The moon lit up the road at 3:15 this morning as I prayerfully plod along. It was very quiet except for occasional barking from dogs and the trucks speeding in the highway.
I felt fresh and strong that I increased my pace reaching Calbayog 2 hrs ahead of schedule. I passed by the monastery of St. Clare which I visited in 1996 when my dear friend, Sr. Angeline, was still assigned here. She's now in a monastery in Belgium so I just continued on. I dropped by the bishop's house to greet him but he was away. So I just went to a drug store to buy some vitamin c & e and then proceeded northward. By then it got so hot that I used my umbrella. I slowed down and took frequent breaks as I felt hotspots & possible blisters.
I took a break in a shed in front of an army detachment and conversed with some young soldiers who addressed me as Tatay (Tagalog term for father). Well, I'll have accept that I am of the same age as their fathers. This was an opportunity for me to explain my pro-life & peace advocacy.
Trekking along the sea coast was very exhilirating in spite of the increasing pain in my feet. I had to change into my sandals. The Adidas Adizero Mana running shoes was good only for 35 km, beyond that it became uncomfortable. New blisters were forming near my heels.
I reached the mission station in San Joaquin at 4:30 pm after covering 55 km. Fr. Tony Mahinay welcomed me and I concelebrated with him at the 6 pm mass. After mass we went to a birthday party where I had a very sumptuous meal - my only meal of the day. I met the lady barangay captain who later gave me some pabaon (P500).
This has been a very tough week with several long days - 60 km on Sunday, 47 km on Monday and 55 km today. I can only blame the inaccurate distance calculator which I consulted in the Internet. At least by this time my body is able to cope with the longer distances. But I have to be careful lest I breakdown. I am taking mega-dosage of vitamin C & E. Above all I have to make sure to take it easy and slowly. Yet I know that pain will be a constant companion. So far it is only the blisters that are bothering me.
So far I have covered the total distance of 782 km in 20 days (with 2 rest days). It's almost the same distance as the Camino de Santiago from France across Spain, which I did in 27 days (mostly barefoot, and without any blisters). But the Camino was a different experience. There was something miraculous about it and there were other pilgrims that I met and befriended along the way. The solitude of this present journey is similar to my trek from Rome to Assisi in 1994. I also had problem with blisters.