Minutes just before sunrise, the brethren assembled with much anticipation of an uphill walk in San Mateo, Rizal. Half an hour later, we were already making our way into the thick of a crowd of joggers and cyclists.
Fitness experts have always emphasized the benefits of uphill walking. Compared to ordinary walking, uphill walking increases the number of calories burned as it forces the muscles to do more work. But aside from being an efficient cardio exercise, overlooking a breathtaking view is just awe-inspiring.
Our interest in an early morning uphill walk sparked from an intent to fellowship with a long-time church pillar we refer to as Tatay (he lovingly call young people apo – grandchild; in return, they tend to call him tatay – father/grandfather). However, my friends’ first adventure with him has encouraged an army of church members to tag along, an opportunity which he embraced with great delight. You see, he is a very independent man who is used to being alone in his endeavors.
At least twice or thrice a week, Tatay hikes this trail alone for three years. But three years of physical endurance is nothing compared to his spiritual journey—he has been a part of God’s church for 39 years, and has endured an ordeal of taking care of his bedridden wife for 10 years.
For us who are young, it’s as if our whole life is ahead of us. But let it be a stirring reminder that like this trail, our journey is not only a long and winding road, but also an uphill battle.
Original unedited photos courtesy of Mukishi and M. B. Mangahas
For another profile of Christian endurance, read on the brief encounter with this couple.