Wenn die Berge rumpeln

 

It was not so long ago that on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, certain tribes would confront each other in bloody battle. The victor would carry home the head of his enemy as a trophy to render him homage. These wars were waged far from civilization, high up in the cordillera that conceals hundreds of villages. To put an end to such conflicts and impose the authority of the state, the Philippine Government decided to build a road between Bontoc and Tabuk, the two major cities of the north. A titanic work of construction began more than one hundred years ago and yet, today, the road seems no more than a track. It is called the Road of the Kalingas, the Road of the Head Hunters. Every day, Christopher, the site manager tries to use his diggers to open the road and every night the mountain recovers a section of it. Thousands of cubic metres of earth and rock that carry everything in their passage. The next day, if the machines have not been buried by the landslides, everything must be started again. The Kalingas is actually an important economic axis. Bus drivers take every sort of risk to get their passengers to their destination. It takes nearly a day, if all goes well, to cover the 90 kilometres. There is no public service; all the buses are private. Ed is the owner and driver of a bus that is more than twenty years old and which sways dangerously. Were it not for the driver’s skill, the bus could plunge into a ravine at any moment, as too often happens. Fernando clears the road. He removes every rock that blocks their path. But, above all, to avoid being swept away by a landslide, he scans the mountain. At the least rock, the least sign of a slide, Fernando stops the bus. Certain, very isolated villages, are inaccessible. Then you must either walk for long hours or take a motorbike taxi to reach your destination. Watari and his daredevil bikers fear nothing. Without helmets and wearing only sandals they carry their passengers and their goods. This impossible road is also the one taken by thousands to meet Santino. This man is said to have the gift of making the lame walk and curing the seriously sick. According to him, he can even raise the dead thanks to a miracle water. This bus also carries adventurers dreaming of riches. At the very top of the mountains there are gold mines...

 

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