I was very apprehensive as I left Gattaran early this morning. Storm signal no. 1 had been raised over the area. The rain and wind became stronger as I walked along. I kept on singing loudly the song that I learned as a young seminarian:
"When you walk through the storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark... Walk on through the rain, walk on through the wind... Walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone..."
I found this song very meaningful today. It was no longer just symbolic, it was real.
You'll never walk alone. Yes, even though I walked alone, I was not really alone - the Lord was with me. This is why I remained calm and unafraid as I continued my trek towards Aparri.
There were times when the wind and rain became so strong that I took shelter. The weather improved in the afternoon. I did some intermittent running. I finally reached Aparri at 5 pm having covered 37 km for the day and 2,060 km for 57 days. Typhoon Chedeng couldn't stop me from reaching my destination.
I reached Aparri quietly like a true solitary pilgrim, without any welcoming group or streamer, without any media coverage. There was no official finish line or medal that awaited me.
Fr. Adalbert, the parish priest welcomed me. He was expecting me to arrive tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I'll spend the whole day resting and reflecting on this whole experience.
I am just so glad to complete my journey. True joy comes not only in reaching my destination today but undertaking the whole journey for the last 57 days. After all what matters most is the journey and not just the destination. I could reach Aparri much quicker by taking the bus or plane but I wouldn't have the same satisfaction and joy of doing it on foot alone for almost two months across the country. I will always treasure what I experienced and the effect within me.