* A Walk in the Woods

Another American missionary does a lot of hiking in the mountains and forests east of Antipolo.  He has invited others to go with him, so we took him up on his offer.  We left at 5 am (to beat the heat of the day) and drove an hour to where we would start our hike.

The family in this house allows Ted to park by their house 
and use their CR (comfort room or restroom).
Here's where we got our gear organized.

We walked a short way up the road to meet our Filipino guide,
 and then a little further to the start of the trail.  
There were some gentle climbs like this throughout the hike.

This is what a lot of the trail was like -- through the bamboo.

Did you know that bamboo is not a tree, but a grass?

There were a few gullies like this to climb up and down.

A meandering stream created a few small waterfalls on it's journey through the forest.

Some hikers have taken a dip in the river here.

We crossed the stream several times on our hike -- going from rock to rock.

The walking sticks helped a lot with keeping our balance as we crossed.  
I think a foot did still slip into the water now and then!

Along the way there were many small huts that various farmers built for shelter where they can stay for a few nights to care for their animals or crops, as the case may be.  

This man was raising goats up in the hills.   He was building himself a new shelter.
He even had a solar panel for electricity!

And he allowed us to use his benches.
Behind us is a pool cut into the ground, fed by the river.  
We were told the man used to raise fish in the pool until a storm 
and the subsequent swollen stream washed the fish downstream. :-(

This rice mill was inside one of the huts.

Rather picturesque don't you think?

 We hiked up a bit further into the woods to a "ulingan"
 -- a place to make "uling" or charcoal.

Here's the Process:
1) Make a clearing and dig a pit
2) Cut your wood and stack it in the pit
3) Pound in some bamboo poles to hold it in place

 4) Cover the pile with leaves and then dirt (hadn't been done yet)
5) Light the fire and let it smoulder for several days
6) Let the charcoal cool and bag it  
7) Carry it out on your back (an hour hike) and sell it

Lying next to the path was this "paragos" -
usually hitched to a carabao, not a man!  ;-)

A couple more views along the way.