Mindanao, Philippines-Jungle Trekking 1

Discussion in 'Trips & Expeditions' started by bear the dog, May 2, 2012.

  1. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    So, after Holy Week in Pampanga, and after a never ending journey to, and from Banaue Rice Terraces, we made our way down south to see my friend Joey in Mindanao.

    Mindanao is a place in the Philippines that has been featured in three episodes of the show Locked Up Abroad due to the Abu Sayyaf group who kidnapped tourists and took them to Mindanao.

    The Abu Sayyaf Group is the most violent of the Islamic separatist groups operating in the southern Philippines and claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao. The group currently engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, assassinations, and extortion. Abu Sayyaf means "father of the swordsman" in Arabic.


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    Our first walk around the block when we arrived there was with Joey who wanted to show us his Barrio. Before stepping outside, he loaded his handgun, and stuffed it in his waistband. “Ok, let’s go,” he said. I told him many times, and way in advance, that Reza and I would be visiting Mindanao as tourists from Egypt. He said ok, but I think in his dialect it means we want the entire peninsula to know where the Americans are. Everywhere we went Joey was yelling at people from the street to come meet his American friends. Great!
    The people were all very friendly and seemed like not too many of the locals didn’t have family in the US, mainly California. All was going well on the streets as Joey pointed out this “stain” on the ground about 100 yards from his house. Story goes, last Sunday, which was Easter Sunday, two guys had an argument and 32 slashes of a bolo later, it was settled. One guy in jail and the other---the morgue!

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    When the airplane lands in Mindanao, it lands in the jungle. Just about anywhere you go in Mindanao, you in the jungle! There is town, Dipolog City, and it’s safe, but when tourists take to the jungle, it isn’t. The Abu Sayyaf is set up in the jungle and this way it is advised by everyone there to not go into the jungle, period.

    For this reason, we were under close watch by my friend Joey and his people. I think Reza and I felt like we were 3 years old again. Everywhere we went in the jungle we had people fallowing us and usually armed. They called them escorts, but what they really were was full blown babysitters. Badass jungle guys they were though, and it was like being in jungle school seeing how they cook, hunt, make fire, open coconuts, and manage to monkey hunt up the steepest mountains with a rifle in one hand, bolo strapped to their waist, and a cigarette that never seems to go out.

    Monkey hunt hike

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    First, assemble the escorts
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    Check out his cool leather pack
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    Check out his cool…carabaoness
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    Ant nest
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    Only the largest guava I have ever seen.
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    Reza having a much needed coconut
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    Taking a break as the monkey’s taunt from their trees.

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    Peak
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    Making a cup to tap some bamboo and collect some h20.
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    Roasting the pig in constant rain was a chore to keep the fire going
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    Shelter making
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    Try it out
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    Coconut wine
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    DPx model?
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    Reza took this with my camera. We were a great source for their amusement.

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    One of my favorite pictures of the trip
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  2. justin_baker

    justin_baker Bushmaster

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    That was great! It's a shame that so many beautiful places are so dangerous.
     
  3. statikpunk

    statikpunk Guide

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    great pics!
     
  4. Hiwa

    Hiwa Guide

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    Awesome Reuben !
    My wife's Filipino and I've seen a lot of that country also.( Cagayan , Near Tuguegarao)
    Nothing beats a whole pig roast !
    The hunt looks like a really good time.

    Pete :)
     
  5. solocanoe

    solocanoe Bushmaster

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    wow...that's awesome - thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

    RYP's blade in some of the habitat he disigned it for too - very cool.
     
  6. mibuwulf

    mibuwulf Tracker

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    Thank you for taking us with you and taking the time out to share!
     
  7. ckirk1311

    ckirk1311 Scout

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    Thanks very much!
     
  8. joe305

    joe305 Guide

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    Awesome trip....I can believe this thread is dead....

    I Have a couple questions:

    Those "Croc" looking shoes you were using...do you regret it or were they a good choice.

    What kind of gear were you both using?
     
  9. Keepntime

    Keepntime Scout Bushclass I

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    Thanks for the pics and taking us along for the journey!
     
  10. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    [​IMG]
    Jungle Guide Wearing His Crocs.

    The Croc shoes were perfect for that environment. There were no black palms like in Peru, so I wasn’t too worried about getting shanked by any. The jungle is wet and the best way to keep your feet dry is to have them open so they can dry fast. There is no wet sock on a wet foot stuffed in a leather box. I noticed last year when I was in a different part of the jungle in Philippines that most people were just wearing sandals or crocs. I normally just wear moccasins hiking in the states and running shoes for hiking years before that, so ankle support wasn’t an issue for me. I did get extra mosquito and ant bites, but no blisters or jungle rot like in 2007 when I wore boots in the Amazon.

    For gear, pretty simple and boring. Small survival kit, bolo, and smallish fixed blade knife. My pack was a Gossamer Gear Minimalist and it had a rain poncho/tarp by Integral Designs, and a platypus 2L. First aid kit was Neosporin and duct tape.

    Let me know if you have any more gear questions.

    -RB
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  11. Taliesin

    Taliesin Guide

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    Hey, thanks for taking us along on that journey! Where all have you been?
     
