TREK Kibungan: Love for Polis

November 08, 2012 Voluntourism

Going to our outreach sites takes a lot of strength and willpower.  But that is part of our mission. We want to help schools that are deprived of much-needed resources because of their isolation. 

Our group is called TREK or TRails to Empower Kids.

For our 7th project, we reached out to Sitio Polis in Barangay Poblacion, Kibungan, Benguet.

Sitio Polis is home to the third largest cultural community in the mountain provinces of Northern Luzon, the Kankanais. The schools, Sitio Polis Elementary School and Sitio Polis Day Care Center serve five communities - Polis, Pakda, Ginawang, Liwan and Dacdacan.

Some students trek as much as two hours to get to school, sometimes using just makeshift bags, made of sacks. With that reality in mind, we were determined to give them the donations that we gathered from friends, relatives, and even from those who learned about the project only through social networking sites.

The site was recommended to us by our friends Mimis and Ranger.

The recon

We were hoping Mimis and Ranger could guide us during our recon but they already had an expedition planned that weekend, on the same mountain range. Only, they will take the really long route, and by long, I meant them entering from Nueva Vizcaya and exiting at Kibungan, Benguet, an estimated three days of walk, which turned out to be four.

They could not remember the name of the village but they gave us directions on how to go there. They instructed us to  follow the trail on the left side of Kibungan's municipal hall. We would walk for four hours, and there would be a long hanging bridge. 

Good thing Charo, a mountain guide and a current employee of the local government office, joined us.   

We descended the mountains for the first two hours of our trek. After going down what seemed like an endless staircase, we reached the long hanging bridge. From there, we took a short ascent, skirted the side of the opposite mountain until we reached another hanging bridge, a much shorter one. 

We passed by a total of four hanging bridges.

At 2:00 PM it started to pour. We decided to regroup and rest in the next waiting shed. By this time, we have already covered more than 3/4 of the trail.

We passed four hanging bridges

Stairs to and from Sitio Polis

We thought it was never ending.  It felt like it.

When the rains slowed a bit, I went ahead with Charo. I reached the community at 3:00 PM. I was almost winded.  The rain freshened me a bit.  

The members of the community were gathered in a hut beside the school, where the teachers live. There was a thermos ready and I was offered a drink. I thought it was coffee and I was too excited to sip. It was just hot water though but it warmed me enough.

We made a few attempts to converse, but there was a language barrier. I guess from the few words they could understand from me and from my wet clothes, they got part of my story. 

When the rest of the team arrived, we went to one of the classrooms, where we would sleep that night, and changed to dry clothes. We started preparing for our dinner after.  

We brought these chilies at the store near the municipal hall.  The store owner warned us about these small and plump chilies that looked almost like bell peppers.  My head felt like it exploded and my ears numbed when I took a bite of the chili or "sapuke".  

After settling in, we invited the Alternative Learning Systems teacher, Cleran Dayso for a discussion. After several attempts of pronouncing his name right, we just decided to call him Claire.  

We found out that some students trek as much as two hours to get to school, sometimes using just makeshift bags, made of sacks. 

Right then and there, we decided Kibungan would be the next TREK project.

The Outreach

Months after our recon, we went back to Polis for the outreach.

We arrived at our jump off point a bit delayed in our schedule. We were worried that the usual 2:00 PM rain storms in Barangay Poblacion would make our trek much more difficult, not to mention the donations that might get damaged.

But our prayers for good weather were heard. The sun shined until about 5:00 PM. 

Members of the community helping us carry the donation

Volunteer Pao with some books

It was almost dark when the last members of our team arrived. After securing our sleeping sites and taking off our shoes, we began preparing for the next day's activities, not minding the body aches caused by the long walk.

The next day, we were all up early, thanking God for another beautiful weather.

The school

We had books, backpacks filled with school supplies, educational toys, storybooks, raincoats, boots, and loot bags. 

Some volunteers manned the kitchen.  The locals appreciated it so much that the meals we cooked were all served to them.  During the program, I gave a short welcome remark and after that, we proceeded with the games for the children and some of the parents.  We distributed the gifts after the games. 

Preparing the feast

Thank You note from the kids

The volunteers


Loot bags

Members of the community returned the gesture by singing a beautiful thank you song for us.  It was another beautiful TREK.

After the outreach, we trekked back to the municipal hall, where we decided to spend the night.  Some of our volunteers had difficulty on the trek back and we had to send a rescue team.  But, thank God, before 8:00 PM, everyone was already at the municipal hall to rest.  Well, most chose to spend the night celebrating.  I joined them.

Other Good Travels


  1. Hello! I was in Kibungan last Nov 5-7, I hope I can join this event in the future. :)

    1. Please join us. We have six more schools to go to this year. Check