Redemptorist priest completes Davao-Aparri hike
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Typhoon Chedeng (Songda) notwithstanding, activist priest Amado Picardal on Friday completed his 57-day journey on foot from this city to the northern Philippine province of Cagayan to dramatize his various causes, ranging from environmental protection to opposition to summary executions and the government’s reproductive health bill.
In a text message to the Inquirer on Friday, Picardal said he arrived in Aparri amid heavy rains around 4:49 p.m.
“Final day of my journey. Pushing forward from Gattaran to Aparri today amid typhoon Signal No. 1,” Picardal said in an earlier text message.
Speaking later to the Inquirer by phone, the 57-year-old Redemptorist priest, who had previously biked across the country in pushing for environmental protection and his advocacy against summary executions, said he was relieved to have completed his most challenging endeavor so far.
This time, he was not only calling attention to the usual issues but hoped that Malacañang would reconsider its stand on the reproductive health bill.
“I survived,” he blurted out when the Inquirer contacted him by phone later Friday.
What made Picardal’s journey quite extraordinary was that he suffers from a heart condition. He said he has been diagnosed with myocardial ischemia, also known as angina.
“It could have been a very scary journey. I was alone. But I’ve been aware of God’s presence,” Picardal said.
He said the journey, which started April 1, became more difficult because of the heavy downpours and biting cold.
He also had bouts of dehydration and diarrhea.
“Psychologically and spiritually, I have a deeper faith and deeper understanding of myself,” Picardal said.
Also, his advocacies pushed him harder to complete his 2,060-kilometers journey by foot.
“I never thought of stopping and was taking the travel one step at a time. I was really sure I could do it, even though I knew how difficult it was,” Picardal said.
He was to spend the whole of Saturday meditating on his new experience.
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