IN JUST A FEW MINUTES, it might be
my birthday. The Mitsubishi Strada got here in at 23:50 of April 5, 2018 at MJ
Cuenco Avenue, Cebu Metropolis as agreed. Driving is Randy Salazar of Philippine
Journey Consultants and one of many driving power behind Filipino Conventional
Blades. His passengers are Ernie Salomon and Jonathaniel Apurado and all of
them are with the Camp Purple Bushcraft and Survival Guild.
The Strada is loaded and my Excessive Sierra Titan is added to the cargo on the again. We’re travelling tonight, or
to place in a greater perspective, most of tomorrow, April 6, overland from Cebu
Metropolis to Toledo Metropolis, cross Tañon Strait, drive from San Carlos Metropolis over the
hump of the Negros Cordillera to Bacolod Metropolis, cross Guimaras Strait, and drive
a number of kilometers from Port Dumangas to Iloilo Metropolis. Spectacular!

Tomorrow can be my birthday. I
choose that individuals not find out about it however who retains secret as of late,
particularly in case you are sincere sufficient so as to add it in Fb. At that early hour
there have been no birthday greetings from the three guys. I think they could have
devious plans amongst themselves. I’ve been ambushed many instances and I do know the
Everybody are in excessive adrenaline
mode as we journey south to Toledo Metropolis. The Strada could be very noisy inside. There
is not any site visitors and we attain the Port of Toledo at 02:00 and we now have a cup of espresso
to kill the time as our ship steadily docked to the wharf. The crossing of
Tañon Strait took simply 90 minutes and we are actually on the Port of San Carlos. My
birthday begins right this moment.
In semi-darkness, Randy steered the
pickup to the freeway of the skies. There was not a lot to see and it was eerily
silent in the back of me and each Ernie and Jon pursued the final hours of sleep
earlier than daylight overtakes them. I attempted my greatest to maintain Randy in firm however
discovered myself fighting my consciousness. The sudden adjustments of  engine sound would wake me up from time to

I felt an odd silence because the
Strada screeched to a halt then a noise of the pickup door is slammed shut. The place
are we?
Time to take a nature leak. The primary lights of daybreak painted the
Negros sky and darkish shadowy mass begun to slowly present particulars. A waterfall! The place
is that this place?
I do know we are actually within the highlands of Don Salvador Benedicto
however I didn’t discover this surroundings earlier than.
By now, the day begins to show
all the things alongside this freeway of the Negros Cordillera. I’m starting to get
oriented as soon as I spot Canlaon Volcano on one aspect and the Mandalagan Mountain
Vary on the opposite aspect. The fertile valleys hosted the plains devoted to
sugar canes that made barons out of farmers within the heady days when sugar was
It took us one other hour of journey
earlier than Randy decides to cease at Murcia. It takes nice focus and
management to drive over in darkness to right here from Cebu Metropolis. Our firm would
have helped however we unashamedly gave in to drowsiness. He wants a break. Time to
take pleasure in one other cup of espresso. The place is that espresso please?

We keep for a second as Randy’s
favourite breakfast joint begins to muster the final section of rooster soup. The
espresso got here on the most excellent time and the blade talks make us overlook meals
for some time. I remembered the blades that have been positioned under the shift stick.
Randy owns a number of stunning blades. He’s a blade connoisseur in his personal
I used to be speaking a couple of Bowie with a
coffin-shaped deal with and that sweet-looking Nessmuk. The Bowie is made by
Freddie Angeles in 1987. He don’t make blades anymore since he’s now 80 years
previous and, for that matter, the Bowie turns into a collector’s merchandise. The Nessmuk is
made by Dondon Dimpas underneath the Ursulo line. It’s stamped as 002 and,
due to this fact, additionally one other collector’s merchandise since it’s the most well-liked of his early make which elicit profound consideration from blade lovers.
I’m flushed with envy and I’m so
joyful it fell to the appropriate arms. If it can’t be mine, not less than, for the
second, I’ll have that privilege to carry and really feel its steadiness and be
photographed with it for posterity. Oh, actual espresso, uncooked and powerful, provoked
an interior ecstasy inside me as I held these blades in my hand. 

