Voluntourism Philippines.

TREK Quirino

Early this month, our group traveled to Quirino, a landlocked province in the Cagayan Region.  We journeyed for almost 15 hours, 4 hours on foot on a trail filled with mud that sometimes slope up to 45 degrees.  

After crossing 7 streams, we reached a community situated on top of a mountain.  There we met Maestro Diego, the lone teacher at Sitio Tamsi, San Dionisio II, in Nagtipunan, Quirino.

In 2005, Maestro Diego was assigned to conduct a study on putting up a school at that area.  At first he was hesitant, but he did anyway and from then on, he started teaching until he became a regular teacher in 2009. 

Today, he has 70 students ranging from kinder to grade 4.  Due to the long trek, he lives there during weekdays and goes home to his family in Santiago City, Isabela on weekends.

Tamsi is a part or a group that belongs to an ethnic group called Ilongot. Since the community is in a remote area and has a growing population, the government decided to put up a primary school within its community, which is now Tamsi Primary School.

We asked Maestro Diego why he chose to trek hours every week, live in a community with no electricity and limited water source and he said, "there is no greater  calling and feeling. Here they call me 'Maestro' an utmost respect that cannot be bought or be given to any teacher individually."

Please help us support Maestro Diego.  On August 26, we will go back to Tamsi Primary School to deliver the school's much needed assistance.  The students are in dire need of school supplies, books, rain gears and lamps.  

Aside from Tamsi Primary School, we will also visit Kakidugen Primary School and hopefully bring them also help.

TREK Quirino will be the Trails to Empower Kids or TREK's 13th mission.

Our first was in December 2007 in Sitio Saybuan in Itogon, Benguet.  We were also able to reach out to Sentrong Paaralan ng mga Agta in Casiguran Aurora last May 2008; Lubo Elementary School and Tandudan High School in Kalinga last December 2008; Malibang Elementary School, Malibang Pre-school, Cacalaggan Primary School, Aurora Primary School, Flora Primary School and Lydia Primary Schools in Pudtol, Apayao last May 2009; Aeta Resettlement Site in Subic, Zambales last September 2009; the typhoon victims of Tanay, Rizal and Pangasinan; Kalapnit Elementary School in San Luis, Aurora in December 2009; Sitio Polis, Brgy Poblacion, Kibungan Benguet last August, 2010; Saybuan Primary School, Petican Elementary School and Tinongdan Elementary School in Itogon, Benguet last December 2010; Atan Elementary School in Purok Atan, Brgy. Runrono, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya last August 2011; the typhoon victims of Dilasag, Aurora also in 2011; and Sentrong Paaralan ng mga Agta in Brgy. Ildefonso, Casiguran, Aurora last January 2012.

Our group is composed of mountaineers and we go to remote communities to deliver aid to students.  

We are again asking for your help in making this mission a success.  For details, log on to www.trailstoempowerkids.com.
Kelly Austria Kelly Austria Author

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