Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’

What?! The Crappie landed me! (A hot August night on Eloika Lake, Spokane County, Washington)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Nice Eloika Lake Crappie20 Acres for sale!

20 Acres for sale!
Getting darker, Mt. Spokane I think.
Getting darker, Mt. Spokane I think.
calm before the storm.
calm before the storm.

All ya’all know I really like Eloika Lake which is one of the many small lakes through which the Little Spokane River flows as it wends its weary way to The Spokane River. Recently, I listed 20 acres on the southwestern shore and desperately needed to get some good photos of the shoreline from the lake’s point of view.  With that in mind, I called up Jerry and Lori at Jerry’s landing on the other side of the lake and asked if they had any canoes for that Saturday afternoon.  I was in luck! Or, was I?

At 6 pm, I started paddling towards my objective.  But of course, IF you are going out on the lake,  why wouldn’t you take advantage of this opportunity to do a bit of fishing while you were at it?  Having been armed with some nice plastic worms which anglers have used all summer to bring in up to six pound bass and some nice little yellow jigs to try for those crappie which make this lake famous, I had to stop along the way every 100 paddle strokes or so and do a little fishin’.  Not much happening that night.  I watched a few little crappie chase the jig which you suspend about 18 inches below a bobber, throw out and reel slowly in.  I think they were too small to even get their mouths around the tiny hook.

I gradually worked my way across and followed the weed beds along the west shore line down to my photographic target.  I enjoyed looking at the nice big houses and fancy white docks jutting out into the lake.  Finally, I reached my friend’s land and took several photos.  This time, I headed straight out across the lake and planned to go north along the east side of the lake, fishing as I went.  The lake was like glass.  Looked like a big parking lot where you could get out and walk home.  The sunlight  filtering through the trees along the west side of the lake as dusk arrived dappled the water creating all sorts of interesting shadows.  The natural drift of the current and very slight wind pushed my canoe gently out to the middle of the lake and slightly northward so I was able to crappie fish without much paddling.  I removed my sinker so just had the bobber weight but was still able to throw it out about 30 feet on each cast.

Finally!  I entered an area where I had hits on virtually every cast!  OOH BOY!  Was this fun!  I hooked a big one, but it got off after about a minute of play.  Several hits later and I had another on the line, As it got closer to the boat I thought it must be about two feet long!  This one was not gonna get away.  I reeled him in towards the boat.  Finally, he was just feet away.  I jerked him quickly out of the water.  I did not realize you do this gently.  No hard yanks.  No big excitement.  So, out of the water he flew, across the canoe and out the other side.  I did not know Crappie were flying fish!  I also did not know the release of tension on the left side of the boat coupled with the addition of a shooting fish ten feet beyond the right side of the boat, added to 240 pounds of weight high on a seat in a canoe equals a fine swim in the middle of Eloika Lake about 15 minutes before dark on a hot August night.

Well, the cool water got my head thinking.  First, put my pole in the still upright canoe.  Second, YES! the dang crappie is still on the line and he IS going to pay for dumping me in the water so get him into the boat.  Next, where are my flip flops?  They cost 20 bucks!  Well, I found one so the one legged guy gleaning stuff along the shore is going to be either happy or sad depending on which leg is missing.

Being in the water was not a part of the plans for the evening so I set about getting back into the canoe while swimming in 30 feet of water.  After several minutes of trying it from the side, I came to realization that was just not going to happen.  I asked myself, how do I find enough weight to counterbalance me as I get in?  Climb in on the end so the whole canoe works against your weight I thought.  Like a lot of theory, the practice just is not there.  NOOOO! Maybe when I was a hot young 150 pound stud full of whim, whigor and wytality.  But now at 240 lbs, tired and old, I just could not get myself in any position to be able to climb the 2 foot mountain of the end of the boat.

