Priest bikes to Malacanang Sunday to deliver letter to Pres. Arroyo

Managing to update his blog only thrice from Days 25 to 32 (April 17 to 24), the Dean of Academics of the Redemptorists' St. Alphonsus Theologate in Davao City biked for 17 hours on April 21, his "longest day" — on what would have been a two-day journey from Bontoc to Abatan and Abatan to Baguio — to catch up on a schedule delayed because of the "Abra-Kalinga harsh road conditions."

Picardal started his journey in Davao City on March 24, Easter Monday.

The 17-hour journey covered a distance of 147 kilometers "along the toughest and highest highway of the country."

"As I started my ascent towards the highest point of Halsema, the rains poured and the icy winds came. I put on my Northface rainjacket to keep myself dry and warm. After another four hours of biking, I reached Sayangan, at 7400 ft above sea level, the highest point of the Philippine highway system. Since it was 5:30 pm and the fog and rain darkened the surrounding, I was wondering if I should continue or just stay overnight in the nearby parish. I decided to go on since I still have 50 km to go and most of it would be downhill. With the fog, visibility was just 30 meters so I slowed down and put on my headlamp and my warning backlight. By 6:45 the rain had stopped and it was getting dark. I continued to bike in the dark with the moon and my headlamp showing me the way. There were still some climbing to do 27 kilometers before Baguio. What bothered me were the dogs that barked and ran after me so many times as I passed various barrios and towns. I had to increase my pace and shout at them every time they came after me. I reached Baguio at 10:00 pm, 17 hours after I left Bontoc. I had covered 147 km along the toughest and highest highway of the country," Picardal wrote.

Picardal started his journey in Davao City on March 24, Easter Monday.

He is expected to arrive in Baclaran Church in Manila from Balanga today and will "bike around Manila" before delivering his letter to President Arroyo on Sunday, April 27.

Picardal has been carrying that letter since Day One of his journey, but he does not expect the President to see him.

"I don't expect the president to see me. But I will read the letter to the public outside the gate of Malacanang. In the letter I will express my disappointment and indignation that after over seven years of governing, the culture of death and corruption persist and that she stands accused of perpetuating these evils," he said.

"Delivering a letter to Malacanang is just a side-trip and I don't expect the President to meet me or to read the letter – it is just symbolic. I will make the contents of the letter public – in it I will denounce the President for perpetuating the culture of death and corruption and for being a hypocrite (she goes to mass everyday and claims that it is God's will that she is president). Although I want her to resign, I will not be demanding her resignation because I know that it will be futile – she will continue to cling to power at all cost. I will just tell her that she will face the judgment of history and of God. Her worst punishment will be to live the rest of her life in shame and disgrace – knowing that the majority of the people have condemned her as a corrupt, greedy and power hungry president – no better than Marcos and Estrada. But I don't want to focus all my energy in just denouncing the president," Picardal said in his blog (www.amadopicardal.blogspot.com).

Picardal's blogsite contains his journal and photographs of the journey. (MindaNews)

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