FROM BACLARAN TO ILIGAN Biking priest arrives in Davao City, next stop: Bukidnon

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 December) — Cheers, applause and confetti greeted Fr. Amado Picardal as he appeared on the driveway of Redemptorist parish convent at 3:42 p.m. Friday, on the tenth day of his Baclaran to Iligan “Climate Ride,” finishing 1,469 kilometers thus far.

19climateride03Church workers welcome Fr. Amado “Picx” Picardal (middle) as he arrives at the Redemptorist Church in Davao City on Friday (19 Dec 2014). Picardal is on a 14-day journey covering 1,800 kilometers from Baclaran to Iligan City for his “Climate Ride.” MindaNews photo by Keith Bacongco

The 60-year old Picardal, presently based in Manila and the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, embarked on this 1,800-kilometer ride on December 10 and is expected to be in Iligan City, his home, by December 23.

He left New Bataan early Friday morning after celebrating the Misa de Gallo.

Picardal, who hails from Iligan City, is biking from Baclaran to Iligan, passing across areas hit by destructive typhoons since 2011, “in memory of the victims of Typhoon Sendong (December 16-17, 2011), supertyphoons Pablo (December 4, 2004), Yolanda (November 8, 2013) and Ruby” which made landfall in Dolores, Eastern Samar at 9:15 p.m. Saturday, December 6.

Picardal stays overnight in parishes and concelebrates the misa de gallo and preaches to “call attention to the climate change and the disasters that result from it” such as extreme weather events like super-typhoons, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, water and food crisis,” and to promote biking “not only for exercise but also as a regular means of transportation and commute within our cities.

In Tagum City, photojournalist Manman Dejeto, who advocates biking to minimize pollution and runs barefoot as well, accompanied him on the trip to Davao City. Dejeto, also of Iligan City but whose family is spending the holidays here, biked all the way to Tagum City, 55 kilometers away, to meet Picardal.

Seven other bikers joined them in Davao City’s Bunawan district while about a dozen others including two children and a mother-and-daughter team – Salome and Alicia Mae Zamora from the Terrain Challenge 611 Club – met him at the junction of Sasa and Panacan, en route to Bajada, where the Redemptorist Church is.

Bikers join Fr. Amado “Picx” Picardal (middle) for a photo opportunity as he arrvied in Panacan, Davao City on Friday. Picardal is on a 14-day journey covering 1,800 kilometers from Baclaran to Iligan City for his “Climate Ride.” Mindanews Photo by Keith BBikers join Fr. Amado “Picx” Picardal (middle) for a photo opportunity as he arrives in Panacan, Davao City on Friday (19 Dec 2014). Picardal is on a 14-day journey covering 1,800 kilometers from Baclaran to Iligan City for his “Climate Ride.” MindaNews photo by Keith Bacongco

Picardal left early Saturday morning for Maramag in Bukidnon.

Fr. Picardal’s journal from Days 6 to 10:

Day 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: New Bataan, Compostela to Davao City (118 km)

At 4 a.m., I concelebrated and preached in New Bataan- one of the places devastated by supertyphoon Pablo two years ago. At 6:15 a.m. 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 at 3:40 p.m. where we received a warm welcome from the community and parishioners.