I arrived here in Iligan two days ago for my post-Christmas vacation. Yesterday, the last day of 2009, I spent 6 hours running up and down the Dalamas mountain. The last time I ran up to this remote mountain village was 25 years ago during our missionary work in the area. The scenery was simply breath-taking. The trees along the rough road provided shade from the heat of the sun and it became cooler as I made the steep ascents. I didn't feel exhausted even if I was running on an empty stomach. I find solitary long-distance runs like this more enjoyable than running marathons with so many other runners around me.
In the evening, I had dinner with my sisters (Nonie, Myrna, Mely, Cely) and their families. Our Uncle Talino and his wife and children also came. The lechon was not roasted in time so we had a late dinner. I called the monastery and informed Fr. Ramon that I won't be concelebrating at the New Year's vigil mass which was scheduled at 8:00 pm. The rain dampened the New Year's celebration -there were less fireworks and less people out in the street to welcome the New Year.
I woke up at 5:20 this morning and meditated for half an hour. I then celebrated the 6:00 am New Year's mass. I had breakfast with Bishop Manny Cabajar and the members of the Iligan Redemptorist Community (Fr. Ramon, Bro. Karl and Bro. Dodong).
I didn't do any running today. I just went out for a 45 minute brisk walk around the city and visited the tomb of my father, mother and sister.
I look at the year that is past with gratitude. And I look at the year that has just began with much hope and expectation.
What does 2010 has in store for me? What are my goals for this year?
The first three to four months will be a busy period for me.
This month I will be conducting a workshop-seminar on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) to parish teams coming from 20 parishes of the Archdiocese of Palo. Then I will attend the meeting of the staff and consultants of CBCP-BEC national office to prepare the report for the bishops' plenary assembly. I still have to finish teaching the courses of Ministry & Orders, Pastoral Leaderhip & Management, and Theological Synthesis. Then my sabbatical starts after the end of the 2nd semester in March.
So what are my goals for the rest of 2010?
1. Make final revision and publish my ecclesiology book (A Vision of A Renewed Church).
2. Solo Run-Walk from Iligan to Davao (390 km, March 20-28)
3. Live as a hermit in Busay (April- mid May, August-?)
4. Do the Alphonsian Spirituality Course in Italy (June) and attend the closing ceremony of the Year of the Priest in Rome.
5. Running-walking pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (800 km from South of France across northern Spain) June-July
What I will do after the Camino de Santiago I will finalize after my pilgrimage. There are two possibilities:
a) spend the last 3 months of my sabbatical as a hermit in Busay mountain
b) continue my running-walking pilgrimage across the Philippines (Davao-Aparri via the Cordilleras).
I prefer plan B, but if I feel that I have enough for the year and need to recover after the Camino then I will postpone it to 2011.
If I follow plan A, then I will just run a faster marathon by the end of the year (hopefull break 4 hours, or even 3:30).
I am already very excited just thinking about the year ahead of me.