Monday, April 14, 2008
Day 21 & 22: Aparri-Claveria-Laoag
I celebrated the 6:30 am mass in Aparri yesterday. Being Sunday the church was packed. By 9:00 am, 30 bikers accompanied me as we biked around the town and crossed the Cagayan river on two pumpboats. We were taking a the short-cut to Claveria via Ballesteros. Among those biking with me was Colonel Carillo and Fr. Noel Adolfo. Fr. Noel had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the colon four years ago. He continues to undergo chemotherapy. Instead of waiting passively for his demise, he continues to carry out his priestly ministry and bike everyday.
After reaching the junction of Ballesteros and the Maharlika highway we parted ways - I biked alone to Claveria while the Aparri bikers headed home. Upon reaching Pamplona I had my first flat tire. It took me 30 minutes to fix it. I reached Claveria by around 5 pm I was welcomed by Fr. Fajardo and his fellow SVD priests. Before dinner several local bikers turned up and assured me that they will accompany me the following morning.
After the morning mass in Claveria, I saw many bikers from waiting for me outside. There were over 40 of them led by Fr. Tony Dimayuga. Some actually arrived from Laoag last night while other came early. So we departed by 7:30 am together with the 6 Claveria bikers who went as far as the boundary. As we reached the boundary, more bikers from Ilocos joined us including 3 more priests. Upon reaching the first barangay of Pagudpud, we were welcomed by the local people waving flaglets and accompanied by a band. They prepared some snacks for us. It was actually Fr. Alex and some member of the Redemptorist mission team in the area who organized the reception. Fr. Alex joined us on his roadbike was we continued cycling towards Laoag. We reached Laoag by 5 pm. The parish priest welcomed us and prepared a merienda for the bikers. Later, I biked to the bishop's residence and was welcomed by Bishop Sergio Utleg.
So far I have already covered 2070 km. Tomorrow is a rest day.