Filipino mountaineer Adrian Alba got swept away by the strong current of the Wawa River in Rodriguez, Rizal while his team was doing a rope-assisted river crossing yesterday, September 4, 2011. Adjhong, as his friends call him, is still missing up to now despite various search and rescue operations done yesterday and today.
The Facebook wall of Adrian, 25, is now filled with messages from his friends – some are worried for the worse that could happen, while some are positive that the waters just brought Adrian somewhere and he's already safe. They know Adrian as a fighter, someone who doesn't easily give up. His close friends are sure Adrian wouldn't give up without a fight.
A news report said that the 22-member team was there for a Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) with river crossing. And if that is Adrian's first BMC, it's just too bad that the hands-on came a little too early.
It has also been reported that the team paid a gate pass at the barangay office saying they would only do sight-seeing. The team also failed to get proper permits from the tourism office of Rodriguez, Rizal. Had they done so, assistance could have been given to them as it is part of the town's ordinance to give assistance to whoever will hold activities inside the Pamitinan Protected Landscape where the Wawa River is located. It is also the tourism office's role to give permission or reject any activities depending on how big and strong the river's currents are.
Latest news reports said that Adrian's backpack has already been recovered. Also the Philippine Coast Guard has already joined the operation, which has gone from Search and Rescue to a saddening Search and Retrieval.
A comment thread on the Pinoy Mountaineer Facebook page said something saddening. I'm not really superstitious but I have heard of places, especially bodies of water, that regularly take away lives, especially of strangers visiting the place for the first time. The commenter said the Wawa River is one of those places.
Right now, all we can do is hope and pray that Adrian Alba is safe somewhere along the banks of the Wawa River, just resting to muster enough strength to look for his way back home.
Through this post, I'd like to reach out to his family to say that I, along with Adrian's mountaineer friends as well as those who have just known him through this bad news, will continuously pray for his safety until the time he comes back.
Below is the video of the news report regarding the Wawa River incident involving Adrian Alba.
* I took the liberty to use one of Adjhong's Facebook photos. I hope he doesn't mind.