Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Baguio and Bontoc for national election weekend

Dea and I received a two night gift certificate at The Manor at Camp John Hay in Baguio so the three day weekend (Monday was a national holiday for voting) and a filter to install up beyond Baguio in The Mountain Province capital city of Bontoc called us in that direction.
The infamous Brent Fish Pond Biosand filter had been de-commissioned and was donated to Nick, who had a strong interest in it and actually drank Biosand filtered fish pond water with me. Some of his family living in Bontoc really needed clean drinking water.

Some other things also came together that were helpful. Kurt, Brent Media Center director needed some library material sent up to Brent Baguio so the truck used to haul that was used to carry the 150 pound concrete Biosand filter and another 50 pounds or so of sand and gravel for the filter innards. One of his media center employees, Joseph, agreed to be our driver since his family lives in Baguio, and thus got free transportation home (free - but he had to work for it. He drove the 150 miles and that took 7 hours.)

We left Brentville 5:30AM Saturday morning, drove through Manila 20 miles to our north, and connected with the North Luzon Expressway. That got us to Tarlac, the city where , after changing to the SCTEX, where we were about two-thirds of the way. Then the two lane congested more agonizing part began. But it wasn't too bad except for the miriad of political parades with blaring PA systems trying last minute attempt to woo voters in this first ever automated electronic election scheduled for Monday.

We arrived at Camp John Hay about 12:30PM and got settled into our room.

Dea brought along her report cards to finish up so she would have something to do while I went off the next morning with Nick and some friends and family who hitched a ride home to Bontoc to vote Monday. So it was 9 people and a Biosand filter in a pickup truck driving/riding over 90 miles of very twisty, winding, narrow, but very scenic road through Benguet Province to Bontoc capital of The Mountain Province. The mountains and terraced farms in this region provide a large share of the vegatables for Luzon. Let me tell you, looking at the steep hill sides sliced into zillions of flat narrow terraces make farming look like a pretty tough job. But we do enjoy the results.

I left Camp John Hay 6:30AM leaving Dea behind to do her report cards and settled in for a 90 mile 7 hour ride to Bontoc. The plan (I thought anyway) was to drive up, install the filter and return to Baguio by evening. I think it could have been accomplished but for ........ Oh well, I got to spend the night in Bontoc and it was much better to be on those roads in the daylight. Parachutes could have been issued as safety equipment. A big pat on the back to Nick who did a very good job of driving it but after all it was his home territory. That left me free to look out the window and take it all in. The view actually reminded me of the Colorado mountains except for the terraces. Don't see those in Colorado.

I'll add a bit more later..... Stay tuned but in the meantime there are more pictures here. Also some of the same but more here.

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