Now, what were my options? The closest shore was about a half mile away.  There was also a pretty good weed and mud bank around most of the lake so actually getting to a place where you could walk out of the lake was a real problem.  I had to find a dock which might also mean a clearer, less weed filled path to travel.  So, back toward my friends corner of the lake I went.  In the gathering gloom, the white beacon of the trex decking  covered boat launcher shone like the sun.  Grabbing the boat by the middle, lying on my back and floating with the help of my life preserver and the canoe, I began kicking and gradually we moved towards the dock.  About 30 minutes later, we hit the weeds.  We hit the mud.  As of yet, I had never experienced any fear or significant worry.  Just another exercise.  Just another problem to solve.  Just more grist for the story mill.

After about five minutes of fighting the weeds and the ever thicker, higher mud level I realized I had a big problem.  You literally could not move through this goo.  If you got vertical, you had no bottom to stand on, there was just a light 20 weight viscosity to what you were swimming in,  but you could not move through it.  Now, I had moved beyond just another fun problem to getting a bit scared.  As in all these types of situations, panic is not the answer.  So I began screaming hysterically for help…not.  Even if I had wanted to, there was no one around to hear.  So, I had a little conversation with My Creator and asked for help and calmness.  It came to me, if you can not walk or swim through it, maybe you can slide over it.  So that is what the canoe and I did.  Staying as horizontal as possible, I grabbed and pulled on the weeds in conjunction with me kicking (swimming.)  Gradually, it took another 30 minutes, I finally got to the edge of the dock.  Again, no ladders and that 18 to 20 inches defied any ability to pull myself up.  So, I went around the side and found the mooring line.  I was able to use that to climb onto the dock.

Safety at last!  I laid there like a great grey beached whale for a few minutes gathering what was left of my energy and dignity and then got up.  I looked in the boat to see if my camera and phone were still there and if the ziplock bag had done its job of protecting them.  Yes and yes!  I called Jerry’s Landing and Lori answered.  “I have good news, bad news and good news, Lori.  I landed a huge crappie!  The crappie landed me!  But I made it to a dock here on the SW corner of the lake. ”  I went on to ask her recommendations as I was too exhausted to take another shot at the lake, especially after dark, to paddle the 25 minutes back to the resort.  She told me to stand fast and they would mount a rescue.

Twenty minutes later, my knights in a shining bass boat arrived.  Soon, we were back “home.”  I do not think I have been as filthy as I was since I was a kid swimming in the water buffalo wallows back in Mindanao, Philippines (  Later, I just threw away my undershirt and pants and wallet because they were not salvageable.   Jerry pointed out the canoe had a great livewell as the bottom six inches were filled with water and that miserable crappie was still alive!  While I had intended to eat it to get even with it, in the end, I felt it had taught me a great many lessons and it deserved another day or two in the water, so I cut the hook which it had swallowed and released it. (You can check out the crappie blog ( for his version of the night’s events.)

Safe and sound, a lot more adventure than I had planned for but happy and content and grateful to God for the peace we can have in tough times to help us get through our ordeals.

ADDENDUM:  Lessons learned:  Fat, old boys should probably think twice about fishing from platforms as unstable as a canoe.   Always wear your life jacket!  You go from fine to the thick of it in less than a second.  Don’t panic!  Stabilize the situation, calm down and think through it to figure out a course of action.  You will have to repeat this more than once in many circumstances.  I had three of these times in this spot:  When I fell into the lake, when I hit the weeds and mud, and finally trying to figure out how to get onto the dock.  Make sure someone knows where you are and when you should be back.  Keep your electronics in a waterproof container which floats.   Finally and perhaps most important, seek God’s help and comfort.

Jerry’s Landing has one more month before they close for the winter.  Check them out!  They are great and will tell you what to use for bait and where to fish.  To visit Jerry’s Landing Resort, North on Hwy 2 (Newport Highway) past Riverside High School and Miller’s One Stop to Oregon Road. West (left from Spokane) to Regal Road. Left to Jerry’s Landing.

