From Baclaran to Iligan Fr. Picardal: “I started as a solitary rider and ended with the biking community”  

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 December) – Fr. Amado Picardal finally arrived in Iligan City on December 23, two weeks after he left Baclaran Church, along Roxas Boulevard in Paranaque City, Metro Manila, for a solitary “Climate Ride” that brought him to the typhoon-devastated areas across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“I started as a solitary rider (in Baclaran on December 10) and ended with the biking community (in Iligan on December 23),” he wrote in his journal, on Day 14, hours after arriving in Iligan City, his hometown.

Presently based in Manila as Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Picardal stayed overnight in parishes along the way and starting December 16, concelebrated the “Misa de Gallo” and preached 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 the last 14 years, Picardal, had been biking or walking across the country to push for his advocacies. He celebrated his 60th birthday in October.

He biked “for peace” across the country for 18 days in 2000, meeting truckloads of soldiers on their way to the Estrada administration’s “all-out war” in Mindanao; “for life and peace” around Mindanao for 21 days in 2006; “for life and peace” from Davao to Appari and back or 5,000 kilometers for 56 days in 2008; walked “for life and peace” from Davao to Appari in the summer of 2011 and in this stormy month of December, go on a 1,800 kilometer 14-day “Climate Ride” from Manila to Bicol, Samar, Leyte, Compostela Valley, Davao, Bukidnon, Cagayan and Iligan,

His journal entry from Days 11 to 14 of “Climate Ride.”

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 Alice 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. (MindaNews)