Sunday, January 11, 2015

Climate Ride Diary

Happy New Year. It's been over a week since I returned to Baclaran after finishing my Climate Ride. I posted in the Facebook that short day-to-day account and photographs of the two-week epic ride. I am posting here an expanded diary of the climate ride:

1. December 10, 2014. Baclaran to Atimonan (173 km)

At 5:30 am after the send-off prayer and blessing at the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, I set off alone on my Climate Ride.

I wasn’t feeling well because I wasn’t able to sleep the night before. Too much excitement? Or the increased dosage of my a pills. I was very thirsty even at the start. Possibly the effect of dehydration since I was always peeing that night.

At km 47, as I started my ascent from Calamba to Sto Tomas I felt the cramps in both my thighs and the forefeet. I had to slow down and take a lot of breaks. I was behind schedule. I was met by my friend Nova who biked with me for several kilometers.

When I reached Lucena, two bikers without their bikes met me – they told me they left their bikes for a while to meet and greet me and accompany me on their vehicle. They also gave me food and refreshment.

It was already dark as I took the diversion road to Atimonan instead of the Zigzag. The muscle cramp was gone thanks to the banajas. It was 7:45 pm when I arrived in Atimonan. I decided not to proceed to Gumaca where I am expected at the Cathedral rectory. I am staying in a cheap hotel. I am exhausted. I hope to recover tomorrow.

Day 2: December 11, 2014: Atimonan-Sipocot (170 k).

Left 4:30 am. Crashed at 5:00 a.m. minor bruises no broken bones. A very exhausting ride along Quirino highway. Lots of climbs and a flat tire. Arrived Sipocot 7 p.m. and slept overnight at St. Therese parish.

Day 3: Dec 12, 2014. Sipocot-Sorsogon City (190 km

Woke up at 3 a.m. fully recovered after a goodnight’s sleep. Started biking at 4:30 a.m. and reached the Archbishop’s residence at 7:15 where I had coffee. Archbishop Rolly Tirona was away and he just talked to me over the phone to welcome. I had conversation with the resident priests priests and Dr. Quimlat. resumed my journey at 8 am guided by Clarence Razo Llorin out of the city. The ride from Naga to Daraga was fast and easy on mostly flat highway except for some easy hill climbs to Guinobatan. There I was met by Cesar Banares and his friend who accompanied me for over 15 km. The ride from Daraga to Sorsogon was a bit tough but it was easier than Qurino highway. I reached Sorsogon at 6:15 p.m. without feeling exhausted. I proceeded to the cathedral rectory where I was given accommodation by Mgr Del.

Day 4: Dec 13, 2014. Sorsogon-Calbayog (140 km)

Continued my journey at 4:30 a.m. The first to accompany me was the municipal engineer of Juvan. Then 10 cyclists of Irosin joined. Among them was a kagawad of Irosin, a principal of a school, a lady teacher, a female nurse. Three Matnog cyclists. They accompanied me to Matnog port where I was able to board the 9 a.m. ferry. I was so glad it was raining when we docked in Allen. The rain kept me cool as I biked to Calbayog. It was tough ride up down 14 hills. I was met in San Joaquin by three cyclists from Calbayog. We finally reached the rectory of the cathedral at 5 pm. Had supper with the resident priests.

Day 5. December 14, 2014. Calbayog-Tacloban (175 km)

It was raining at 4:45 a.m. as I left Calbayog. It continued to rain intermittently four more times and I was happy as a frog inspite of the many hill climbs. I just love the wind and rain caressing my face and keeping me cool. I didn’t feel any exhaustion even without breakfast and lunch (as usual). Eight Calbayog cyclists met and accompanied me for a couple of hours. Along the way I saw some of the effects of Supertyphoon Ruby.

I finally reached San Juanico Bridge at 5 p.m. I reached the Redemptorist parish around 6 p.m. This is where the victims of Yolanda evacuated last year (they also came back last week to take shelter from Ruby).

I was welcomed by my Redemptorist confreres

6, Dec. 15: Tacloban. Rest and Recovery Day

I woke up late today and felt exhausted and drained. My muscles are sore, the bruise on both knees still swelling. I felt totally wasted. That’s what I get after biking 848 km in five days – a personal record. The last time I biked this route, it took me eight days to bike from Tacloban to Manila – and I was 14 years younger (that was my Davao to Pagudpud Bike for Peace in 2000).

