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Friday, May 6, 2011

A walk around Camiguin Island

             As early as Monday, hikers began their Panaad ( an annual activity during the Holy Week wherein many visitors coming from various parts of the country and residents  hike around the Island ).  We arrived at Benoni Port,  on Monday,  April 18.  My husband and I, along with our son JN and granddaughter Leighanne,  friends Epot, Bobby, Salvador VII, and cousin Vanvan,  stayed at our old house  which is now occupied by my sister Inday Neneng.
               I bought a half sack of rice and other commodities as we were staying for  five  days.  About 40 to 50 percent of the residents of Benoni are our relatives and distant relatives, so I had to greet those people as much as I could.
            We went to Ardent Hot Spring and bath through all varying  temperature of water , the hottest being 39 degrees centigrade. There is a pool for lukewarm and also for cool water. One can swim whole day, not catching cold as one can  bath in lukewarm water.
         On Thursday, my six male companions started their walk at 4 a.m..They brought extra shirts, towels , slipper. and some money.  the island has sixty -four kilometers as route.   Each station of the Way of the Cross has a distance of five kilometers from each other. the first station is in a barrio called Alimango. And according to them, foods and water are offered free along the route   .These foods are given free by the local groups like NGOs. fraternities, and local officials.  Blisters in feet,  aching legs and soles of feet are  affecting them. My companions took their rest for not less than three minutes then started again. Resting for longer than three minutes is not advisable as moving the legs is hard. My husband said that they would just look at the lines of the road as their focus and guide  to be able  to move a distance.
           Some hikers walked at night time without sleeping and rested during the day to avoid the heat of the sun , which according to them , made them easily tired.  Some folks, upon seeing them suffering would encourage them to continue moving  until the fourteenth station which is at the Benoni Lagoon.  Hikers can feel the sea breezes as most of the roads are alongside the seashore. There are also mountainous roads which made it hard for hiking. Epot and Bobby did not finish the long walk. They rode on a jeep back home  from a place near  the town of Catarman.  Only four continued walking and reached home  between 8 and 9 a.m. on Holy Friday.
          They  narrated  their ordeal but found it inspiring and fulfilling that they had done their Panaad ( in Visayan, the word means Promise ). My husband , a 64 year old man said that he would do it again in the future if given another opportunity.  I did not join them because of my health status and my four year old granddaughter.   They said that hiking is both fun, sacrifice, hardship , and made them  realize how Jesus suffered , walking a long distance while carrying the cross. One hiker told them that he had been joining the annual activity for 13  years.  Other hikers joined the activities as a promise  to God for the blessings they had received
             There were hundreds of hikers joining, some in groups  or individuals  and since the island roads are not all lighted, they made use of their flashlights, headlights , and candles to guide them along the way.  The island is totally peaceful and no bystanders harmed them.  They were all encouraging them to continue walking, one step at a time. Some hikers stayed and rested at the churches.
               The whole activity was a big success and many hikers would be coming back.

                                       Ardent Hot Spring

                                                      Benoni Port

                                         Camiguin Island, Philippines

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