Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day 53: San Francisco - Mangagoy, Surigao del Sur

I left San Francisco before 6 am this morning. The first 40 kilometers was a very easy and leisurely ride along a paved highway and cloudy sky. I was averaging 17 km per hour. But the difficult part began after Tagongon. Over 30 km of biking on very rough and hilly terrain which reminded me of Northern/Eastern Samar. My speed was reduced to an average of 8 km per hour - slower than a jogging pace. The rocks were very sharp and I had a flat tire at 11 am as the heat became unbearable. I was able to change the tire tube in 20 minutes. As I entered Mangagoy, a cyclist named Gabby biked alongside me and we talked for a while. After some refreshment he guided me to the convento and told me that he and some of his friends will bike with me up to Lingig tomorrow. I met Fr. Erwin, the parochial vicar, who invited me for lunch. Later in the afternoon, I met Fr. Florio Falcon - the parish priest.
Fr. Falcon and his fellow priests had courageously denounced PICOP for damaging the environment though the years. The forest have beeb denuded due to its logging operation. The sea, land and air had been polluted due to its mining operation and its use of hazardous chemicals. Fr. Falcon received some death threats and was even charged in court for libel and for damaging the reputation of the company. He won the case. He continues his crusade against the company.
In my homily during the 5:15 pm mass, I will focus on the environmental destruction through logging and mining as part of the culture of death. While it may have provided employment to some and enriched the company and some politicians, it has destroyed the environment and has become a threat to the health and life of the people now and the generations to come.

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