  12. Swampfox

    Swampfox Scout

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    Thanks for the report and photos. It's always enjoyable to see others on treks & excursions that some of us may never be able to take.
     
  13. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy Guide

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    Very cool adventure indeed. That's quite an environment. I would have probably felt on edge the whole time with the threat of being kidnapped or worse but it looked enjoyable and it's good to see some good people still there despite the bad apples so to speak.
     
  14. OLD DOG

    OLD DOG Scout

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    Great trip. To bad the armed guards are necessary.
     
  15. Longbeard

    Longbeard on the PCT Bushclass III

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    That is some kick a$$ bushcraft there my friend, epic post.
     
  16. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    So... did you get to try some monkey meat?
     
  17. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    Been where? In the Philippines?

    That was kind of the underlining tone of the trip, but I think we had a lot of fun despite that feeling. I only met good people there. I also got the feeling that people felt they had to look out for us and if anything went down, they would do their best to hide us from danger.

    I agree. They were great people to talk to and I learned a lot from hiking with them and staying in the jungle.

    Thanks, the guys in the background and the locals are the real experts out there or in any environment where the natives still live in the bush. I experienced this in Western Australia with the Aborigines, and in the Amazon rainforest.

    No we didn’t. The people in the village had a monkey they caught and would sell to us to eat if we didn’t catch one. Reza and I decided we would eat what we catch, but not buy one. Besides, it looked real scared. I took a photo of it, but it came out way blurry. Let it live another day, we had so much roasted pig.
     
  18. bush_buzzard

    bush_buzzard Tracker

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    Man, I would so love to go with you guys. I made a fancy jungle machete and the only thing I ever get to cut with it is mesquite. That was a true adventure. Thanks. You guys are awesome.
     
  19. Taliesin

    Taliesin Guide

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    No, in the world. You also mentioned Peru.
     
  20. chutes

    chutes Tracker

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    Awesome story and pics BTG :) Philippines is on my to-do list. I really want to visit Tawi Tawi, but I heard that's worse than Mindanao.

    The green ants in your photo. The locals didn't mention using them at all?
     
  21. zammer

    zammer Guide

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    Great to see different parts of the world and how people adapt to the various geographic differences, thanks for the pics looked like a great time.
     
  22. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    Did you make a custom blade?
    Let's see it.

    Yes sir. Doing wilderness stuff hiking, and learning/teaching survival based skills: Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada---all in the US.
    Outside of the US: Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Bora Bora, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Croatia, Philippines (4x), and Peru (4x). We are leaving for Peru in less than a week for a 7 day survival trip.

    Nothing about the green ants, is there something cool we can do with them? All in all, it is a great country with lots of volcanoes, mountains, jungle, and water activities.
     
  23. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    great stuff as usual Reuben.. look slike an amazing trip..
     
  24. chutes

    chutes Tracker

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    They're all over SE Asia, right down to northern Australia, which is how I know about them.

    Some cultures use them, but others don't.

    The Green Ant can be used in the following ways -

    - Boil a nest to provide a medicine for colds and coughs - also works for headache
    - Throw a handful of ants into a billy for a refreshing lemon drink
    - Crush some ants and rub resulting liquid onto lesions or minor wounds as an antiseptic.

    Willie Gordon gives some other uses on his page here: http://guurrbitours.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/yangga-amazing-green-ant.html
     
  25. yoteslayer

    yoteslayer Tracker

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    Thats pretty awesome, it looks like your'e into the type of travelling I'd like to do: worldwide bushcraft! You've never lived life until you've gone to a 3rd world country and risked getting your head chopped off on the internet! I salute your adventurous spirit.

    On a side note you had another thread regarding the gear you were taking to the Randall's jungle training in Peru. I can't seem to find it. Could you point me in the right direction or tell me if its been deleted?
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  26. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    It sucks trying to enjoy yourself when there is that feeling that you may kidnapped. Felt that way in Mexico in 2009 and in here in Mindanao. It was great life experience though and everything went well.

    Thanks for looking.

    As for the other post, your guess is as good as mine. Looks like it was deleted.


    -RB
     
  27. Averageiowaguy

    Averageiowaguy Guest

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    Just so you guys know, Reuben (bear the dog) is an instructor for Randall's Adventure and Training, and he was an instructor when I took the course. Lest there be any doubt, Reuben knows his stuff. Many of the gear choices I've made have come from discussions with Reuben. We carry slightly different brands of gear, but basically have the same load out. Also, what you carry as an instructor is different from what you carry as a student. My video on gear for the RAT course was shot for the potential students.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2012
  28. thesamspot

    thesamspot Tracker

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    That looks like an outstanding adventure, and an incredible jungle!
     
  29. yoteslayer

    yoteslayer Tracker

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    WEAK. Thats pretty ridiculous. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Definitely more interesting than pictures of twig bundles or what type of spoon you carry in the bush:3:
     
  30. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    No problem at all. Moderators do things for a reason and you got to respect it. I MOD on forums too, it can be a little tough. That being said, I like this place and the people here.

    Thanks for looking, I just like sharing and learning from people wherever possible .

    -RB
     
  31. Leif

    Leif Staff Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    If you're bored here, you can always go elsewhere.
     

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