At 82, Manobo woman walks through mountain road to get jabbed
KIDAPAWAN CITY—For Anatacia Alferez, 82, there is no mountain so high, no road so difficult that she could not conquer just to get the second COVID-19 vaccine dose that the local government of Arakan in Cotabato province set aside for the elderly like her.
Although walking under the scorching sun is already agony for most seniors, Alferez breezed through the 6-kilometer stretch of rough and sloping road from her home to the vaccination site in the mountainous village of Kinawayan, and back.
Alferez, a Manobo, was among the 1,000 people inoculated in the Manobo-dominated Barangay Kinawayan on Wednesday, according to Dr. Karen Canario, Arakan municipal health officer.
Benefit from vaccine
Canario said she was about to lose hope in convincing residents to take the vaccine until they were able to convince tribal leaders, who, in turn, convinced the entire community about the protection the vaccine could give against COVID-19.
Alferez, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, said she was keen on completing her vaccine doses so that in case she gets infected, she would be protected against severe disease or even death.
She said she understood what experts had often repeated that the vaccine could not stop infection but it could protect against the severity of the disease and probable death.
Although she was accompanied by her four grandchildren to the village elementary school that served as vaccination site, she walked far ahead of the younger ones on her way home after receiving the vaccine.
“I am used to it. Since I was young, we have been walking from home to school and even to our farm on the other side of the mountain,” she said.
She also attributed her stamina to her diet of organic rice and vegetables that they themselves grew on mountain slopes.
At 82, her favorites include boiled and grilled tomatoes to go along with fish caught from the creeks and rivers of Kinawayan, the last village of Arakan town along the border of Cotabato province and Davao City.
Perched 800 meters above sea level with vast forested areas, the village can only be reached by motorcycle or a four-wheel drive vehicle because of its poor roads.
She and her 83-year old husband have been blessed with seven adult children and at least a dozen grandchildren.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.