Sunday, August 9, 2015


THE ROBLE FAMILY OWNS some goats with kids; cocks and hens with their chicks.  These creatures are ubiquitous when you visit their place.  Some of the goats belong to my friends and I had been invited to buy a goat or goats from them and leave it be so it would multiply.  Wow, I would like that very much.  It ensures me a supply of goat meat or an income.  Wouldn’t you?

But I have other things in mind.  I prefer other animals.  A cow is out of the question.  Too expensive.  How about pigs?  No way!  It is not environmentally-sound to raise it on a mountain.  If there is a legal trading of wildlife, I would have considered raising deer.  Or a crocodile.  Why not?  If it improves the economic standing of the Roble family as well as ensuring the survivability of these animals, why not at all?

Well, I have no choice but look around for something different.  How about turkeys?  Yes, turkeys.  I had not seen one in my visits to Napo and Kahugan.  I believe a turkey would survive and multiply in the environment within and around the Roble homestead.  The feathered creatures could have all the green things as fodder and that is a cheap option which would approximate those of raising a goat.  

Turkey meat is much saucier than chicken and command a higher price in the market.  It increases when demand for it are high during the holiday season, a thanksgiving day, a special occasion or even a fiesta celebration.  It would very much augment the income of the Roble family, ensures me meat if I need it or I could convert it to cash.  Why not turkeys?  Yeah, why not?

Good for me, I was able to source a young pair in early December near my workplace in Mandaue City and instantly paid for it.  I keep it in the care of the former owner for a few weeks and keep it fed by supplying it with poultry feeds.  I could have transferred it to the mountains immediately but my schedule was off.  In time, I got a down time on January 3, 2015.  I took a half day and spirit it away to my destination.

For this occasion, I used the motorcycle issued to me to transport the turkeys from office to home to the trailhead of Napo but run it with gas paid by me.  The juvenile turkeys were a male and a female and I place them inside a cardboard box with small holes all around.  I pass by a feed store and buy five kilos of poultry pellets which I stuff inside my Lifeguard USA rucksack.  When I reach Napo, I leave the motorcycle locked on the community center and start my hike at 13:30.

It is a very warm early afternoon but I am pressed to deliver the quarry to that house on the hill.  I am sure it would bring forth smiles from the Roble children - Manwel, Juliet and Josel.  It is also a chance to test further my newly-acquired 5.11 Tactical Series Shoes on this trail which I had trodden for so many times.  The box, at first, was light, but, after a half hour of walking, it is now heavy.  I changed hands but it only brought brief respite.

I rest underneath a mango tree – a landmark and a rest stop of my earlier visits here until I slowly increased stamina – and wondered why I gasped for air?  Another half hour and I would arrive at Lower Kahugan Spring.  I did, but I begin to suspect my stamina.  Am I overexerting myself?  Why did I not arrange Manwel or his father, Fele, earlier to meet me on this day?  The answer to that is not in my disposition at that time.  Well, I am fond of braggadocio, so eat that.

I stared at the ascending Kahugan Trail, so bright in the early afternoon sun.  Could I make it to the top of the hill?  I hope I could.  I have done that with much harder loads before and, besides, I am not racing with a raincloud.  The sky seemed to have cooperated.  Rain would have soaked me and would disintegrate the cardboard box.  The breach would give space for my turkeys to flee.  Thank God it is warm!

Slowly and steadily, I stalk the higher elevations, tottering on some moments, but, my 5.11 shoes held still.  I did not experience a “one-step-forward-two-steps-backward-slide” syndrome that you would get on slippery ground with a heavy load.  Hehehe...I had chosen well.  These tactical shoes turned the tables over those awfully-expensive leisure shoes.  What a big difference!  

I reach a lone tamarind tree and I am already used up.  It is still a long uphill battle.  My arms are weary holding the box.  I need to summon my reserves.  I bend forward and close my eyes.  I inhaled deep through the nose and expelled my breathe through the mouth.  I repeat this many times.  It is easier to breathe that way since your upper body do not stiffen as you would when standing erect.  The needed oxygen for the body are abundant and it freshens me.

I made good progress when I was jolted by the presence of dark clouds.  A few raindrops fell.  Now I got stressed a bit but, after evaluating the place where I am, in a few minutes I would be at my destination.  Putting one foot forward over the other mechanically had brought me, at last, to the Roble homestead.  I approach the nearest bench and place all my cargoes down.  Sitting had never been better.

Looking up, I see Tonia counting her papaya fruits laid on a table.  Manwel and Juliet are helping their mother.  Fele and Josel are nowhere.  Nevertheless, I have live turkeys for them.  I explained to Manwel and Tonia how to care for the turkeys.  I removed the turkey pair from the box and give their long-sought freedom.  Freedom of the hills, I mean.  Instantly the creatures pecked and picked happily on moss, grass and anything living-green.

After I had surrendered to them my 5-kilo poultry pellets, I gave the 50-peso worth of bread to the children.  I examine their house and I see roofs missing.  The house is tilting towards the hillside and would have tumbled down where it not for the ropes that was tied to the Java plum tree (Local name: duhat, lomboy).  Typhoon Seniang did not spare their house this time.  It had already been battered by Typhoon Yolanda and Typhoon Ruby.

I am saddened at the state of the house and saw their half-wet things partly covered by tarpaulin.  They were sleeping the whole time on a small makeshift shelter close to the ground – all five of them.  They were already deprived of electricity long ago that had given them joy and now a home.  Some people would have to know of their state of living and I took pictures of their house.  I will help mobilize people to a donation drive or anything that may improve their living condition.

It was good timing that I came today.  The turkeys I brought would help them out when it starts to hatch and multiply but that would be at a far future.  For the meantime, I leave a sum of money to help them out for a while until the cavalry will start to arrive.  I have crossed seas to deliver relief but I had overlooked my backyard.  Shame on me.  I promised Fele and Tonia that I will do something.

Since it is already 16:00 and the rain is almost here, I leave for the lowlands.  I pass by a lone hiker and he will be shocked at the sight of the Roble home, that is, if he has a heart.  I have no more load and I travel fast.  After crossing the creek, I test the new pair of shoes by running on trails.  I run on short bursts uphill and long winding treads downhill.  My abdomen begins to feel funny as the looseness of flesh and fat begins to get stretched.

I ran and walked until I arrive in Napo.  I cranked the motorcycle on and proceed to Guadalupe.  At the Bikeyard Cafe, I rehydrated myself with two small bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen.  The turkeys will be taken cared of and the Roble family will get their house back soon!  God bless them!

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

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