December 20, 2010

A different kind of heroism is evident in a quaint village in Liliw, Laguna. Men beyond their prime still risk their lives crossing the thin bamboo bridges that connect towering coconut trees.

These men are what the locals call mangangarit – climbers who collect sap from the top of coconut trees, the basic ingredient for the local spirit lambanog. In every climb they face the danger of injury or death but for these men the risks are part of the only job they know in a place where choices are few.

At 63, Mang Ambo is one of the oldest men who still practice “pangangarit”. He professes love of his job that has allowed him to support his family’s needs for years.

Lolo Fredo is a veteran mangangarit. Although already retired, at the age of 76, he boasts of his ability to climb trees and contribute in the production of his favorite drink. Lolo Fredo believes he owes his good health to the lambanog. The profession was not always good to him though. He lost a son who was a mangangarit to a fall.

Watch as Kara David visits the mangangarit and finds out why they are part of a dying breed.

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