Their phone number is 509 292 2337, their email is and their address is N 41114 Lake Shore Rd, El WA 99009.

Wending My Weary Way Home to Kibalabag

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Enjoy the Emmrod Kayak King Fishing Pole for all your Eloika Lake Fishing

Enjoy the Emmrod Kayak King Fishing Pole for all your Eloika Lake Fishing

Packrod Spin, Fresh Water
Packrod Spin, Fresh Water


Swimming: Water Buffalo Wallow or Clean Crystal Clear Spring

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
Beautiful swimming and mud fishing lake

Beautiful swimming and mud fishing lake

Swimming: Water Buffalo Wallow or Crystal Clear Spring

Growing up at Nasuli, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines, my friends and I had a beautiful, 30 foot deep, crystal clear swimming lake fed by several springs.  we swam in it, bathed in it, our drinking water came from it, I fished it for minnows, eels and mud fish (snake head fish), and caught frogs along its banks.

Not far away, there were several water buffalo wallows.  The water buffalo has no sweat glands.  It is a beast of burden, ploughs, harrows and works very hard.  To keep your water buffalos healthy, you have to give them cooling off time.  They love a nice pond or slow moving river as much as the next guy, girl or fish.  On the other hand, a little depression in the ground full of water works just as well.

They lie in these wallows for several hours getting rid of all that built up heat.  They lie there contentedly chewing their cud daring you to end their respite early.  In the meantime, they churn up the bottom of the pond and conduct all sorts of bodily functions in the water and move around creating a fine slurry of water, what they produce and the mud on the bottom.

We kids loved to emulate the water buffalo!  We spent uncountable hours jumping in and out and swimming these wallows.  We played in them until every fiber of our short pants, when we wore them, was completely surrounded by and infused with water buffalo wallow muck.

Our mothers screamed with frustration when we got home.  “You have that beautiful clear swimming pool with crystal clean water and you go swim in that foul, disgusting muck filled with carabao (water buffalo) poop and who knows what else.  What is the matter with you? You filthy little urchins!”

Some 40 and more years later, I have come to the conclusion the issue was the same spiritual battle we all fight.  On one hand, God has so much for us that is good and wonderful.  Yet, when offered the choice of His magnificence, you guessed right, off to the water buffalo wallows we go!  He so understands my mother!

Oh for Grace to stay on the right track!

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The big Purple Orchid

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

To my mother’s everlasting delight, I was born at a very young age.  Shortly thereafter, I began training with my parents for our move to the Philippines.  Of course, my memories of this training are dim indeed.  I do know from hearsay I almost died of malaria or some related disease in a Mexican jungle during my parents “Jungle Training Camp” which was a course where they learned how to deal with jungle living.  My second birthday was held in great festive manner aboard a tramp freighter in Manila Harbor.  I know this is true because I saw, like George, John, Paul and Ringo, the photograph.

My memories do begin filtering in after that.  Most of them deal with growing things or doing things in the jungle.  I have a visceral need to grow.  Everywhere I have gone in my almost sixty years, I have had some sort of garden.  One of my early gardens which spanned about eight to ten years was my orchid garden.  While living in Mindanao, Philippines, I had a huge playground.  Probably a hundred square miles of jungle, rivers, streams, swamps that I roamed, mostly alone but, sometimes with other American kids or Filipino friends.  Inevitably, I found interesting orchids on each trip.  Sometimes, they were in the ground, sometimes I climbed huge trees to get them.  Gradually, my collection of orchids grew.  I had over 50 different kinds all growing on the trees in my yard or hanging from wooden pots filled with shredded coconut husks which I made.  For a kid growing up where there were absolutely no jobs, I managed to earn some spending money by selling these orchids.  When they were in bloom, they sold.  Ten centavos here and ten centavos there and I had enough money to buy rubber for my slingshots and hooks and lines for my fishing. 

