Thursday, May 19, 2011
Day 49: Run/Walk Philippines (Cordilleras)
I thought I was in Rome in the middle of winter when I woke up at 3 this morning. It was just so cold. I wore 3 layers of clothing - with my jacket over my sweater when I left the rectory at five. But as the sun came out I peeled off the jacket.
Before six I arrived in Catlubong - the highest point of the Halsema highway and the Philippines (7400 ft). As I gazed at the view, I was overwhelmed by the beauty that I saw - my eyes swelled with tears. I praised the Creator and started to sing: "Sing to the mountains..." and "Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust, yet the Love of the Lord..."
I just love mountains. They make me more aware of the Divine presence. That's why I climbed Mt. Apo seven times and live occasionally as a hermit in the mountain of Busay. I get my runner's high in the mountains. This also why I go through the Cordilleras on my way to Aparri.
Along the way, an elderly woman on her way to her flower & vegetable garden walked with me for a while and gave me some bread. As we conversed she told me that this journey would lead me closer to God. She was right.
Later another elderly woman also walked with for a few minutes. She told me that she had been waiting for me because she heard from a neighbor that I would be passing through. She is active in her the parish and in the Basic Ecclesial Communities and she just wanted to welcome me.
Today, I did less running and more slow walking. I noticed slight pain in both knees especially on steep ascents. With 9 more days left I have to be very careful that I don't incur injury. I will have to resist the temptation to do more running in the mountains. What matters most is to reach Aparri on foot - with more walking and less running if necessary.
I reached Abatan at 3 pm after covering 35 km. Fr. Mario Tambic, the parish priest, welcomed me to the rectory.
Total distance covered: 1762 km