climb

bad news from batad


i have been to batad 3 previous times in the past: when jay and i had our 2nd (mis)adventure, during TC4 of the 2005 BMC, and when i took my mountaineer friends on an ifugao village to village hike. i love the place with a passion, and i don't think i will ever grow tired of going there for my spiritual journeys. in fact, i am organizing another hike during the long independence day weekend this june. a digital film about batad was made, and i tried, but failed, to catch it at the cinema. i am enchanted by the walls of riprap, by the terraces of rice that rise to the heavens or spiral down, depending on where you're perched. the scenery is also almost as impressive as the locals: unassuming and gentle folk always armed with a welcome smile. so when news of julia campbell's disappearance broke, i was a little concerned. and when news of her death caught fire, i was greatly disturbed. how can such a grisly act be even imagined in a place that has, previous to this, had close to zero crime rate? batad, to my recollection, does not even have a single policeman patrolling the terraces. this is no cause for alarm, because there seems to be no need. our secretary of justice raul gonzales has described julia's decision to hike alone as careless and irresponsible. i think his statements are careless and irresponsible, as there is nothing nearly like the feeling of hiking alone, to be surrounded by nothing but the sounds and sights of nature, to be at peace and to be erupting at the same time. i have done some serious hiking on my own myself, and never did i fear for my life, not the least from the attacks of locals. i have also met many many foreigners filming their own lonely planet episodes in their minds. i hope the authorities find answers to their questions with dispatch. this sad sad news, no matter how disconcerting it may be, has not withered my interest in going to batad for another village to village trek, alone or in the company of friends. in fact, it has contributed somewhat to my resolve. i hope to honor julia's spiritual quest in batad, and her service to the country as a peace corps volunteer in my next trek to the terraces.
Tragic Ironies
(Anonymous)
Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, a Romanian-born Israeli academic survived the Holocaust but was executed by the bullets of Cho Seung-hui. The professor was one of the 32 victims in the Virginia Tech shooting of the 23-year old South Korean student.

Julia Campbell, 40 won over the insurgents and the natural calamities in Bicol but lost in relatively peaceful Batad, a barangay of the town Banaue.

Such tragic ironies. Through the blog and their writings, we learned straight away what drives them. Such is the power of the word, both written and in video. They give away our inner most selves. Does web logging put writers at risk? Ingat lang po.

http://tochs.blogspot.com
Re: Tragic Ironies
hi chito. it is true that we are beset will all these ironic tragedies that are often difficult to make sense of. we ask ourselves why? why them? why now? why there? why here? it is unlikely we find appropriate answers to our questions, but then again, that may not be necessary, because it is the quest for an answer that makes us realize many many other things.

take care as well!