There was a hint of panic in the normally impassive face of Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes when we met at JY Square in Barangay Lahug last Saturday afternoon.
Judge Paredes, a veteran outdoorsman, was in climbing gear. The judge regularly climbs mountains, including Mt. Manunggal, and volunteered to guide Ungo Runners there after hearing we planned to run on Sunday part of the route of the 1st Cebu Ultramarathonfrom Mt. Manunggal to Capitol in Cebu City.
I, on the other hand, had never spent a night on a mountain (despite being born at the foot of one) and had clueless painted all over—wearing skimpy running shorts, a running shirt made of thin, porous, sweat-wicking fabric and a cycling backpack containing a notebook, ballpens, my wife’s tie-dye shawl, a headlamp and an extra pair of socks.
I was carrying a folded (not rolled) blanket on one hand and a rolled yoga mat, a plastic bag containing bottled water, trail mix, toiletries and another plastic bag of McDonald’s cheeseburger meal with extra-large fries on the other hand.
“Mao lang na imong dala (Is that all you’re bringing there)?” he asked. When I said yes, he was quick to say not to worry because he had extra jackets, sleeping bags and a tent. I didn’t know enough to worry. He then proceeded to check several large bags containing climbing gear at the back of his pickup.
In hindsight, I think he must have asked himself, “How could this kid survive out there?”