How Far Will You Go to Help A Stranger?

Can you imagine yourself carrying someone to the hospital? Perhaps your mom in need or a really cute stranger requiring medical assistance can prompt you to go out of your way. But how far will you go?

The Mangyans who reside in a remote mountain community in Mindoro, Philippines carry their patients to the nearest medical center. Well, you might think that that’s just nice of them. But how would you react if you knew that they carried strangers on a makeshift stretcher using a native hammock and bamboo pole. Some people I’ve talked to said that it was so “Neanderthal” to use such tools. That’s what you get from asking someone oblivious of the fact that in spite of the medical advancements and innovations in the medical industry, many parts of the world still don’t get the necessary equipment.

The true challenge

But that’s not half of the problem the Mangyans have to contend with. Apart from the fact that they have to carry the patient, they have to cross more than 10 rivers and weave through several mountain passes. A one-way trip will take at least 3 hours if nothing goes wrong. A mere brief rain shower can set them back a few more hours and make the terrain less hospitable.

On a good day, the land is already challenging even for able-bodied people. Now include a patient dangling on a makeshift stretcher as you weave through the mountain, rugged paths and rivers. Challenging can be truly an understatement.

Upon reaching the foot of the mountain, the ordeal is not yet over. Getting to this point is just another point where prayers, hopes and faith are tested. The ambulance on feet and the patient hope that there is a dump truck (or any vehicle for that matter) will pass by. Otherwise, another 4 hours of walking is needed to reach the nearest town.

Obviously getting a free ride is a blessing they hope for. But when they do get one, this is by no means the end of their trials. After all the trouble there were times when they arrived at the town’s medical center without a doctor or a qualified medical employee to help them. Yup, that’s a bummer. They are left with no choice but to go back home and return another day.

It's in Filipino but the video will speak for itself.

Can you do this without complaining?

The Mangyans of Mindoro, hoists strangers on their shoulders and trudge down mountains and cross rivers without a single contemptuous word or a disdainful look in their faces. Moreover, they selflessly face this challenge without asking for a single cent from the patient or his family.

As unfortunate as it is, many remote villages in the Philippines (and around the world) still lack the basic medical care facilities. More than that, basic infrastructures like roads, buildings, communication and electricity still is a wish among many people. However, dismal the situation maybe, the tenacity and unwavering spirit of the Filipinos continue to fuel their every step. It’s just humbling to see how a stranger can go out of his way to help someone.

How far are you willing to go to help a stranger?

More by this Author

Comments 39 comments

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Great story. We Americans don't realize how good we have it and take our medical care for granted. It's not cheap but it is among the best.

Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

Most Americans have never been outside of the US and don't have a clue as to the challenges other people face. Voted up, thanks for sharing.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

@ Pamela N Red. Many people take for granted even the simplest things. I'm also guilty of this.

@ Danette Watt. I actually did not know about this either and I'm in the same country. How dense and ignorant can I be?

Most people are caught up with so many things going on in their own lives that they fail to see other people's plights. Shouldn't man's best friend be man and not dogs?

Thanks for reading and the kind comments. Being aware of these things is a really important step. 2 people down, several millions to go.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

The closest I could even fathom is the year I spent working on the streets of Philadelphia with our homeless population. Some of the more hard core would not agree to come to the office and we changed bandages on a median strip with trucks whirling past us - really crude conditions and all kinds of weather. I cannot imagine the heroes you describe doing this day in and day out. They are angels on Earth and I thank you for broadening my perspective even further.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

hi marcoujor, yes, they are truly angels. I must commend you for being able to give time for the homeless. It takes dedication, passion and a lot of patience to do this work. The truth is I don't know if i can do what the Mangyans from Mindoro are doing. More than the physical demands, it's the emotional stress that may overcome me. Thanks for the vote up, useful and beautiful.

sofs profile image

sofs 5 years ago

I salute the Mangyans! I was so drawn by your question... How far will you go? How far will I go??..I am not sure though, I try my best. I wish as human beings we could ask ourselves this question everyday.. how far will you go for another human being? I am so touched by this hub, I wish more people would read it and know their calling. God Bless !!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

jpcmc~~ I don't typically respond back. I must hasten to say that my time with the homeless was only a little over a year and I could not agree more about the emotional (and physical) toll that it took on me. I am in no way taking away from the conditions these poor souls endured, or the wonderful individuals you so poignantly wrote about...

