Priest home after 56-day, 5,164 km bike ride “for life and peace”

Picardal came home with bruised knees, having “crashed twice” a day earlier, along the rocky road of Cateel in Davao Oriental, with no one to help him.

From Panabo to Davao City, he was accompanied by at least 50 bikers, a number of  them taking turns to help the injured Picardal move on.

Picardal, Dean of Academics of the St. Alphonsus Theologate at the Redemptorists in Davao City, has established a national record.

He dubbed his 56-day bike journey as “Philippine Bike-Tour for Life and Peace: Preaching the Gospel of Life amidst the Culture of Death.”

In 2000, he biked “for peace” across the country for 18 days from Davao to the northernmost part of Luzon  and for 21 days around Mindanao in 2006 “for life and peace.”

Picardal left Mindanao from Davao City on March 24, on to Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro where he boarded a boat for the Visayas. He returned to Mindanao via a boat ride from Southern Leyte to Surigao City on May 11 and took a day’s rest on May 12.

His trek to Davao City began on May 13 when he biked from Surigao to Butuan, to San Francisco in Agusan del Sur on May 14, to Mangagoy, Surigao del Sur on May 15, to Cateel in Davao Oriental on May 16, Cateel to Compostela to Nabunturan in Compostela Valley on May 17 and from Nabunturan to Davao City on May 18.

Amacio Tandog, 71, approached Father Picardal in Nabunturan early Sunday morning after mass to inform him he would accompany him to Davao if no one else was going to accompany him.

Picardal said that upon arriving in Mawab, several bikers waited for them there, prompting Tandog to say he would go with the priest until Tagum.

An 11-year old boy was among the bikers who welcomed Picardal from Tagum, 55 kilometers away from Davao City.

With Tandog’s return to Nabunturan from Tagum, Bonifacio Bacalso, 67, became the oldest biker with Picardal.

They stopped for lunch in Panabo with Picardal eating only energy bars. “The last,” he said, as he folded the wrapper and placed it in the now emptied zippered plastic bag. “Bikers from Tacloban gave me energy bars,” he said. “Wala na” (No more), he said.  (MindaNews)