Monday, October 24, 2011

Biking from Baclaran to Baguio - Dakateo Annual Conference

The Annual Conference of Dakateo (Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines) was held in Baguio from Friday to Sunday (October 21-23). Instead of taking the bus, I decided to bike to Baguio - that's over 260 km from Baclaran. I was planning to leave at one in the morning of Thursday hoping to reach Baguio before nightfall. But it was already almost three when I departed. I was biking at an easy, slow pace with a heavy backpack. I got a flat tire at 3 pm while in Villasis, Pangasinan. It took some time to change the interior and then had the punctured tube-tire vulcanized. By 4 pm there was a heavy downpour, but I continued biking until I reached Binalonan - 206 km from Baclaran. It was already 5 pm and I still had over 60 km of biking - mostly uphill. I felt it would be foolhardy to proceed in the dark and rain after biking over 200 km. I decided to just stay overnight in the parish of Binalonan. I knew the priests - Fr. Catungal and Fr. Cirilo - since this is where I stayed overnight during my run-walk across the Philippines. So, they put me up for the night after a heavy meal.

I continued biking very early in the morning and after 6 hours of exhausting ascent, I finally reached the Little Flower Retreat House in Baguio where the conference was held.
The theme of the conference for this year is: "Art and Theology at the Crossroad." Last year I was just a guest who presented a paper on "BECs and Environmental Praxis" in the annual conference held in Davao. This time, I was formally accepted as a member of the Dakateo - the Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines. This is an exclusive society of Catholic theologians in the Philippines - mostly professors in various theological schools in the country with doctorates in theology from Louvain, Fordham (USA), Gregorian (Rome) and also from the Philippines.
I came back to Baclaran yesterday afternoon, this time taking the bus. There was enough space for the bike in the baggage compartment.

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