I know that, with the additional sadness in the death of Mom, I had to find some work that was a little kinder for me. However, it was the experience of a lifetime and I will forever be touched by those I worked with.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi Sofs. Nice of you to drop by and share your thoughts on the hub. A lot of people need help and we do as much as we can even writing about their struggles. I'm doing what I can to let people know about the conditions of the Mangyans and the heroes that deserve recognition.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Only a select few can truly find solace and pride in helping out people in need. You're one of them. Bless you marcoujor.

wilderness profile image

wilderness 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

It is really sad that the people have to go to those kind of lengths to obtain necessary care, but I don't see the effort by others towards strangers to be that unusual.

How often do we see someone risking, and sometimes losing, their own life to help out a potential drowning victim? Or enter a neighbors burning house to see if anyone is inside?

Many small localities have volunteer fire and rescue departments where people willingly spend months and months in training so that they can give up their nights as volunteers helping out strangers. (I received EMT training years ago - it took 6 months and has increased considerably since then)

Let someone be lost in the forest and hundreds will spend hours and days trekking through the woods trying to help.

The people of your hub are certainly to be respected for their efforts, but they are in no way alone. Part of the human spirit seems to lie in helping others.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Thanks for your comments wilderness. It is true that emergency situations can bring out the best in people. But what can really test someone is to do this when there are no emergencies or unusual situations. The video only shows 1 sick person and it's not even an emergency, it was just for a routine check up. But what is not seen is that they do this regularly and for every sick person - no emergencies required to avail of their free and selfless service.

Moreover, these are untrained individuals who do not have months and months of training or the right equipment. EMTs are expected to do this and we are all grateful that they are trained to help. In contrast, these people are not expected to do this, but they simply do.

I do agree with you that part of human spirit is to help others. With your EMT background I'm sure I'd be safe with you. But the question is how far will an ordinary person go?

Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Wow.. Amazing people. As to the question - how far will you go for a stranger?

My answer - As far as my heart takes me. You never know until you are faced with the situation.

Great share.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Glad you like the hub Lady_E. The heart does keep us moving forward regardless if the brain says no.

villar profile image

villar 5 years ago from Hong Kong

thats the Filipino Spirit :)

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi villar, thanks for dropping by and commenting. I hope to read a hub from you soon

d_mckenna925 profile image

d_mckenna925 5 years ago

This is so enlightening. I was taking a class on globalization and wrote a report on healthcare in Africa and how they're hospitals are so far apart and there aren't adequate roads to use. Although some areas have ambulances, most of them break down. A couple from America realized this problem while motorcycling in the area and started a nonprofit organization to educate people about how to keep vehicles running. They also raised money to buy dirt bikes so doctors can make house calls without having to walk 20 miles a day. We don't realize how tough it is for some people just to get basic medical attention. Imagine being in labor and having the ambulance that is supposed to transport you to the hospital never show up because it broke down? It's scary.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Thanks for dropping by d_mckenna925. Problems like this is more than just infrastructure but involves, political and social. Although efforts of the government are in place (supposedly), it pays to tun to private and non profit organizations to speed up and sustain programs. But even these special groups have their limitations.

sean kinn profile image

sean kinn 5 years ago from Key West and Budapest

I help strangers all the time, although it's mostly just to be polite. I smile to say hello sometimes (might change a person's mood). I hold doors open for people. I try to learn local languages, or offer a number of language choices so I'm not forcing my mother tongue on people (can't wait to practice my Spanish in Spain). I've helped people with broken cars, although once an American who was broke down on the Autobahn in Germany started rifling through my trunk to look for tools and other fluids; that was a bit of an eye-opener (at least he wasn't a psycho :-). You have to be careful when dealing with strangers, but I like the Golden Rule, and I think it's necessary for at least a few people to help others to make the world go round. :-) SK

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi SK, I know what you mean about being careful with strangers. There were many instances when people get mugged and robbed simply because they were willing to go out of their way to help people in need. Unfortunately those "in Need" are actually lawless people. But I hope that such instances don't make people afraid of trying to help others.

krisingreen profile image

krisingreen 5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

wow this is awesome! I must admit, I really love reading and learning great things people do whether they're Filipinos or not. And this story just made me happy I'm a Filipino. :) I'm actually beaming..Simple folks are really the most interesting people in the world. No matter how humble their ways are, they are still the best.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi krisingreen, what makes it even more amazing is that it does not take so much to help others. Only the genuine desire to help will suffice. From there, people will find ways regardless of difficulties.

