Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 17: (April 17) Run/Walk Across the Philippines

My longest day so far - 60 km from Tacloban to Calbiga. I started very early - 3:30 am. Along the way I met some people bringing palms and coconut leaves on their way to church- this reminded me that today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holy Week.

The sun was already out when I ran across the San Juanico bridge that connects Leyte and Samar. I was thrilled as I slowly ran the 2 km winding bridge. At the middle of the bridge was a sign: Welcome to Samar.

As I traversed along the highway I noticed the poverty of the people. Obviously, the mining and logging in Samar has not benefited the people of Samar. Samar, like many provinces in Mindanao amd Palawan, is very rich in natural resources but it is one of the poorest provinces.

Samar has also been the scene of armed clashes between the government and the NPA. The poor have been caught in the crossfire. The NDF/NPA armed struggle & the AFP counter-insurgency campaign have not improved the lot of the people.

20 km before Calbiga I met 6 bikers from Sorsogon on their way to Davao. I knew two of the (Ed & Brian) since the accompanied me part of the way when I biked around the country in 2008. We chat for while and they asked for my blessing we parted.

The last 16 km to Calbiga was mostly downhill which I ran continously. It was already dark and I continued running with my headlamp showing me the way. I arrived in the Calbiga parish rectory and was welcomed Fr. Joaquin the parish priest.

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