In 1964, we returned to the Philippines, but, I did not go back to Mindanao.  I stayed in Manila to attend high school at Faith Academy.  During one short vacation, I went with the Mayfields up to the allocation where they worked with the Negritos.  These folk were shorter and had emigrated from somewhere other than where the more brown skinned Asian looking Filipinos had.   Their skin was darker and hair more curly.  Papua New Guinea? Australia’s aboriginals? I do not know.  What I did know was they lived remotely and in the Jungle.  Just my cup of tea.  While up there, I continued my orchid hunting habits and found a very nice one.  This type of orchid grew a new spike each year.  The spike hung rather than stuck up in the air.  Each year, the new growth would be longer than the previous growth.  During the cycle, the leaves would fall off and in their place a bud would grow.  Oddly, this orchid was fragrant and strongly fragrant.  It was a vibrant and beautiful purple. 

At the end of the semester, I headed back to Mindanao for a vacation and put this new acquisition on the front porch along with my others.  I never saw it bloom again because it bloomed during the school year and I was away in boarding school. During my senior year, my dad took a bloom, put it in a small Gerber’s baby food jar with some water soaked cotton and somehow got it sent up to me at school.  For some reason, the administrative staff gave it to me while I was in class.  I opened the jar and the fragrance permeated the atmosphere in seconds.  It was so beautiful.  The memories of the flower, the fragrance and my father’s love still mist my eyes 40 plus years later.

I never saw my last childhood home again.  After graduating, I left directly for the US.  I have made a couple trips back to the Philippines but they were limited to Luzon and Palawan and they were business with little time to go on a vacation.  Maybe it is better to retain the sweet memories of my childhood than to actually go back. 

The final note on The Big Purple Orchid was for the remainder of my parents term in the Philippines, my dad said whenever that plant was in bloom, people both Americans and Filipinos from around the area would come to look at it and take pictures of it.  In the final year they were there, it had 32 huge blooms on it. 

My dad is long since gone and my mom is not that healthy, but both the memory of growing up with them and that orchid is fresh as spring.


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Living in Kibalabag

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

My parents had three tours with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Philippines.  In their second tour, which occurred in the late 50’s early 60’s , they worked mostly in what we called an “allocation.”  As translators, it was important for them to be in a situation where they were both immersed in the local population, culture and language AND that population should be speaking a pretty pure form of the language being studied.  In Bukidnon Province, the lowlands had a pretty big mix of language use.  The trade language was Visayan and the local language was Binokid.  My folks were studying Binokid.  Lowland villages no longer had the “pure” language with many trade language words, not to mention English and Spanish words creeping into the daily lexicon.

So, on their second tour, they moved back away from the valleys taking refuge in the pure linguistic highlands of the hinterland. “Our” village was called Kibalabag (Key Bah La Bahg).  To get there, you drove to the end of the highway from the provincial capital, Malaybalay.  I am not sure how far of a drive it was, but, certainly not more than several miles.  From that point, we meandered through the valleys gradually climbing higher into the mountains.  We crossed one river once, one river twice and one river 9 times.  “Crossing” is defined as wading through the river.  There was no significant road, certainly no bridges, just a faint path. During the three to four month long rainy season, no one went in and no one went out. You just could not cross the rivers.  Kibalabag was about 8 miles back into the mountains and covered a bit of a patch on the side of a mountain. I used to say the town I grew up in was so small we had no crime in the streets.  We had crime, we just did not have streets!

My parents and brother and sister lived here most of the time and were home schooled by my parents.  I stayed in bording school at Nasuli, about 12 miles on the far side of Malaybalay.  Isn’t it funny how time changes things?  It seemed like the other side of the world, but, in reality, it was only about 20 miles away!  So, in the vacations I went up to the mountains.  I loved it!  I enjoyed going out into the jungle with the boys of my vintage in the village. 

