Angelo Valencia, the country’s construction worker

Do you think this finalist deserves to be the Pitong Pinoy "People's Choice" awardee?

Vote at Yahoo! PH Pitong Pinoy


Lawyer Angelo Valencia did more than just help build a school on Mt. Pulag, the highest mountain on Luzon; he also helped toward bringing the kids from the community to colleges and universities.

“The idea is to eventually have more graduates than farmers there,” he tells Yahoo! Southeast Asia. By giving the kids on Mt. Pulag access to better education, he says, the farms there will not be for subsistence but sustenance. The alternative, he adds, is for more generations to stay farmers and if that happens, “the mountain cannot take care of them.”

In the meantime, the farmers on Pulag have been taught organic farming and a micro-financing facility has also been set up there to cultivate small businesses. 

Valencia, who calls himself a “social climber” as he was prompted to help the community while he was on sabbatical due to a heart ailment. “We have a saying among mountaineers that we should ‘leave no trace behind’, but I realized that when you leave the mountain, the guides there are left behind. Their lives stay the same,” he says.

So he decided to change that and leave, not trash, but the seed of a legacy for future generations of that community. It began with medical and dental missions, and helping out soon grew to plans to build class rooms in Sitio Babalak, where the Mt. Pulag Primary School stands.

“It was not an overnight thing, the plan to create a school, “ he says. The benefits to the children of Sitio Babalak will not come overnight, either. But with solar panels, TVs, a sound system, and a laptop for multimedia lessons in their school, the children now have a leg up towards a better life.

Valencia began building classrooms as a way of giving back to the guides who help mountaineers ascend Pulag but that advocacy has grown, with him partnering up with TEN (The Entire Nation) Moves, a campaign to build 10,000 classrooms in public schools across the Philippines.

More than that, TEN Moves is a movement of kindred spirits who want to do things for the country and make people’s lives better. That means giving children better access to education and their parents better means to earn money. “That’s the essence of it,” he says.

Although he is a lawyer, Valencia says he dislikes titles and airs when he puts on his TEN Moves hat. “Here, there are no titles, I prefer to call myself a construction worker. That’s what I am,” he says.

He dislikes the attention, too. He insists the team behind TEN Moves and General Juancho Sabban of Western Command, with whom he has been working to put up more classrooms, are the true heroes. 

When he was interviewed by Yahoo! Southeast Asia, Valencia was in Puerto Princesa in Palawan overseeing construction of classrooms that take just 10 days to build. “I’m not into micromanagement but I want to see that money raised goes to what it was meant for,” he says.
The idea is to eventually build schools all the way to Tawi-Tawi, which is separated from the southernmost part of Palawan by the Sulu Sea.

More than classrooms, though, Valencia explains he is helping build symbols of hope. “In some of these places, they don’t even have a Philippine flag. This is a way to show the people that the government and the private sector care for them and that there is hope,” he explains. And to have hope is the most important of all, Valencia says, because it is contagious.

Read about the other Pitong Pinoy finalists here.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options