10-Nov-2008 -- Being a professional surveyor, an avid photographer and a frequent traveler to the Philippines means geotagging my photos is a hobby for me. What is more natural than geotagging a photo at a degree confluence? Hence, my decision to set a place mark on GoogleEarth at all degree confluences in the Philippines and study which might be achievable. Much to my surprise, N8W126 turns out to be in the "backyard" of a family I have known for over a decade -- the Vidal's of Veruela, Agusan del Sur. The father, Mayorico, is the retired chief of police and his son, Joseph, works in the barrio administration so I invited them to hike to the confluence with me. They readily accepted.
We traveled by van along a mostly paved but in spots very rough road until the GPS was pointing perpendicular to the road. Conveniently, there was a smaller path, passable by motorbike but too narrow for the van so we walked it for about 1/2 kilometer. Here the GPS pointed into a huge maze of wetland rice padis. We walked carefully balancing on the narrow berms separating the padis taking left and right turns at the rectangular intersections as required to get closer to the confluence. After about another 1/2 kilometer we arrived at an intersection that was just 45 feet (about 15 meters) from the confluence which was in a padi elbow deep in mud tinged with caribou urine so I decided to invoke the 100 meter rule to avoid wadding to the actual zero spot. Because the area was flat and devoid of large trees, the Garmin GPSmap 60CSx was showing strong WAAS differentially corrected signals from 8 satellites and indicating a probable error of 10 feet so I am claiming with a high degree of certainty an approach to within 17 meters. After taking the requisite photos of the spot, the four cardinal directions, the GPS face and each other, we returned back to the path and road with a sense of accomplishment. To be fair, I have to acknowledge, I am no great explorer and I am sure if anyone before me had noticed how easy this particular confluence would be, they would have beaten me to it by years!