One of the joys I had was making rope with the folks who lived there.  Cash crops were few and far in between. One of the few was finished rope or the hemp necessary to make the rope.  A banana tree like plant called “abaca” (ahh bah cah) was the source of the hemp.  You cut the tree down about 6 inches above the ground.  Now, the term tree is used loosely. It only took one or two, maybe three whacks with a bolo (machete) to cut through the tree.  It is made, like the banana tree, with thick layers of a fiberous, high water content, built like cardboard boats.  These layers are kind of like petals with a leaf at the very top.  After cutting the tree down, you cut off the top just below the leaves.  The layers then just pop right off with a light tug.  After removing a layer, the top sixteenth of an inch thick skin is pulled off.  This is done by inserting a knife under about four to six inches of the skin then grabbing that bit and pulling it up which strips it off the entire six to 8 feet or so of the layer.  Then, you do the same with the remaining portion and just discard the thicker portion of the layer. Next, you take the pieces of skin to a machine which has a metal blade with small teeth.  You lift the blade with your foot.  Throw the bulk of the skin on the far side of the machine, insert six inches or so of the skin under the blade, let the blade down, grab that short piece of skin, pull briskly and drag it through the blade.  Then, reverse the process and get rid of the pulp from the last bit you held on.  The fibers are hung up and dried for several days.  Finally, they are either woven into ropes or packed into huge bales.  In both cases, the product is taken in packs on the villagers’ backs down the trail described above and sold in Malaybalay.

We got most of our water from the river which was about half a mile away.  We had large bamboo stalks about 5 to six inches diameter and about five to six feet long.  Bamboo is hollow and has a membrane every foot or so that makes each compartment watertight.  We would knock out all these membranes except the bottom.  I do not know how much water you could carry in one tube, but, I would guess about four to five gallons.

We cooked on a fire table.  This table  was to one side of the kitchen. It was aboutthree feet deep and four feet wide.  It was covered with the same grass roof that covered most of the roof.  Oddly enough, it never caught on fire.  I never understood that.  We built two fires on the table and cooked in pots hung over the fires.  The fire table was only walled in about 3/4s of the way up to the roof so the smake could escape outside of the house.  We also had a small two burner kerosene stove; however, kerosene had to be brought in on people’s back so it was not practicle to use it.  I do not recall it ever being used.


Bathing was either with a washbasin or more likely just going to the river and doing it in conjuction with washing the clothes and getting the drinking water.  Remember, Get water upstream, wash downstream!

Mostly, we went to bed early.  But on those days we stayed up for special circumstances we used a coleman lantern.  Again, fuel had to be carried in so it was used sparingly.  Being close to the equator, we did have fairly long days.


We had a two way radio and maintained a morning and evening daily contact with our headquarters in Nasuli.  We did run a generator which ran the radio.  I think the only time we ran it besides to run the radio was on Christmas, my dad hooked it up to the Christmas Tree lights and ran it for about an hour.  The entire village turned out to see that.  This radio was ultimately important to my family because we had a very strangely behaving cat. My dad killed it (one of the horrible memories etched in my brain), cut off its head and shipped the head to Nasuli to be shipped to Manila to check for the potential of Rabbies.  Turned out to be infexted and we all had to leave to get shots, but that is another story. I was spared due to my arrival time at the village.

I could be like Led Zepplin and Ramble On over many topics, but will end with the only part of this story related to fishing.

We had a pretty wide river which I mentioned earlier.  at times, there was virtually no water and at other times, it was a raging torrent many feet above “normal.” I can not recall ever seeing any significant fish come from the river.  That has always been strange to me, even as a young kid. There were all kinds of little critters, perhaps part of the salamander family, that lived in the water and under the river rocks.  These were taken for food and I can recall hunting for them with other village boys.  I do not know how they tasted because they ended up in their homes. My mom was pretty flexible, but she drew the line at wierd things and the field rats which were a delicacy in this village. Those were huge critters a good 2 feet from nose to tip of tail. 


I will probably write a few more stories about this village as it has many fond memories so if this sort of thing appeals to you, check back again.

In the meantime, enjoy the Emmrod fishing system as shown on the web site