So no fasting. Three meals today. I feel sluggish and sleepy. So I went back to bed after having my cycling shorts and jerseys laundered and cleaning my bike. I am now preparing my homily for tomorrow – the first day of the Misa de Gallo. I will be preaching about the Yolanda tragedy last year (in the Church which became a temporary evacuation center) and link it with climate change. After the Mass I will continue my journey. I don’t know if there will be any local cyclists who will send me off tomorrow. There was no one who met me yesterday. At least there will be one priest biker who will join me in Palo. My desire is as I continue my journey there will be more and more local cyclists or just ordinary citizens with any kind of bike – young and old, male and female – who will accompany me even for a few kilometers to express their support for the Climate Ride. After all climate change is everyone’s concern. This will be my remaining itinerary:

12/16 Tacloban-Liloan Leyte 144 km
ETD: 6 a.m. Redemptorist
12/17. Lipata Surigao-Prosperidad 182 km
ETA Butuan 11 am, ETA Prosperidad, 5 p.m.
12/18 Prosperidad-New Bataan 142 km
ETD 6 a.m. ETA 4-5 p.m.
12/19 New Bataan-Davao City 118 km
ETD 6 .am. ETA 1-2 p.m.
12/20 Davao-Maramag Redemptorist Mission Station 157 km
ETD Redemptorist 6 a.m. ETA 5:30 p.m.
12/21 Maramag-Malaybalay 48 km
12/22 Malaybalay-Cagayan de Oro 97 km ETD cathedral 6 a.m.-.ETA 12 noon
12/23 Cagayan de Oro cathedral-Iligan 92 km ETD 6 a.m. ETA 12 noon.
for monitoring, My CP#09081733611

Day 7 , Dec. 16: Tacloban-Liloan, Leyte (144 km)

I have just finished celebrating the Misa de Gallo. At 6 a.m. I will be resuming my journey to Liloan, Leyte where I will take the 10 p.m. ferry to Lipata, Surigao. From there I will proceed to Proseridad, Agusan. The sun is about to rise,.

Day 8, Dec. 17: Lipata Port, Surigao City-Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur (154 km)
I arrived here in Prosperidad Agusan Sur at 6:30 p.m. after biking 154 km from Lipata Surigao. Two bikers joined me in Surigao and six in Butuan. I only had two hours of sleep in the boat. I felt sleepy and tired by 8 a.m., so I stopped and slept for 20 minutes in a waiting shed. I felt refreshed and was able to continue with my journey. I had a spectacular view of Lake Mainit. It rained intermittently the whole day. (Can’t connect to FB, pls share)

Day 9, Dec. 18: Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur-New Bataan, Compostela Valley (150 km)
I concelebrated and shared about climate change at the Misa de Gallo at 4 a.m. I was set to go by 7:30 a.m. when I noticed that the rear tire was flat so I had it fixed. I was able to leave at 8:45 a.m. but after just 30 minutes I had another flat tire. So I was further delayed. It rained intermittently the whole day. I took 20-minute power naps twice in waiting sheds when I felt drowsy and tired. When I reached Montevista at 4:30 p.m. there were five Robobam bikers waiting for me. They told me they will accompany me as far as Compostela so that they can go back home before dark. I was expecting to bike alone in the dark but they decided to continue biking with me up to New Bataan. We reached the parish rectory at 7:30 p.m. after eating at a carenderia. I was welcomed by Fr Roy.

Day 10, Dec 19 Climate Ride (New Bataan-Davao City 141 k)

At 4 am I concelebrated and preached in New Bataan- one of the places devastated by supertyphoon Pablo two years ago. At 6:15 I continued my bike-journey. When I reached Montevista I was accompanied by Tatang but he was bumped by a motorbike after passing Nabunturan. I was accompanied later by military officers who went as far as Madaum, Tagum where another biker was waiting for me. I had a flat tire near Carmen so we were delayed. In Bunawan, several bikers were waiting for us and another group from the Redemptorist parish joined us in Panacan. We finally reached the Redemptorist compound st 3:40 pm where we received a warm welcome from the community and parishioners.


