(A true story 7:00 PM, June 25, 2017, Kalinga road, 10 km away from Bontoc Mountain Province)
We have to hurry! It’s already 3 pm, and the rain is about to fall. We need to make it fast so we can avoid landslides.
“Copy that” that’s my response after Tito Ayi, our organizer sent the message on the radio. He is already waiting for us at the Buscalan jump off. He went ahead of us to check on our driver and get some news about a possible landslide.
After waiting in line to get a signature tattoo from Apo Wang-od, at last, we’re done. It’s raining, and the mountains are now covered with fog, but the trail is still visible. Everyone has their own schedules and would need to be in Manila next day (June 26, 2017).
We are trying to speed up our pacing because rocks are slowly falling down from the mountain and it would be worst if it happens along the way and would block the road.
At the jump off, the locals said that few blocks away, there’s a landslide, but it is still passable, so we’ve decided to push through.
It’s like a waterfall along the road, the difference is, the water is mixed with rocks and mud. We stepped out of the van to lessen the load.
We tried pushing it as our driver stepped on the accelerator, but the wheel got stuck. The villagers and a group of riders came to the rescue and helped us clear the rocks and pushed the van.
the van to move ahead. We passed a couple of landslides and mudslides by pushing the van if necessary.
We continued our trip and shout hoorays when our phone gets a signal. We played party music and started singing inside the van, but suddenly, the vehicles went ahead of us stopped. Something is wrong I said to myself.
Tito Ayi stepped out of the van to check what happened. Landslide he said. We also stepped out to see for ourselves. Around 8-ft high of soil with rocks from the mountain covered the only road going to Bontoc Mountain Province. Vehicles following us also stopped.
Ayi was fast. He started talking to locals if they can offer homestay. Asked if there’s a store nearby because going back to Buscalan is not an option after going through a couple of landslides.
All of the Travellers ended up in a fire station nearby, and luckily there is a store nearby, the bad news is, they don’t have enough stocks.
Food shortage, fighting over the supplies left, panic buying would be a possible result. Knowing that this might happen, all the organizers gathered to talk about it. The leaders per group tried to suggest how everyone will benefit on what’s left at the store.
- 15 person from Ayi’s group
- 23 person from Sir Atog’s group
- 15 person from Christian’s group
- 15 person from Sir Benson’s group
There were less than 15 noodles, around 15 chicken eggs, around 10 cans of combined corn beef and sardines and we need to feed 68 heads.
After brainstorming and hearing each other’s suggestion, we came up with the idea to divide the ration equally. It’s not something that you will witness every day, but that night, it seems that everyone showed the real attributes of a traveller.
We weren’t full, but we had enough for our stomach to digest something during this cold night.
You will see disappoint faces when they see the food on the table, but you’ll see some smile after they eat.
Right after dinner, the leaders gathered to talk about the place where they can sleep. The firemen stationed in that area offered their place.
It is indeed true that you don’t need super powers to become a superhero. The store owner also provided a small place for the motorcycle riders. They will spend their night inside the store.
Everyone spent their night with ease, not totally comfortable, but I would say manageable.
I would definitely say that we were able to survive that cold night because of the bright fire composed by compassion, sharing, and kindness that burns inside everyone’s heart.
“The roadblock was removed around 8 am in the morning, and everyone set their course to their own destinations.”