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Ilongga hikers raise money for native weavers

07 July 2019

The Sunday group of hikers.

Two groups of migrant workers who call themselves “Ilongga Hikers” held two separate  hikes last month to raise money for a unique project, the construction of a weaving center for Bagobo-Tagabawa weavers in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.

The hikes, held over the weekend on May 25 and May 26, raised enough money for the purchase of materials such as bamboo, nipa shingles and others for a building that can accommodate five weavers in a destitute community.

The materials these weavers produce from abaca will be turned into fabrics that can be used for clothes and bags, and provide them with livelihood.


The hikers who were mostly based in Hong Kong, trekked for about four hours to cover a 7.4- kilometer trail to Mt. High West, which lies between Victoria Peak and Mount Davies. Its peak offers a stunning 360-degree view of the city.

The hike is categorized as suitable for beginners, so more people were able to join the charity fundraiser.

The Saturday group.

Hikers were advised to bring a towel, phone, drinking water, hat or umbrella, sunscreen, extra shirt, food to share, and to wear comfortable hiking shoes.

Alona Tercepona, who led seven hikers on the first day, a Saturday, encouraged the group to keep moving with words like, “Hike while you can, create memories that last for a lifetime.”
Despite the overcast weather, the group happily trudged along and was rewarded by the rare and beautiful scenery that greeted them from the mountain top.

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One of the hikers, Jenelyn Malana, said: “Both my fitness goal and the desire to help  those who are in need was accomplished. I was able to nourish my body and meet  like-minded strangers with the same goals who became friends.”

Cheryl Gomez, who did the hike along with 19 others, including two Korean tourists, said: “Let us unite, get fit together and be a blessing to others. Any amount will do and for those who cannot hike but would love to help, we are also accepting monetary donations.”

Jay-R, a Filipino tourist who joined the hike, was impressed by the hospitality of the migrant workers who organized the event. “The OFWs in HK are really accommodating. Even if they didn’t know me personally they were hospitable and generous. I enjoyed hiking with them,” he said.

Another hiker, Sheila Gamo, said she was grateful for the “refreshing, holistic ang meaningful hike.”

The rainy day did not stop them having fun, said Ligaya Lorilla. “Hindi man nasunod ang plano dahil sa ulan, super enjoy naman ang mga girls. Everyone had a warm smile for each other, na para bang matagal na kaming magkikilala. Basa na kami pero tuloy pa rin ang hike pagkatapos ng ulan. Thanks a lot for my new friends, mabuhay kayo.”

Ana De Vera said viewing Hong Kong island from the peak was breathtaking. Plus, she very much enjoyed the company of everyone.

Their Korean visitors were equally jubilant, noting that “At first the ladies were quiet but after drinking soju, a korean liquor, they started telling stories”.

Ilongga Hikers say they are an amateur group that loves hiking, and would like to invite all like-minded people to join them in their adventures. But they warn that every joiner must assume responsibility for their own actions and safety.
To follow their footsteps to Mt High West, take Bus 15 at the terminus in Exchange Square and get off at the Morning Walk Trail. – by George Manalansan

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