For the students in Mambacayao Island, one of the small islands within the area of Bantayan Island in Cebu, they take not the school bus but the “yellow sea bus” when going to school.
The yellow school boats were donated by the Fillmore Elementary and Cabrillo High School 0f Lompoc, California to the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, before making their way to students of Mambacayao Island, who use the boats in going to school every single day.
On April 3, pictures of the students finally graduating surfaced on Facebook. These were shared by Arnulfo B. Pierra Jr., activities and sports director at the Cebu International School and also a “Hope Paddler” at the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation.
“The bottomline why we are doing this,” wrote Pierra Jr. “We donated boats for this community in North Cebu two years ago, these students used them for free as transportation to go to school everyday.”
Many were happy for the children’s success, as the boats are one of other instruments that allow the children access to education. One government worker, Manuel Jr. Reyes Gonzales, shared Pierra Jr.’s post, saying he was one of those who delivered the concern and coordinated with Pierra years ago about the Mambacayao students’ plight.
A small school self-paddle boat costs around P10,000, whereas school boats, which can carry 15 to 20 students, costs approximately P75,000, as per the foundation’s website. According to Gonzales, teachers in the island previously complained about their situation in traveling to the island by boat.
Thanks to the foundation’s help, the students now get to go to school everyday. “I’m so happy to see [these] [pictures],” wrote Gonzales. “Thank you gyud kaayo. God bless you guys. Congrats to the graduates!”
The foundation also shared the good news last April 3 through its Facebook page, which has around 270,000 followers.
“Yellow Boat of Hope is not just about providing safe access to school. We are about making sure they finish school,” the foundation stated. “Congrats to our kids from Mambacayao, Northern Cebu for inspiring us to work harder! Makes all the hard work and sleepless nights worthwhile! Thank you donors and hope paddlers, this is our REWARD!!! #HopeSails.”
Pierra Jr., too, extended his greetings to the children, “Congratulations to the students of Mambacayao Island! Thanks teachers and the boat operator. Galing naman, laban lang. (How great! Fight on.)” JB