Pantukan: An area of Mindanao where a thick vein of high-grade gold ore provides the livelihoods of some 35,000 indigenous small-scale miners.
The mission team, fresh from a night’s rest in the comforts of Apo View Hotel, slimmed down from the divorce of the Talaingod medical team and streamlined to youthfulness by the prospect of harder roads& habal habal driving.
After meeting with the mayor of Pantukan, we stepped outside to mount or motor-cross bikes
My driver won the only Philippine 2012 Olympic gold in mountain motor cross rally (MMX). I was thrilled to be part of his team as we sped by the world through the sun and the rainstorm on our way to lunch at the top of the mountain.
Kuya Haniel from the Methodist Federation of Social Action even attempted the pommel horse routine as he mounted his habal-habal…
After lunch, the local organizers shared the struggle of small-scale mining rights in the area, and trying to protect their source of livelihood from open pit mining.
The trip down from our sharing took a lot longer due to 4 hours of heavy rainfall, washed out trails and crossings that required getting down from the motorcycle and wading through waist deep water. The mayor of Pantukan offered us dinner and we gladly accepted, some of us enjoying our first taste of Lechon.