It has been awhile when I had my last post in this blog. I was too busy in the mountains where I could hardly get a good connection to the Internet. Aside from my trail running training, I’ve been busy preparing and directing my road and trail races which are scheduled for the past months.
In my desire to look for trail routes within the vicinity of my “playground”, I had been exposed and had observed some of the local people in the area to be involved in charcoal making in the mountains. I almost meet a group of locals with their sleds being pulled by a carabao (water buffalo) stacked with sacks full of charcoal on a daily basis. Sometimes, I would pass by a place where two locals would be guarding a makeshift underground “oven” where they process or burn the woods cut in pieces and wait for these woods that would turn to charcoal.
I really don’t mind or give any interest or even stop to start a conversation with these people in the charcoal transport and processing “industry”. It is enough that I greet them while I am running or simply wave my hand just to show that I really don’t care about their trade. Anyway, they simply know me as a crazy trail runner in the mountains where they do their business.
Last week, in one of my adventure runs in the mountains trying to look for trails, I was surprised to see a band of charcoal “carriers” or persons who carry sacks of charcoal from the mountains to be brought to the populated community. Most of these carriers are our indigenous people called the “Aetas”. I met these band of Aetas resting in a shaded part of the mountain where there is a pipe with water freely flowing from it. Most of them were resting and some of them were taking their lunch as I can see some cooking pots near the sacks of charcoal.
The following pictures will show the number of sacks of charcoal resting on the rocks along the trail and you can imagine the number of trees being cut by these charcoal makers in the mountains in order to produce these sacks of charcoal:
I am not here to post these pictures and make any judgement or opinion on what I have seen and observed in the mountains. It is enough that you can see and conclude for yourself what is really happening on those hidden valleys and cliffs in the mountain ranges which you can see far away while you are in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus or driving your personal vehicle along the highway on your way to the province and from the city.
As usual, I had to greet the Aetas and went on to refresh myself by drinking the fresh and cold water freely flowing from the plastic pipe that was inserting in between two big rocks on the cliff. And then douse my head, face, nape and back with the flowing water.
After a few seconds, I waved my hands and told to the resting Aetas that I will be ahead of them in going to their resettlement. And I am glad they waved their hands and replied to my greetings.
My mountain trail running must go on and as I was nearing the trailhead near the Aeta Resettlement Area, I could see more mountains and more trails to explore in my next outing.
Trail running in the mountains reminds me how blessed I am and the rests of us living in the lowlands.