Belated happy Independence Day to all of us Filipinos!

profile image

Ghost32 5 years ago

My father served as an excellent role model in this regard when I was growing up on a ranch in Montana. Over the years, there were numerous vehicle accidents along the highway that ran through our property...and it seemed like more times than not, Dad was out there in the thick of the aftermath, cleaning up.

I don't know for sure if he ever had to transport an injured person (or a dead one), but one incident will give you the picture.

When I was about six years old, a big bronze Hudson car came SCREAMING down off Rattler Hill at something like 90 mph, made it through the curve east of our house, but then ran off the side of the road ON THE STRAIGHTAWAY. It then plunged more than 100 feet almost straight down the very steep embankment to the Clark Fork River and buried its nose in several feet of water.

Amazing, the two drunk men (VERY drunk men) inside weren't even hurt. They came crawling out through the windows and up the embankment.

Later, a wrecker came out from town, but it was a small rig, so overwhelmed at trying to winch the car out of the river and up that steep slope, the front wheels were rearing up high in the air. If the driver had made even a little mistake, the wrecker itself would have flipped over backward and joined the car.

Several times, the winch cable had to be reset in different places UNDERWATER on the car--and it was Dad who did the setting.

Never saw the drunks before or since.

Voted Up and a Lot.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hello Ghost32. That must have been an unforgettable scene. It’s a good thing no one got injured. There are people who automatically lend a hand without prompting. I bet your dad is one of those with a stout heart.

Lesson learned: don’t drink and drive. the bigger the wrecker the better. ?

Thanks for the vote up and all the positive clickings

itakins profile image

itakins 4 years ago from Irl

This is very thought provoking indeed.Here I am complaining about the price of petrol,and forgetting for the most part, that I am where I am purely through geographical accident.I hope I would do my best for someone in difficulty,but 'Do not put me to the test'-.

A great old pal of mine is a nun who lives locally,who spent many years in the Philippines.She founded one of the biggest mother and baby clinics in Manila,with one other nun.She also spent long periods in remote parts doing her best,with very limited resources,human and financial.She always speaks with huge admiration for the people she knew and loved there,and their ability to cope against all the odds.

It shouldn't be like this for those good people,and they certainly are good people.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hello itakins. It's nice of you to drop by and share your thoughts. Many of us take for granted all the luxuries we have - whether it's clean water or paved roads. Yes, these are luxuries to many people.

We try to make ends meet even if it seems impossible. More than just putting the peole in the hub on a pedestal, I hope to influence other people to go beyond expectations and help someone. I hope you can help me spread the advocacy to help others.

Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 4 years ago from Minnesota

Very eye opening!

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Thank you for dropping by Pinkchic18.

itakins profile image

itakins 4 years ago from Irl

I have shown this to some Filipino pals,they were quite shocked,and didn't know of the life many of their country people live. It gave them plenty of food for thought!

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi there itakins. The truth is I did not know about it until I saw the report done by Cara David for I-Witness. It gave me a shock as well. Thanks for sharing this with your friends. Say hello to your Filipno pals for me. :)

stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Perhaps in these islands there are no strangers, but more or less people that know one another since there is probably poverty.

I was sick, and had to go to the emergency room at a hospital one night. I saw a young woman in pain that could not stand up that was trying to get to the hospital. I did not know her. I carried her as far as I could, and then fell to the ground because I use walking canes. People met me, and took her off of my shoulders, and put her in a wheelchair, and took her in the emergency room. Like your hub. GBY.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi there stars439. Thank you for sharing your equally inspiring experience. I hope that more people have a huge heart like yours. Have a great day.

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

Wow, is all I can say. I am very moved by this story. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi there prairieprincess. I had the same reaction when I first saw the documentary. Actually 2 WOWs. The fiorst one is being amazed that there are people like this. And the other WOW is that there are people living in such conditions. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your WOW moment.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

A heart full of love does not set boundaries. These people seem to have plenty of love for others. A Bible story tells of a man who helped a stranger. He has been remembered through thousands of years. I wish we all were more compassionate. Thank you for a most inspiring story.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hello Hyphenbird,

That's really ture, if your heart is full of love, nothing can stop you. How nice it would be if more people are compassionate.

Ryan 4 years ago

I've been to Mindoro and it's quite a beautiful place. On one side are the tourist destinations but there are places that really need help from the Philippine government.

It's nice to know that there are still people who are willing to help.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hello ryan,

It does feel nice to know that there are still people willing to help others.

Nate Penn 4 years ago

Wow these are exceptional people. I don't think I can do this. Of course I want to say yes but the truth is I just can't. I'd probably cry a lot first.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

That's so honest of you Nate. We all have our limits.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article