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I Survived Lunkan Range

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Survived Lunkan Range

DLUMAY, Sarangani — We were trekking the Lunkan Range for nearly six hours. Exhausted and thirsty, I was desperate to reach Sitio Dlumay at the soonest possible time. There was hardly an opportunity to crack a joke regarding what we were going through. But while I was bravely walking down a ravine, I noticed a woman, in her early fifties, sitting down along the road, laughing while hitting the ground with her hand.
“What’s so funny?” I thought to myself. Well, if you are also curious why, allow me to take you back to Day 1.

My fellow writer Len phoned me on August 5, asking if I am interested to cover a fact-finding mission in Sarangani. Upon seeing the itinerary of the fact-finding mission, however, I was somehow reluctant to join as it includes an 8-hour trek to reach the community that we would visit. I thought that I might not be physically fit to endure it. Until now, actually, I don’t know why I agreed to go.

I arrived at General Santos City on August 9, along with four other participants. I got to hear more dreadful stories about the 8-hour trek during the orientation. It made me even more anxious. If there was anything that consoled me, it was the fact that I would not go through it alone. The following morning, in a “weapon” (or big truck), our journey to Dlumay began.

One of the three weapons passing through the Suyan River(Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
Along the national highway, we took the trip in stride. We woo-ed and wee-ed every time the weapon would bank in one direction to another. But Maricel Salem, head teacher of Blaan Learning Community Center, or as I fondly call Teacher Lisa, told us that we should brace ourselves as we would be “crossing” the Suyan River in a while.
A few minutes later, I understood why. We did not cross the river. We passed through the Suyan River.
It was far from anything that I had expected. The weapon tilted sideways as it passed on big boulders. It was almost hard to decide who screamed the loudest: the participants or the weapon’s engine. In fact, a few minutes later, I was too scared to photograph our trip, entertaining thoughts that the weapon might tumble down the river or fall sideways.

I am very sure that Sarangani’s “river highway” is a first of its kind. Even other participants, including Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino, who had visited other far-flung communities said this is also the first time he has experienced such. Yet, it is not something that the Sarangani province should be proud of.

I could hardly remember how the weapon reached the village proper of Upper Suyan. All I can recall is how thankful I was that we were all safe. Inside a classroom of Milliona Elementary School, I fell asleep while convincing myself that I would survive the trek the following morning..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/08/19/i-survived-lunkan-range/


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