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Trekkers hold beach cleanup to raise funds for cancer patient

01 October 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The Trekkers picked up this much trash in their beach cleanup charity drive

A group of Filipino domestic workers who combine hiking with charity work scheduled a beach cleanup in Sai Kung for Sept 19, hoping to raise funds for a cancer patient in Manila.

But barely a week before the cleanup, the intended beneficiary, Marc Arquisola Palapaz, 38, passed away at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Centre due to Stage 3 sarcoma in his right leg.

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Palapaz’ death did not deter the Bagong Bayani (The Trekkers) group from their plan to help, though. They decided to push through with the project as scheduled, but this time, the funds to be raised would be sent to the family of the deceased.

Trekkers is a group founded nearly two years ago by Ligaya Francisco to hold charity hikes and trail or beach cleanups regularly to raise funds for members of the group whose families back home may have urgent need for financial help.


Francisco has said in a previous interview the priority is her fellow OFWs who have been excluded from any government dole-outs even if they, too, need help.

She said the group reaches out to any OFW, even a non-member, who is in dire need, especially those with a sick family member. In this particular case, Palapaz was a nephew of a group member.

Pindutin para sa detalye

On Sept 19, a handful of Trekkers numbering 13 led by Ligaya Lorilla, the “Ate” or big sister of the group, met up in Tseung Kwan O and headed all together to Clear Water Bay Beach 2.

The group targeted Clearwater Bay beach 2 for the 2-hour cleanup

The beach cleanup began at 11am and lasted until 1pm. The Trekkers were joined by a local Chinese resident who said it was her first time to participate in such a cleanup and found it fun.  

At the end of the two-hour endeavor, the group collected 11 plastic rubbish bags of litter from the right flank of the beach. At the same time, the group was able to collect donations totaling the equivalent of Php12,400.


The fundraising was triggered by an appeal from a niece of Trekkers member Mary Ann Rebucan Bautista for a charity cleanup to help Palapaz. The cancer-stricken patient at the time also suffered from pneumonia.

Bautista consulted Lorilla and the group, who agreed to the proposed cleanup for the cancer patient, who had a wife and two young children.

Palapaz passed on before the group could hold its fundraising for him

“Naawa sila sa sitwasyon niya kasi ang bata pa niya, 38 years old, may asawa at dalawang anak. Natigil din siya sa work kasi nagkasakit,” said Bautista. (They took pity on his [Palapaz’] situation because he was young, only 38, married and had two children.)

“Sa kasamaang palad, binawian din siya ng buhay, Sept 13, isang linggo after his surgery and before our cleanup for a cause event para sa kanya,” she added. (Unfortunately, he died on Sept 13, one week after his surgery and before our cleanup for a cause dedicated to him.)

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

Bautista said the Trekkers frequently carried out beach or trail cleanups to raise funds for the needy and to protect the environment.

“Ang paglilinis ng coastal areas ay malaking tulong para mapanatili nating ligtas ang ating kalikasan at kayamanang pandagat, lalo na sa mga seafoods na ating kinakain,” she said.  (Cleaning up the coastal areas is a big help in keeping nature and marine resources, especially the seafood we eat, safe.)

On Oct 3, the group will hold a more relaxing project near Discovery Bay Beach. The so-called “hammock festival” will see members tying colorful hammocks to tree trunks, in which they can take a nap or simply rest and enjoy the breeze.

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