Wending My Weary Way Home to Kibalabag

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

My 10th, 11th and 12th years took place between Nasuli, Malaybaly, Bukidnon Philippines and Kibalabag, Malaybaly, Bukidnon Philippines.  In my mind, these towns were a thousand miles apart.  Nasuli meant living in a dorm or with another family.  Kibalabag meant living with my Parents.  Malaybalay was the fulcrum on which the sides of the teeter totter balanced.   Look  for several more “Kibalabag” stories.  Some will be just a paragraph long and others will seem to drag on interminably.

My parents were translators with Wycliffe Bible Translators and arrived in the Philippines in April 1953.  In fact, I had my second birthday on a freighter in Manila Harbor. At the time of this story, we were in our second five year term. I lived at Nasuli in the boarding house with the octegenarians Oscar and Sadie Seeker as dorm parents while my parents, sister and brother lived at Kibalabag.  I remember being interrogated as to my capability to lead the way to my parents house in the jungle.   This was not a simple question.  Kibalabag was about 9 miles into the mountains and jungles from the end of the road just outside of Malaybalay.   The residents of this village had been vicious raiders who terrorized the towns around Malaybaly just 20 years previous. They had become Christians and their illegal activities stopped. Now, their primary cash crop was abaka, a banana tree look alike  which provided the fibers used to make “Manila Hemp,” a very strong rope used throughout the world. 

My parents main job was to learn “pure” Binokid for the purpose of translating the Bible into Binokid.  This was important because the language changed from mountain range to mountain range.  Within 30 miles as the Monkey Eating Eagle flies, were other, still wild raiding branches of this tribal group whose language while still Binokid, was significantly different. In the low lands, the pure dialects picked up words from Spanish, English and Visayan, the local trade language.

So, Uncle John Lawless, one of the radio operators at the headquarters at Nasuli came to me and said we had to get a new two way radio up to my folks.  These radios were the tenuous lifeline to “civilization.”  There was a morning and evening schedule we all adhered two.  We would fire up a generator, do our commo check and shut down the generator as the fuel had to be transported on a porter’s back in 5 gallon tins from the lowlands. This radio became a very critical lifeline several months later.  He did not know how to get there and asked if I did.  I allowed as I could find it ok.  I am not sure how I knew at that age 10-12 or so, that I could do it, but I do not recall hesitating.  As a matter of fact, I can still see much of the route in my mind’s eye today.  

Stream Master Fly Rod shown w/ handle

Stream Master Fly Rod shown w/ handle

So, we started off on the journey.  18 kilomters by jeep to the outskirts of Malaybalay where we left the vehicle and began to walk. It was about a three hour trek, but not a walk in the park.  I was carrying nothing but a small pack of clothes, Uncle John was carrying a two way radio which must have weighed about 25 or 30 pounds.  About 15 minutes into the walk, we crossed our first river which flowed languidly through the relatively flat land at this location.  It was about 40 feet across and nearly waist deep.  We were still in a fairly populated area but quickly left that and headed up into the mountains on a narrow trail.  As we  walked, the way became more and more constricted as the hills or mountains became steeper.  Ultimately, the trail began following the crease between the mountains.  Which ever side was the most passable was where the trail led.  Over the next two hours, we crossed the river flowing betwween the mountains 11 times.  It was not a raging torrent, but it was very swift and at points up to waste deep.  Until the last crossing, the river was the result of the combined flow of two good sized streams.  These two streams joined each other about two and a half hours into the journey and their junction was our last river crossing. For three to four months of the year, you were locked in or locked out by the raging chest or higher torrents of rainy season water struggling to the sea.  Just a narrow path wound between the foothills and larger mountains behind them to a steep sided, rain forest covered valley which hosted the village of Kibalabag.

We left the relatively level valley floor and began a steep ascent up the side of the last mountain.  About 30 minutes later, we arrived at a fairly heavy jungle area which was very swampy.  Uncle John was just about done in with carrying the heavy radio.  I left him there and ran the last 15 to 20 minutes on the mushy trail through the swamp to Kibalabag.  To my parents great surprise, I ran up the stairs into our house. 

They quickly sent someone to help Uncle John and he arrived about half an hour later.  It was so good to be “home” that my parents agreed to let me stay with them for the time being.  A day or two later after teaching my folks how to run the radio, John went back with some local guides. I stayed and had a great time through the coming summer holiday and remember it fondly with a smile as I sit here writing this.

 

 This post is sponsored by The Emmrod Compact Fishing Rod system.  Emmrod compact fishing poles are the premier compact fishing systems designed for the Kayak, Canoe, small river or brook and stream fishermen.  Of course, it works in most circumstances and is designed for maximum flexibility.  So, if you are fishing for bluegills, sunfish, carp, bass, walleye, trout or bonito, there is an Emmrod configuration that will work great for you!  Visit me at www.MyCompactFishing.com

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