BORONGAN CITY – Just a week after a teenager pedaled his way from Metro Manila to Eastern Samar, another local resident arrived at the provincial border but this time just on his own two feet.
Roel Navidad, a 27-year-old construction worker from Gen. MacArthur town, arrived at the Taft checkpoint on the morning of 29 September after over a month of trekking from Manila.
His story went viral on social media when Vince Yadao, a frontliner government employee who was manning the checkpoint, posted on his Facebook page a photo of Navidad.
According to Yadao, Navidad left Metro Manila in the third week of August and decided to just take a walk since he has no money to pay for the fare after losing his job in construction due to the pandemic.
He said that when Navidad entered Sorsogon he was subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine until he was released on 16 September.
Navidad resumed his hike until he reached Matnog, Sorsogon, where he took a ferry going to San Isidro, Northern Samar.
From Northern Samar, Navidad hitched on a truck going to Jiabong, Samar, where he walked again until he reached Eastern Samar’s checkpoint in the town of Taft.
The road distance from Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon is 591 kilometers, while Jiabong, Samar to Taft, Eastern Samar is 81.5 kilometers.
When Navidad reached Taft border, the personnel manning the checkpoint immediately informed the local government unit of Gen. MacArthur regarding the arrival of one of its residents. A rescue vehicle of the LGU picked him up at the checkpoint and immediately brought him to the town’s community quarantine.
Josephine Corre, the municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer of Gen MacArthur, said the LGU was able to find the relatives in Brgy. 3 of the municipality.
Teresita Samarro, an aunt of Navidad, said the relatives have lost contact with him but they are happy to have him finally back.
Navidad is the second returning resident of Eastern Samar who went on a daring journey to come home from Metro Manila in the past two weeks.
On September 21, Peter Roncales, 19 year-old son of a taho vendor, arrived at the Taft checkpoint after biking for 10 days from Parañaque City.