Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 19 & 20: Ilagan-Tuguegarao-Aparri

Yesterday, I left Ilagan at 6:30 am after saying goodbye to my host, Fr. Roseller Lora. This was the third day that I was biking alone. I thought this was going to be an easy 80 km ride to Tuguegarao. But there were a lot of rolling hills and the temperature rose to 35 degrees celsius by 9 am. I noticed my coasting speed increasing to 25 kph while my heart rate remained at 105 bpm. Three weeks ago my heart rate would have gone up to 130 bpm at this pace. This was an indication that my heart has become more efficient and I was getting stronger. I stopped by a noodle house along the road at 9:30 and I stopped again an hour later for halo-halo. By then the heat had become unbearable. I reached Tuguegarao just in time for lunch. Msgr. Ben Lasam and his two parochial vicars welcomed me and we had lunch together.
I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and going around the city. I celebrated that 5:15 pm mass. Later in the evening, I went along with Msgr. Ben and the other priests to dinner at a benefactor's house where I met Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan and 7 other priests.

At 5:40 this morning, I continued my journey alone towards Aparri. After biking for 20 km, 4 cyclist caught up with me and asked me if I was the biking the priest. They were members of the Tuguegarao cycling club and they accompanied me as far as Gattaran, 50 km away from Tuguegarao. I continued to bike alone until I reached the town 15 km away from Aparri where I was met by 50 local bikers belonging to the Bikers' Club of Aparri. Among them were local government officials and some policemen and firemen who were members of the club. There were also some women bikers. There were fireworks to welcome us. We biked behind the police patrol car who led us around the town and up to the parish rectory where we were welcomed by Fr. Noel - the parochial vicar who is also a biker. So we finally arrived at 12:15 after biking for 105 km. I had lunch with Fr. Noel and the parish priest, Fr. Flor.

So I have finally reached Aparri after biking for 20 days covering 1850 km.

In the evening, Orlando Balisi - the president of the Bikers' Club of Aparri tendered a special dinner in my honor in his home. Fr. Noel and the local bikers were there.

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