Located in the mountain ranges near Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan, the Suklib Cave is one of the tourist spots in the area. But for several students like Jasdrel Mae Austria, it may very well be their classroom for the school year.
Jasdrel is a Grade 11 student. Signal in the barangay where they live is very poor, so the students in her family have no choice but to find a better signal elsewhere — which happens to be Suklib Cave.
Suklib Cave is five kilometers away from their home and it would take an hour-long walk to get there.
“Kami pong tatlong magkakapatid at pinsan, napag-isipan po namin na para po makapag-aral po kami sa online class, pupunta po kami sa Suklib Cave. Doon lang po may malakas na signal (The three of us siblings and cousins, we thought of going to Suklib Cave to get a good signal for our online classes), ” she said.
Her sisters, Jastine Rain and Jas Ellaine, said they don’t mind the burden of traveling to the cave as long as they can still learn even amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Maglalakad po kami mahihirapan po kami, tsaka medyo delikado sakali pong uulan, (We have to walk to get there. It will be difficult and dangerous especially when it rains),” Jastine said.
With the enrollment still ongoing and the opening of classes is still a month away, these students have already prepared themselves for their cave journey. Jas said they already know what to do and what to bring once online classes start.
“Sakripisyo po talaga lalo na kapag mainit, tapos magbabaon pa po kami ng pagkain (It would really be a sacrifice especially during hot days. We would have to bring food),” she said.
For their parents Edna and Ayan Austria, having a cave for a classroom is not that bad compared to the COVID-19 risks their children might face if they were in a normal classroom.
Edna said the education of their children is very important to them, as parents. However, they are still thinking of ways on how to buy the gadgets their children would need for online classes.
“Aakyat po sana sila sa cave kung may magagamit silang gadget. Kaysa po mag-schoool sila,para wala silang makahalubilong ibang tao, doon nalang po sila sa cave (They were supposed to trek to the cave if they had a gadget they could use. They would rather go to the cave than go to the school where they have to mingle with other people),” she said.
Edna and Ayan are calling on the local government to provide their family assistance in obtaining the needed gadgets for their children once classes begin in August. AAC (with reports from Nestor Torres)
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