Saturday, May 17, 2008

Day 55: Cateel - Nabunturan

At 5:30 in the morning, I was on the road again crossing the Cateel mountains. This used to be a forest that has been denuded by the logging companies which have paid off the local government officials, the DENR checkpoints and even the NPA.

There has been a lot of fighting in this area over the last few weeks. Some tribal peoples have already evacuated to Compostela valley. After 20 km of biking, I met heavily armed men in uniform along the way. I wasn't sure whether they were army men or NPA guerrillas. After a while, two helicopters were hovering in the sky.

When I reached Barangay Maglahos, I look at my cyclocomputer and saw that I had already reached the 5000 km point. I celebrated this moment by eating a piece of bread and drinking gatorade.

After 30 km, the road became more and more rough. I did a lot of steep ascents and descents over loose sharp rocks which reminded me of the Abra-Kalinga road. It was around noontime when I crashed. As I fell to the ground, my head hit a rock and I was lucky my helmet protected my head. My left knee was badly bruised. I felt a pain in my shoulder. I checked my clavicles and was glad nothing was broken. I had another crash ninety minutes letter and this time my right knee was bruised. I decided to walk down everytime I made a steep descent.

I reached Compostela Valley at 4:45 pm and bought some fried bananas and pineapple juice. I continued biking until I reached Nabunturan at 6:10 pm after biking for 97 km, I was welcomed by the parish priest -Fr. Medel - and his assistant - Fr. Edwin. I took a shower and then dressed my wounds before dinner. My left knee is still very painful. I hope I will be well enough to bike the last leg of my journey tomorrow.

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