to Guadalupe. I intend to launch into another solo walk for the Babag Mountain Range to entertain myself of the joys of walking alone. I also intend to answer the challenge brought forth by a Davao mountaineer belonging to the Mountain Climbers Alliance of the Philippines in Facebook.

To recall, Maximo Lucentales III posted on his wall that he do not mind climbing the same mountain over and over again as against the popular notion of other mountaineers who climb many mountains as they could in a year. I commented that I have done so 68 times climbing Mount Babag in six years and I find it awesome. He replied to get my 69th and make it awesome too.

Inside my bag are ten t-shirts which I thought had seen some good days and now ripe for giving. I also add a number of dried fish from Guintarcan, a kilo of rice, sachets of coffee and a hundred pesos worth of bread. I will play a poor version of Santa Claus to the Roble homestead hoping to make my t-shirts worthwhile for Manwel and his uncles and his male cousins.

When I reach the trailhead at Napo it was already 2:20 PM. I retrieve my AJF Gahum knife from inside the bag and place it hanging by my side before crossing the stream for the trail. I reach the Lower Kahugan Spring at 2:45 PM and place my Nalgene bottle underneath the trickle of water. The natural spring had slowed and only a trickle made it through the PVC trough although a lot of the spring water are wasted passing by another channel.

It is almost late and I may have to hurry to my destination. The sky is beginning to darken as rain clouds pass overhead. I did not bother to fill my bottle at mid-level. I will take a short cut instead of the long route which I always used regularly. The problem with this short cut is that it is very steep and may be considered as “the longest short cut in the Babag Mountains”.

I did arrive at 3:10 PM and the place seem empty. Yapping dogs meet me and I sit on an empty bench quite winded. Tonia Roble came out of the house and she immediately seek Fele and the rest. I place all the t-shirts in array on the back rest of another empty bench. All male of fifteen years and above will have the option to choose one from among the ten now good for the taking.

When Tonia came back, I gave her the dried fish and rice. The bread are shared to everyone in the late afternoon while I enjoyed myself coffee. Then four hikers arrive. The Roble homestead is a natural resting place since it is halfway to Babag Ridge. Besides that, the Roble family could provide refreshment of coconut water upon request. The four guys gladly finished their coconuts before proceeding on their uphill journey.

I test the slingshot that a fellow bushcrafter from England had given me. It is made of polished yew wood with rubber tubing and leather. It is very light and the fork is sculpted to make it very ergonomic – easy to the hands. I find its use very satisfactory and I could feel that hitting targets accurately with it are achievable. It arrived in a package together with a World War 2-era Italian Navy utility knife a month ago.

I enjoy the few hours there until it is time to go. Tonia gave me raw cassava tubers and local maize as a gift. My wife would surely be happy with the cassava as it is the “labo” type. I go down the trail and reach the Sapangdaku Creek. Then I continue and reach Napo at 17:000 where I rode a motorcycle bound for Guadalupe. Since there is still light, I finish one small bottle of cold Red Horse before I went home.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

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