The pilgrimage continues

The 10-day run-walk-swim-bike pilgrimage from Bayawan City, Negros Oriental to Iloilo City by two public servants and one artist continues and is now on its 7th day.

The pilgrimage is called 2014 Padyak Tungo sa Liwanag which aims to raise funds for a community center, immerse with typhoon Yolanda victims and carry the intentions of another important national gathering, Liwanag 2014: Disaster: from Chaos to Rebirth that will be held at the Diversion21 Hotel, Iloilo City on March 27 to 29, 2014.

Jude Cabangal and Felcon Rivera
The team is composed of:

Jude Cabangal, administrative officer and team coordinator of the Office of Strategy Management of Bayawan.

Ritchie Mortillero, also a public servant of Bayawan. He has several bike renovation projects and engages in green initiatives such as the eco-house and permaculture garden. He is also an active member and officer of DCCCO Multipurpose Cooperative, one of the progressive cooperatives in the Negros island. 

Felcon Rivera is owner of of DAGSA Artist Sanctuary, a driftwood installation artist and earth musician. He is 54 years old.

Cabangal and Rivera left Bayawan last March 17, walked barefoot and proceeded to different schools in their city. The next day, they walked from Kalumboyan to Kabankalan; March 19, biked from Kabankalan to Bacolod.

The duo, through the Lightbearers Facebook page, reported: "We continued with our second day pilgrimage with the light. Woke up at 4 am, ate freshly cooked puto with native coffee at Kalumoboyan. Kalumboyan to Kalamtukan was the longest walk of our lives. In just around 10 km we learned to be more patient with our capacities. Each step was calculated with deep reflection, our soles sore over the night's walk to Kalumboyan, an interior part of Bayawan City. We reached Kalamtukan, the third Barangay from Mandu-ao (boundary of Bayawan City), when we decided to take a motorcycle to Bantayan, Kabankalan."

Receiving a blessing for the journey

Last March 22, Cabangal and Rivera braved the waters of Guimaras in order to reach Iloilo City. They started swimming at 7 a.m., but due to the strong current brought about by typhoon Caloy (storm signal number 1), it took them 2 hours and 50 minutes before reaching the wharf of Iloilo City.

Along the way, two boats of the Philippine Coast Guard monitored and guided them. Their bikes and Rivera’s longboard were onboard these boats.

The strong current separated Cabangal and Rivera. The latter told Purr that when he got separated from Cabangal, he got really worried not for his safety, but for his companion. “I was worried that I was not there to save him if something happens,” he said.

Upon arrival, Cabangal was asked how he is and he answered, “Gutom.”

A simple man’s breakfast. Day 2 of the pilgrimage

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Iloilo’s reporter Redgie Adosto and the cameraman wanted to see the 54-year-old Felcon on his longboard, so he indulged them. Felcon said that his longboard is made of bamboo, a product of Bayawan. “I rode my longboard from Mindoro to Masbate,” he shared.

Meanwhile, Mortillero was not allowed to board a boat from Bacolod to Iloilo. PO2 Erwin Morante of the PCG said that fast crafts were not allowed to travel because of the storm signal.

But Mortillero will be joining the pilgrimage soon. Their next destination is Ivisan, Capiz; Estancia, Concepcion and San Rafael, Iloilo. After that they will bike back to Iloilo City just in time for the Liwanag 2014 conference at Diversion21 Hotel.

Felcon Rivera. Each step, careful step. 
Day 2 was around 10,000 steps.
“Why Padyak? During the Olympics, there is a torchbearer to signal the start of the event. We string beads of light for the Liwanag World Fest. Our cycle pilgrimage all over the country is our simple way of offering a prayer for the event. We believe that biking as a sustainable transportation and as a lifestyle is the best gesture to raise awareness for the environment and our future as well as to go deeper into our personal and spiritual connections with Mother Nature and the Almighty,” the team said.

This is the second Padyak Tungo sa Liwanag. The first one was in 2013, January 1 to 29 wherein the team left Bayawan and biked towards Davao City, venue of the Liwanag World Festival 2013.

“This year, we are stringing healing beads of light and harvest stories of healing as we pass by and immerse in towns that were devastated by super typhoon Yolanda last year,” Cabangal said.

“For Bayawan, we will foster the Bayawanihan vision in order to awaken the hero in each person and conspire for a three-folding approach in order to establish the TamBayaw-Anihan Community Center,” he added.

“For Panay, we will take part in and experience the rebuilding efforts in northern Iloilo and Capiz. And for Liwanag 2014, we will carry the intention of the gathering to stimulate the creation of a solutions ecosystem in key regions in the country to address the tremendous challenge of natural disasters,” he added.

There are many ways Filipinos can help the pilgrims, said Cabangal. Those who want to support any of the initiatives can also send cash donations. If you want to support the TamBayaw-Anihan Community Center, donate to Bayawan and Character First! RCBC Account Number 7589945160 (Account Name: Eminel Ogoc/Synergy Resource Center). For those who want to donate to Liwanag 2014, donate through Liwanag Worldfest Inc BPI current account 9240 0108 68 Iloilo Iznart Branch.

“You can also support by spreading the word, let it be known to friends and relatives, join the outreach and immersion, adopt a Yolanda-affected family, connect with civil society organizations in their restoration efforts, write and share stories, poems, essays, songs, drawings, sketches, paintings and pictures with the following themes: heal, restore, rebirth, stringing beads of healing lights, resiliency of the Pinoy spirit and email to; and offer a smile to the pilgrims and carry our intentions through your thoughts, feelings and prayers.”/

Note: I will post the Guimaras-Iloilo photos as soon as they are available. For updates, visit the Lightbearers Facebook Page. For updates on Liwanag 2014, click here.

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