Monday, November 17, 2008


I HAVE A NEW FRIEND. He may be about 12 or 13 years old and a sixth grader of Napo Elementary School, located in Sapangdaku, a mountain barangay of Cebu City. Everyday he wakes up at four of dawn to help his mother prepare breakfast and packed lunch for him and his younger sister. At half-light of 5:00 AM, he and his sister starts to go down the trail for Napo and reaches their school several minutes past six. Then they go home after five in the afternoon and reach their home in darkness at almost seven in the evening.

They do that five times a week of each month for nine months of a year and repeats the process until they have graduated from elementary. It is different though when it is raining in their area. They reach their destinations late and sometimes they skip their classes if the weather is found unfavorable for them.

In my new friend's case, hopefully, he will be graduating in March or April next year- 2009. I asked him where would he study high school after graduating? He shrugged his shoulders and, courageously holding back tears, he told me that his parents could not support his studies and it all depended upon his father if he could earn enough income from his farming. I was moved and I wished at that moment I am Bill Gates or John Gokongwei. But I am not.

For your information, my friend's house is located on a hill between the trailhead in Napo and the tower area in Mount Babag. It is in the middle of nowhere and nobody's going there except they and us backpackers. But only few city-dwellers have traveled by my friend's house for the trail that passed by there is not known yet to most of our weekend-strutting kind. The trail also happens to be the most challenging and most difficult trail around here. It is different from the numerous trails that criss-crossed at the back of the Guadalupe church.

Ernie Salomon led me and Boy Toledo to this trail and I named that trail “Ernie's Trail”. It is marked by very steep ascents and quite slippery when it is raining. I have made this trail as a training area and to keep fit everytime there is a lull in our mountaineering activities. Now, back to my friend. I would like to help him in my own little way by endorsing him in my weblog and other sites where, hopefully, like-minded individuals would extend their generosity to give my friend an opportunity to make a difference in his life.

In my friend's case, he do have a name and a face. His name is -


A face:

And a contact number:


It's a SMART number and SMART has a strong presence there being one of the relay steel towers found atop Mt. Babag. Call or text him. If you want him to respond immediately, pass a load to him through SMART Load or PasaLoad. If you prefer the latter, well and good. Just type his mobile number in your keypad, and a space and the amount (2, 5 or 10) you intended to pass (ex. 09285821157 10) and “Send” it to 808. Better yet, copy his number and save it in your cellphone directory and share it with others.

You see, everytime we climb Mt. Babag, Manwel would lend his knowledge and familiarity with the terrain and partly guide us. In return, we would give him a little amount. Or, at times, we would bring bread or snacks for them to eat. Or, sometimes, we gave away some canned goods, discarded textbooks and reading materials, used shoes and clothes. So, in this context, I would appreciate it if we give something back to our less-privileged brothers like Manwel here by hiring them as our “official” trail guides everytime we visit their area and give them something in return for their labor even if WE already know the way. For sure, we have other Manwels in our mind.

Right now, we'll start from here. Let's help Manwel.

God bless you all!

Document done in OpenOffice, Trebuchet MS font, size 12.


the donG said...

astig nga si manwel! galing at meron din akong na meet na ganyan sa mt gulugod sa batangas. galing ng mga yan kasi doon talaga sila lumaki.

salamat sa pagbigay pugay at pagkakakilala kay manwel sa blog mo.

PinoyApache said...

thank you dong ho. i have a soft spot for these under-privileged children who have rare opportunities to succeed in life let alone to finish their studies.

PinoyApache said...

this is the least i can do for them...God bless you!

baldasiwannabe said...

bai, your story about Manwel made me cry. yes your right about this, "I was moved and I wished at that moment I am Bill Gates or John Gokongwei. But I am not"... thats how i wished also, so i can help the likes of Manwel. bai, will it be okay if maka join in one of your climb in Mt. Babag? by the way, taga cebu ra pud ko. god bless to you.

Jerry Pescadero said...

Are you Jing of CEMS?

Nice story there.

PinoyApache said...

@baldasiwannabe, i am always available if in the event you want to flex your leg muscles going up to mt. babag.

@Jerry Pescadero, yes, I am Jing of the Cebu Mountaineering Society. I guess you have known me in the trail?

rencalago said...

thanks for reading my post PinoyApache.

yes. those situation really touches my heart. When i see kids in rural areas in their school uniforms i feel impress at the same time pity because they have the courage to walk long distance just to catch up their class

PinoyApache said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PinoyApache said...

Last November 29, me, Dr. Abe Manlawe, Boy Toledo, Boy Olmedo, Glenn Lao, Brian Gera and three guests from - Vince, Dusty and Wally - visited Manwel and his family during our trek there. We brought them bundles of joy and our hearts were elated to see big smiles on their faces. they treated us with a buko party in return. On December 14, we will return there bringing another set of bundles of joy. special thanks to Tata Caumeran for parting away part of her wealth and Ben Lao for his as well and his time and his guitar.

PinoyApache said...

We brought another set of bundles of joy to Manwel and his family on December 14 during a day! It's a good feeling to make other people smile! Thanks to Doc, Glenn D, Boy T and Ernie for their time and wealth. Ditto with Aldinson, Lisa, Andrew and Jim of ONE Cebu and Vince of Oh, I almost forgot! To Shadow, my new friend, a Siberian Husky. He he...