Come to consider it, I began all
this factor about blades. I taught folks the worth of a blade in my bushcraft
camps. I now have many converts and, I admit, I’m however a pygmy while you speak
about their dedication and fervour about blades. They know a lot and
all the things about it and are actually on the verge of changing into bladesmiths
After breakfast, we drive round
the market and Randy shocked us with a kilo every of grounded Negros espresso,
the identical espresso that perked me up a half-hour in the past. Then we proceed to the final
stretch of highway to Bacolod Metropolis to catch the primary journey for Iloilo.
Sadly, we didn’t make it and have to attend for the second journey.
For a full 45 minutes we waited
till the time when the Nissan Strada acquired the go sign to crawl over the ramp
into the ship’s deck. Jon, Ernie and I make it to the gangplank and up a collection
of stairs and discover the very best location. Crossing the Guimaras Strait took a
longer time as tide and present conflict midstream. The skipper has to make the
mandatory changes till we attain the Port of Dumangas.
It’s 20 kilometers to Iloilo Metropolis
and we now have a number of time. Randy must make a cease on his previous residence
within the metropolis. This was the place he began earlier than making Cebu as his base. We
unload the issues discovered on the again of the Strada and secured it contained in the
home. It appears Randy want to make slightly tour for us across the metropolis.


The primary cease is the previous market
the place they promote the unique variations of the completely different La Paz batchoy,
an Ilonggo model of noodles which has very beneficiant shredded meat, liver, egg
and vegetable garnishments. You might be supplied condiments to fit your style. I
have by no means tried an authentic batchoy earlier than and I might not let this
Second cease is at Derek’s Traditional
Blade Change. I do know the man who runs this place: Derek Manuel. Organising a
knife retailer in Iloilo Metropolis and making it run for greater than two years is an
accomplishment in itself. You bought handy it to the person. A part of his enterprise
is on-line and other people from faraway as Metro Manila and Metro Cebu supply their blades
right here.
He sells good high quality blades, knife
equipment and different stuff regarding the outside sub-culture of bushcraft
and survival. It’s situated throughout the La Paz Plaza. Nevertheless, we couldn’t
resume our personal tour since Derek needed to deal with us to an actual Iloilo lunch,
which is an efficient factor. We proceed to Breakthrough Restaurant, situated in a
seaside of Molo district.
Arriving to affix us is Derek’s
spouse, Ana. We ordered seafood and it’s laid earlier than us, wealthy savory and
succulent. We completed nearly at 15:00 and we have been actually filled with that grand
Iloilo lunch that Derek supplied for our lot. Randy took an extended drive again to
our place. There, we returned the issues to the again of the Strada.

We’re going to Alimodian however we
should go by first at Journey Central, the house of Iloilo’s greatest sports activities
climbing wall and it was right here that the drafting board of the profitable completion of the
Panay Trilogy is headquartered. I get to fulfill the employees and it feels good to only sit, suckle a
chilly bottle of Purple Horse and watch future rock jocks remedy issues above.
We depart Journey Central in a
convoy of three pickups. It’s now in the course of the afternoon. We attain
Alimodian with loads of daylight to spare. I selected a spot for my
hammock-and-shelter setup and I’m house. A bottle of native brandy seems and
my cup is empty. I’m thirsty.
Randy gave me a hatchet. The
axehead is acquired from the standard blacksmiths of Sibalom, Vintage, whereas
the haft is carved by his personal arms. Picked on one aspect are the phrases “Camp
Purple” painted in daring crimson whereas on the opposite aspect is the logo of the Guild: a
fashionable interpretation of a noble Native American warrior in daring crimson.
Might they’ve identified my birthday
and stored it hush-hush? I’m not shocked there. I do know that sport. Okay, THEY
do know. They simply gave me a small lighted candle. They sang the birthday music.
I blew the candle and clapping of arms and laughter echo within the night. I
open my Lenovo A7000 and a flood of greetings swamp my Fb newsfeed.
Doc accomplished in LibreOffice 5.3

Photographs by Jonathaniel Apurado


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