ALVIN REDULOSA, 24-year-old with Down syndrome, is a living testament that his condition is not a hindrance for him to achieve something as he is the first down syndrome patient to be documented to have successfully scaled the country's highest peak in Mt. Apo.
Alvin successfully trekked Mt. Apo on May 28 to 30 and he was accompanied by the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI), a medical team and no less than former Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
DSAPI-Davao consultant Lanie Vergara, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao, said the association suggested the climb to Alvin and he willingly accepted the challenge.
Prior to the climb, lanie said his husband Allan trained Alvin for his preparation. He had a tune-up climb at Puting Bato on the Island Garden City of Samal in September last year. Three months before his climb, Alvin underwent endurance training three times a week.
"Wala gayud angal si Alvin kay abtik na nuon kaayo siya mubangon pa ingnan namo nga magtraining na. Pero siyempre wala gyud namo gisobrahan ang training. Kung muingon si Alvin nga gikapoy na siya, magpahulay dayon mi (Alvin had no complaints because he was quick to rise when he was told to train. But of course, we do not train him excessively. If he says he is tired, then we rest)," Allan said.
Lanie said Alvin was fully determined in scaling Mt. Apo as he was able to complete the trek within three days, a day earlier than the regular four-day "fun climb."
"When we consider down syndrome, kani sila dali lang kapoyon, baba ilang endurance, dili kabalo mudala sa ilang lawas ug masakiton. Pero as far as Alvin is concerned, napakita gyud niya na kung kaya nato, kaya pud niya (Down syndrome patients are easy to get exhausted, with low endurance, don't know how to handle their body and they have poor immune system. But as far as Alvin is concerned, he showed that if we could do it, he could do it as well)," Lanie said.
Alvin had surprisingly displayed great endurance and determination during the climb as Lanie said, "We were already exhausted and we wanted to rest but when we saw Alvin trying his best to continue trekking, we were also motivated to push ourselves. We didn't expect that he would display such endurance so basically, he was an inspiration to us."
During the three-day climb, they experienced heavy downpour and staggering heat but this did not hinder Alvin from continuing his trek.
They started trekking at around 8 a.m. and reached the first campsite in Maag at around 2 p.m. They stayed there for the night until they made their way to the peak the following day. Alvin then reached the peak on May 29 and they made their way down the following day.
Allan said the way down was the most difficult part due to the steepness of the trail. But Alvin had done a good job making his way down saying, “Lawyer Sara and the others had stumbled a few times but Alvin didn’t. So we just laughed it out and continued to go down. I then advised Alvin what to do and he complied that is why he survived.”
When asked about his experience during the climb, Alvin said he did not feel exhausted in anyway while he also said that he was able to conquer the trail with ease. He added that he was extremely happy upon reaching the peak.
Lanie, meanwhile, is thankful for the support of the R.O.X., The North Face, Block Diamond and the Antonio O. Floirendo Foundation. He also thanked Alvin’s mother Pacita for allowing DSAPI-Davao to take her child to Mt. Apo.
After scaling the highest peak in the country, Alvin is now set to embark on another challenge. It will then be a “highlands to islands” experience for Alvin as he is set to accomplish a cross-channel swimming from Davao City to the Island Garden City of Samal.
Lanie said that he will still have to prepare but they are already confident that Alvin could also accomplish the feat.
“Despite having Down syndrome, Alvin showed that he can do strenuous activities contrary to the claims that they are physically weak. We hope to inspire parents and we hope that they could turn down the doubts on what people with Down syndrome could do since we should rather focus on the ability not the disability,” Lanie added.