Thursday, April 10, 2008
Day 17 & 18 Cabanatuan-Bayombong-Ilagan
I left Cabanatuan yesterday before 6 am. This time, I was all alone. There were no local bikers who were available to accompany me. With no one to talk to, I spent the whole time in silence and solitude - the hermit on a bicycle. Beside looking at the road and admiring the scenery, I prayed all the mysteries of the rosary using my fingers on the handlebar instead of fingering rosary beads. The rosary enables me to contemplate on the life of Jesus: his infancy (joyful mysteries), his public ministry (mysteries of the light), his passion and death (sorrowful mysteries) and the glorious mysteries (resurrection, etc). In between mysteries, I also listen to my favorite music on my mp3 player.
By 9:30 am, it became very hot. I stopped by several roadside stores to eat halo-halo. By noontime I was ascending the winding road to Dalton pass. As the heat became unbearable, I reminded myself that this was nothing compared to the Jericho-Jerusalem ascent through the desert which I did in 2005 when I biked around the Holy Land. I doused water on my jersey and put a wet towel over my head, underneath my helmet. I kept checking my heart rate monitor to make sure that I won't exceed my safe heart rate level. I reached the summit of Dalton pass at 1:45 pm and immediately had lunch at a roadside restaurant. From there it was all downhill. I noticed that my shifter for the chain-ring wasn't functioning. I continued to pedal as fast as I could so that I can make it for the mass. I reached Bayombong at 4:45 pm after biking for 155 km. Fr. Ted Lazo welcomed me and introduced me to the people at the beginning of the mass. In my homily I placed a l
I felt very tired and drowsy after dinner so I just went to bed early.
At 5:30 this morning, I continued my journey. No local bikers accompanied me so I was alone again. Like yesterday, I whiled away the time by praying the rosary and listening to music. It was an easier ride today. The hills were not as steep as yesterday and there were more flat roads. It was again very hot between 9:30 am to 3 pm. I made several halo-halo stops.
I reached Ilagan by 4 pm after biking for 144 km. Fr. Roseller Lora welcomed me. Had been waiting for me since 3 pm. He was worried that I would be late for the 5:15 pm mass. Even if this was a weekday mass, there was a good number of parishioners in attendance.
Like Nueva Viscaya, Isabela is one of the provinces where the NPA guerrillas are very active and where the government forces continue to conduct counter-insurgency operations. In my homily, I once again emphasized the call to stop the war and resume the peace process and address the roots of the armed conflict.
After 18 days, I have covered 1,662 km so far. Each day I feel that I am getting stronger and faster. I don't really feel that exhausted. After a good night's sleep I feel energized and ready to continue my journey.