June survived; and Lord Bobo gets to the highest peak of the Philippines!
Just a quick note to let readers know that yes, I did survive and did not collapse in an exhausted heap somewhere in the Cordillera mountains. Alas, this cannot be attributed to my physical prowess, but rather the astute skills of the organisers who made sure everyone (especially me) participated to their best of their abilities, and was not pushed beyond their limits.
I would like to thank Maria and J.P. from the Cordillera Conservation Trust for inviting me take part in this life-changing event, and Andre, a super-cool guy who kept encouraging me to get back on that darn bike.
And most of all, MY GIRLS — my inspiration, my homies, the women that rocked my world: Adamey Domogo, Jaja Reyes, JC Pineda, Anna Liza Panida Maraan, Valerie de Guzmn, Raech David — a huge THANK YOU and HUGS. They made me feel like part of the team even though I struggled to keep up with the rest of them. I, in turn, am amazed that for 24 hours, I was part of a team that included serious triathletes.
I return home, humbled and inspired.
The last couple of days was spent with my new friends, where we spent an evening seriously wearing furry animal beanies on top of our heads. Yet another highlight of the trip was a spontaneous mountain hike with dear new friend, Valerie, to the Santa Thomas pilgrimage site where we slept under the pine trees in a secluded spot.
My inner dharma bum was indulged.
However, all good things must come to an end, and this morning, I jumped onto a bus for a five-hour long journey to Clark airport. My bus insurance covered for unprovoked murder & assault, sabotage & terrorism, and so needless to say, I was very comforted. Especially after we sped by anti-kidnapping and murder stop-points.
And yes, the slasher/horror movies that kept playing on the bus helped ease my mood. Where be my imam and his police escorts?
I survived! Yes, I did. I survived the 24-hour mountain bike ride, and travelling to the Philippines on my own (my mother is quite convinced that I could never do so and live to tell the tale, despite working in the jungles for years and having travelled solo around the world).
I am currently typing this entry at the Kota Kinabalu airport, where I am waiting to catch my flight to Kuching. The next (and final) post for this series will recap the actual 24-hour ride. Till then.
PS: I love you LoyarBurok donors! I bring you good tidings from the Philippines, and also peanut brittle. Also, did you spot Lord Bobo on the highest peak of the Philippines? He does go to great heights!
June is a Malaysian conservationist from Sarawak, where she was born and raised. She is of Krokong-Bringing (Dayak Bidayuh) and Filipino (Tagalog) descent and now seeks peace and acceptance in the Philippines. She tweets at @j_rubis.