Day 11,  December 20, 2014: Davao-Buda (93 kms)

I resumed my journey at 6:15 am, after concelebrating and preaching in the Misa de Gallo at the Redemptorist Church. There were four who accompanied me – Dennis Jay Santos, Salome & her daughter Alicia May, & Boy Chavez. Later Dennis turned back but three more joined us. So six bikers were with me up to Lomondao – a mountain barangay 53 kms from Davao. Then I was all alone continually ascending the mountain-highway of Davao under the heat of the sun. It was a slow and exhausting ride. When I reached Buda at 5 pm I decided not to proceed to Maramag which was still 64 km away. So I went to the parish rectory and asked Fr. Mar Bilbao for overnight accommodation. This has been the shortest but most difficult stage so far.

Day 12, December 21, 2014: Buda-Malaybalay, Bukidnon (117 kms)

At 6:15 after the Misa de Gallo where I was the celebrant and preacher, I resumed my journey alone. The ride during the whole day was exhausting and scary. It was very hot & humid, so many climbs, and steep & long descents. At 12:15, I reached the Redemptorist Mission Station in Maramag. After two hours of resting I resumed my ride until I reached the Bishop’s residence at 6:40 where I was warmly welcomed by Bishop Joe Cabantan.

Day 13, December 22, 2014: Malaybalay-Cagayan de Oro (96 kms)

At 4 a.m., I accompanied Bishop Jose Cabantan to Sompong where I concelebrated with him and preached about climate change.

At 8 a.m., after receiving Bishop Joe’s blessing, I resumed my journey accompanied by 14 Malaybalay bikers. We were later joined by Fr. Titing Selicios who biked from Damilig parish to meet us and join us as far as Cagayan.

Two bikers took turns in carrying my pack and two others gave me a push during climbs, especially Mangima. In Dalirig, two Cagayan cyclists met us and three more joined us in San Miguel, Manolo Fortich.

In Puerto we were joined by Gilbert Dizon (a biker who has also toured around the Philippines). All the bikers had their own advocacy signs. We reached Cagayan de Oro by almost 2:40 and dropped by for refreshment in a place owned by one of the Cagayan bikers.

We finally reached the St. Augustine Cathedral at 3 p.m. where we were interviewed by ABS-CBN, GMA news, Inquirer and MindaNews. After taking snacks the bikers were on their way home. So while yesterday I was biking all alone the whole day, today I was journeying with a ‘community’ of bikers.

Day 14, December 23, 2014: Cagayan de Oro- Iligan (94 km)

Early this morning, I concelebrated the Misa de Gallo with Archbishop Tony Ledesma in Cugman parish church. I also preached about climate change. At 7 a.m. after receiving the Archbishop’s blessing, I set out on the final leg of my journey accompanied by Gilbert Dizon. We were later joined by Roni T. Tanz. As we approached Initao, bikers from Naawan and Iligan joined us. There were over 50 bikers who joined the Climate Ride.

We stopped for a while in the Naawan parish where we were welcomed by the parish priest Fr. Valmoria. After giving a talk on climate change we resumed our journey.

As we neared Iligan we proceeded to Hinaplanon where we held a brief memorial prayer service for the victims of Sendong. The bikers lit their candles and we ended the service by throwing the flowers to the river. Then we biked around the city and finally reached the Redemptorist church. So my Climate Ride has ended. I started as a solitary rider and ended with the biking community.

Dec 31, 2014 Climate Ride - Epilogue (Redemptorist Iligan to Deus Caritas Village Upper Tominobo 20 km roundtrip). My climate ride wouldn't be complete without ...a visit to the relocation site of the survivors of Typhoon Sendong. I couldn't do it immediately after Christmas due to Typhoon Seniang. So finally this morning I visited the Deus Caritas Village Phase II in upper Tominobo (a joint project of the diocese of Iligan, NASSA-Caritas & Daughters of Charity). I gave a donation to the community from the savings from my biking & fasting, and some amount I received during the climate ride. From 9-11:00 am, I gave a talk to the leaders of the Basic

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