Honesty binds 3 friends in Bohol resort town
PANGLAO, Bohol—Fulgencio Esterado was riding on a motorcycle with two friends on their way to attend a village fiesta celebration that night of Oct. 6 in this resort town when a belt bag slid from the slightly opened door of a speeding car and fell on the road.
They stopped to pick up the bag, unzipped it and found to their surprise wads of cash.
Instead of dividing the money among themselves, the friends went to the Panglao police station to seek assistance in tracking down the owner. According to PO2 Jose Sering, the bag contained P138,800, some documents, an identification card, and an ATM card, and its owner was a Korean tourist on vacation.
“Returning the money is the right thing to do because we didn’t earn that money,” Esterado, 40, a sales employee at City Hardware in Tagbilaran City. “There is God who is watching us. It is not good karma to keep what is not yours,” he said.
A month earlier, a tricycle driver, identified as Reynaldo Ingking, 45, turned over an envelope containing P88,135, which was left by a female passenger in Tagbilaran City, to radio station dyRD. The woman owner went to the station and profusely thanked Ingking, who was later cited by the city government for his honesty.
Esterado narrated his road experience with his friends, Alejandro Bonita, 29, and Michael Horcasitas, 20. to the Inquirer.
They were going to Sitio Das-ag in Panglao’s Barangay Poblacion to attend its fiesta celebration, when a car sped past their motorcycle at 9 p.m. The car’s passenger door opened slightly and the belt bag fell.
When they saw the money inside, they tried to chase the car but failed. The police at the station reached the bag’s owner, a Korean named Choi Jae Won, by cell phone, who was by then in nearby Dauis town.
Choi didn’t even know that his bag was missing, Sering said. He returned to Panglao in less than an hour to retrieve the money and thanked the finders at the station.
Esterado said the Korean gave them a small amount “to buy snacks.” The money didn’t matter to them, he said, adding that it was enough that the owner expressed his gratitude.
Esterado earns P10,000 a month from his job to support his wife, Isabel, 39, and two children—Issagene, 11, and Ian Jay, 4. Horcasitas and Bonita do not have employment.
Their honesty has earned praises from town mates.
“It’s refreshing to hear news about these honest men,” said Raquel Cloma Guliman, a native of Panglao who now lives in Connecticut. “Indeed, they are role models to the youth,” she added.
Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero said Esterado, Bonita and Horcasitas had set a good example to their fellow Paglaoanons. She planned to give them certificates of recognition and cash rewards from her own pocket during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at the municipal hall.
Their good deed “proves that ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things,” Montero said. “With these three honest men of Panglao, foreigners will be confident in coming back to our place.”