The children from Madibago in the southern Philippines have one of the most spectacular and dangerous ways to school in the world. Some walk alone through the jungle for hours, others risk their lives, in order to make it past a steep face of rock and boulders, overgrown with moss and tree roots.
On the peninsula Zamboanga del Norte in the southern Philippines, the thinly populated coastal strip gives way to sharply rising mountains. Eleven-year-old Aible lives close to the sea, but her school is located in the heart of the mountains. A ride on a motorbike taxi costs only one US-Dollar, but Aible’s family simply doesn’t have the money, like most of the families here. So for decades, children from Madibago have been taking the shortcut through the jungle. They call it Pam-Pang: A gigantic wall that the children must climb every single day – in the hopes of a better future. In some places its slope is 90 degrees. Many people have fallen here. Some have critically injured themselves while trying to climb Pam-Pang.
The weather can change suddenly in the Philippines. Thanks to the high humidity, short, heavy rain showers tend to be the rule – even in the dry season. And for Aible this means even greater danger on her way to and from school. The roots, the rocks, the soil – all becomes even more slippery than usual. But that doesn’t keep the children from chasing their dreams.