the road LEAST travelled

(date: 10.19.2009)

Sometimes, certain of GOD’s blessings arrive by shattering all the windows…(BRIDA-paulo coehlo)

This day serves as the 13th anniversary of Camp John Hay Development Corporation and with the harsh conditions of the “typhoon Pepeng” victims in Baguio and Benguet, the management and its staff concurred on spending this commemorative day on an outreach activity in Bokod,Benguet.

Prior to our trip to Tublay, the local government unit already informed us that Coros and Labey receive the least attention from the government and organizations. With this in mind, we decided to penetrate these areas knowing that they must be in dire need of our help.

I never imagined how Mother Nature spells its wrath to humankind…it is something that my range of vocabulary cannot articulate…

We chose LABEY,Bokod, Benguet as one of our recipients for CJH DEVCO’s “Typhoon Pepeng” relief operations for the reason that it was the remotest area in Tublay and we were the third organization yet that dared to permeate the area…without retreating seeing the odds we all possibly can encounter.

I was there…sixteen of our staffs were there…

We went there with the least anticipation of how wrecked the place is.

The townsmen, who served as our guide, told us that it would take us a maximum of one and a half hour of hike in order to reach the evacuation area.

Each of our male staff carried a sack of relief goods that can serve three families…some of them brought a carton of medicine or bottled water.

We started hiking at around 12 noon without having our lunch; this was simply because we could not wait for the meal to be cooked that would entail more time to be wasted.

The team patiently trekked the almost bald mountain under the scorching heat

of the sun and rocky terrain. The nature’s fury was apparent thru every road cuts that separated the sitio from the road…deep ravines welcomed our unsuspecting team that made it quite harder for us to cross every road cut.

Amidst the uncertainty and possible danger that this course will bring us, we were all affirmative of the eventual consequence of bringing help to the secluded victims of the typhoon Pepeng.

In between the slog were short rests with encouragement from each other that these sacrifices will bear meaning after we reach the isolated sitio of Labey.

It could have been a day of rest and retreat for everyone since it was supposed to be the anniversary but they were out in an unfamiliar place sharing what they have with all the immeasurable efforts that the team demonstrated under a distressed situation.

It would be an overstatement to mention that almost every kilometer of the 10-12 kilometer we traversed relates a surviving story among the staff…but it was what this story is all about.

Seeing supervisors, engineers, and CJH DEVCO staff carrying a heavy load of relief heavies my sight but the exuberance of being able to get somewhere we do not have a clue about make each step less easier.

The searing heat of the sun and the unending curve of changing rocky and muddy detrimental path caused us more than physical twinge but also the 16-manned team thru our own commune vicariously experienced desperation for a situation that happened to the townsmen…that with the disaster stricken environment.

Our men excruciatingly passed each ravine that only the size of a foot fits…

After reaching the site, we just endorsed the relief goods and left after just few minutes of conversation with the townsmen since the heavens do not seem to agree with our intention of taking some rest.

The school in Labey was totally damaged. The whole area is a panorama of the after effect of a daunted community…Seeing the people being relieved made it a worthwhile experience…hearing them say that we were the only team that dared to reach them was more than gratitude can say.

We took the same path going to the supposed “short cut”…, which literally meant surpassing the mountain that will eventually connect us to the lights of civilization…

We were barely dragging ourselves to reach a flat area where we could stretch out our feet and be in an eternal emancipation..even for just few moments…

On our way back..erm..taking the supposed “shortcut”, we didn’t have choice but to munch on guavas that were the solely available “meal” for the wandering beings…

The heavens got darker…rains start plummeting…the wind’s breath got unbearably colder…and our path got more impossible to recognize...

I almost gave up after seeing the entire muddy almost minuscule path we had to pass to reach the place where we left the two pick-ups. We all got mud all over…our shoes all literally soaked in dark brown sticky soil.

The three of us (Dona, Evita and I) were lucky enough to have been with the guys who never left our side and patiently took care of us even if they were also in the verge of mishap…

All those times that we weren’t sure of what might happen, we were just uttering silent prayers…whatever each of us mumbled…surely…GOD did listen..=)

A prayer, when couched in the words of the soul, is far more powerful than any ritual…(BRIDA-paulo coehlo)

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