A WEDDING in Iligan -- As foster parents to a groom, a former Philippine Military Academy cadet and now an army Captain of the armed forces, we traveled to Mindanao to celebrate with Michael Edison as he tie the knot and commit himself to a pretty bride who will soon become Mrs. Mimay.
We reached the place on sunrise seeing the early morning sun appearing from the side window of the country's flag carrier and it landed just as Michael called to know if we have arrived.
The wedding took place at a cathedral being renovated in Iligan City following Filipino catholic wedding tradition. There were an entourage of high-ranking military officials in the sponsor's line-up and my wife and I were just too happy for the new couple.
On Sunday morning, we went on tour at the Maria Cristina Falls where electric power is being generated at the Department of Energy power plant. I learned that the cascading water came from Lake Lanao which is also historic to me and over a dozen Cordillera delegates especially that it brings back memories to our CAR-Armm consultation when we had an educational tour sometime in 1997. We also descended the much talked about Tinago Falls with about 400 steps where most tourist go for outdoor events in Iligan. As its name implies, the place is truly covered with lush greeneries and part of the thrill is the zigzagging trail that leads to the amazing falls below.
As one who grew in the Cordilleras, this one is a piece of cake and I even took obligatory selfies and tasted the spring water along the trail. After our picnic like lunch overlooking the falling rapids, I decided to remove my shoes, rest under big trees and do what they call as "grounding" or "earthing" to absorb the natural energies of the earth from the ground.
A renowned cardiologist, Dr. Stephen Sinatra in a statement published at www.groundology.co.uk says that "Grounding, or earthing, refers to connecting electrically with the Earth. A growing body of research is finding numerous health benefits as a result of the physical body being grounded. Unfortunately, with our modern rubber or plastic soled shoes and insulated sleeping arrangements, we no longer have a natural electrical connection to the Earth, unless walking barefoot."
I rested my feet on two big rocks with about half my weight pressing my soles against the dry rocks with mosses at its sides.
The feeling reminds me of my boyhood's farming days where I often rest my bare feet on muddied earth and rest my back on protruding tree roots that are anchored on the ground. I also learned about the health benefits of spending time or walking below trees and it is likewise termed as "forest bathing". My feet stayed grounded for about an hour and as heavy clouds were about to form above, we started to walk up back to our waiting van.
Compared to the unswimmable Maria Cristina Falls, the water flowing at Tinago is far cleaner and clearer and the mist being swept by the mountain breeze soothes and relieves our stressed muscles.
In all my travels, I always look around for places that has historic
significance to the locality that more or less tells something about its people. From our hotel, I walked following my instinct and reached Iligan's public market in a state of being cleared perhaps for the reconstruction of a bigger and better trading center. They say that public markets reflects the soul of the community as it tells what people buy, eat, wear and give away as gifts.
This travel is also an opportunity for Helen and me to once more tour around the country as we did in Dipolog, Zamboanga and Davao. My wife is an active member of the PMA Host Parents Association and said civic group is turning forty years this August. It is also good to note that former Lt. General. Benjamin Magalong of PMA Class '82 was among the first batch of cadets who came to know about the program which provides wards from far places such as Visayas and Mindanao a home away from their homes. As for me, my experiences with the country's premiere military institution dates back as early as 1983 when I covered the PMA graduation as a newbie news reporter. It was also that time when I first captured President Ferdinand E. Marcos with my film camera. Now, my black and white images that I developed myself are already fading and some turned sepia making me realize why my left knee is also showing signs of wearing out.