At 4:30 am, I was on the road for the last leg of my journey - 46 km to Iligan. I had to use my head lamp so that I can see clearly what's in front of me. I felt dizzy, weak and tired. I had to walk slowly, keeping my balance, I felt like I was being tossed in a stormy sea. I took a lot of breaks. Then I saw a roadside eatery which was open and ordered breakfast - the first time I had breakfast during this journey. So no more fasting. The heavy breakfast did not improve my condition. I still felt weak. I began to suspect that my heart could not cope anymore with the stress of long-distance trek (I was diagnosed with having atheroscerosis and myocardial ischemia 3 years ago). I was all alone and no one could help me. I was worried that I might not be able to finish the journey and will have to take the bus.
I continued walking very slowly and praying for divine help. The line of the song crossed my mind: "You'll never walk alone." Yes, for 9 days, I have ran/hiked alone across Mindanao, but I was never alone for the Lord was with me. The Lord is my strength, that's why I did not feel any muscle pain or fatigue the last few days. I kept repeating this: "every minute, every hour I am getting stronger and stronger."
As I was approaching the downhill section towards Naawan, I felt getting stronger and began to run. So I mixed running and walking, while meditating on the mysteries of the rosary. I made a longer break at noontime but I didn't feel the need to eat.
It was very hot between 1-3 pm, so I walked under my umbrella. Along the way, a vehicle stopped and a woman and her daughter came out. The woman gave me cold drinks and biscuits while the daughter took my hand and ask for my blessing. They then sped away while I wondered how they knew I am a priest.
I was so elated as I reached the boundary of Iligan. I resumed my run/walk interval and was running strong as I neared the Redemptorist church. Michael, a 40-yr old runner saw me and was amazed that I was able to do it. I met him more than a year ago and had told him that I had problem running long distance due to a recurring knee injury. I reached the Redemptorist church at 6:15 pm, and there was a brown-out. I had dinner with my Redemptorist confreres by the candle-light to celebrate Easter and the completion of my journey.
I am proud of what I have accomplished. At the age of 55 I ran/hiked alone over 390 km in 9 days carrying a backpack weighing 16 lbs, starting in Davao City across the mountains of Davao and Bukidnon and ending in Iligan City bringing the message of peace and care for the environment.
What's next? I am ready for my running/hiking pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain which is double the distance that I have just coveredm