03-Jun-2009 -- Using Google Earth, I identified the whole degree confluence at 7 North / 126 East as being possible by day trip from Davao, the largest city on the Island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines where my fiancee Karen lives. I marked Jun 3rd on my itinerary and although we used my fiancee's car, we hired our usual driver, Dennis, to do the actual pothole dodging -- roads in the Philippines take so long to build (years!) that the beginning is pounded into pieces by the ridiculously overweight trucks and speeding buses long before the end is completed so "repair" is perpetual (I first noticed this pothole phenomenon on my first visit to Mindanao in 1964 and nothing has changed).
Unlike my previous confluence visit (to 8N126E) where I had a local police chief with me, my initial plan for this visit was to wing it trusting only to the GPS and common sense. However, as we parked, my 6-0 260 lb frame attracted the attention of the Barangay Captain who just happened to be building a new school house a few hundred feet away. After introducing myself and explaining my purpose by showing him I wanted my GPS to read all zeros, he not only authorized our traipsing around among the coconut trees and caribou wallows but offered to walk along with us.
From our parking spot, the GPS showed about 1 km to the confluence but the direction was somewhat across the grain of the drainage so we had to jump or skip from rock to rock several time to cross small water courses. About 1/2 way there we followed up the seam between two hillocks passing a caribou and her calf along the way. The area of the confluence is open and generally flat except for the current and former wallows. The former ones were heavily overgrown with low weeds and vines and very hard to see or avoid but never the less muddy and wet when accidentally stepped into!
Perhaps because the tall vegetation was coconut trees with narrow trunks and just a cluster of fronds, the Garmin GPS Map 60CSx easily locked onto and tracked 8 satellites. However, there was some drift and even though I stood stationary in the initially indicated spot, at times the "goto" screen showed the confluence to be as much as 30 feet (10 meters) away before it finally settled down indicating a precision of 11 feet (4 meters).
We chatted a bit and took the required photos before heading back. This area is very nondescript with hillocks and coconuts marching off in all directions. It was very confusing and even Don Don was grateful for the guidance of the GPS to make our return. However, once we were close to his school building project, he guided us away from the streams and to a single crossing where he had his workers lay several planks from bank to bank so we could balance our way across. After thanking Don Don and contributing some peso to him and his crew for their after work "snack," Karen and I returned to the car and found Dennis had had a nice nap! Before closing this narrative I need to extend kudos to Karen as she was a last minute addition and easily hopped, skipped and jumped the streams and puddles in good spirits wearing only sandals--amazing girl!