Monday, April 07, 2008
Day 14 & 15: Lipa to Manila/Rest Day
Greetings fro Manila. At 7:45 yesterday, after celebrating the Eucharist, we left Lipa. Accompanying me were 20 members of the Cycling Club of Lipa led by Noel, a retired colonel of the Philippine Navy. Pinned at the back of his jersey was the sign: No to War! Also joining us were 10 bikers from Baclaran led by Fr. Joey Echano - the superior of the Redemptorists in Luzon. There were 4 support vehicles.
The first 35 km was easy downhill riding to Talisay - a town by the shore of Lake Taal. The Lipa cyclists turned back as we reached the foot of the Tagaytay mountain. After a rest stop we began our ascent of the Sungay road. It was only 9 km going up but it took us 2 hours of climbing. This was the steepest road I ahve ever biked - 30 to 40 degrees grade. One biker vomited and fainted, while others alighted and walked up pushing their bikes. I kept pedaling and glancing at my heart rate monitor which reached 148 beats per minute! I slowed down and maintained a more relax pace to keep my heart rate below 140 bpm (I have to be careful since I had a myocardial ischemia - my cardiologist told me that my heart cannot tolerate extreme stress). We reached the Tagaytay rotunda at around noontime. There were two bikers from Manila waiting for us - Mel and Bobby. Bobby is a fellow member of the Pinoy MtBikers who left Valenzuela as early as 3 am and biked up to Tagaytay on a single-speed bike. After lunch break we continued our journey to Manila. This time it was mostly downhill. We reached Baclaran at 4:30 pm and we were warmly welcomed by the community, staff and church-goers. We had covered 98 km. After 2 weeks, I have covered 1236 km.
At 6:30 pm, I concelebrated the Eucharist with Fr. Joey and preached to over 2500 church-goers. As I preached to them, I became more aware of my mission as an itinerant/wandering preacher/prophet biking from church to church around the country proclaiming the Gospel of Life and Peace and denouncing the culture of death, violence and corruption.
Today is rest day. I woke later than usual. After breakfast, I washed my clothes. We had a special lunch with my Redemptorist confreres to celebrate my coming. The support of my confreres is really overwhelming.