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Two Honest Bontoc Students Return P50,000 Cash to Rightful Owner

Witness the honest actions of two Bontoc students upholding Igorot values, returning P50,000 cash to its rightful owner.

 |  5 min read

Witness the honest actions of two Bontoc students as they uphold integrity and return P50,000 cash to its rightful owner, reflecting Igorot values in Mountain Province.

Upholding Integrity: The Inspiring Story of Christopher Sigua and Troy Chumapoy

In a world where acts of honesty and integrity can sometimes feel overshadowed, the remarkable actions of Christopher Sigua and Troy Chumapoy from the Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School (MPGCHS) stand as a shining example of moral uprightness and good faith.

The Discovery and Decision to Do Right

On a warm March afternoon, Christopher and Troy, along with their younger friends and siblings, ventured into the mountains overlooking Bontoc, the capital town of Mountain Province.

Little did they know that this outing would put their fortitude and character to the test. As they made their way back home around 5 p.m., Christopher, a Grade 9 student, and the eldest of the group, spotted a brown wallet lying in the middle of the road, a few meters after passing Teng-ab. Together with Troy, a Grade 8 student and his best friend since Grade 1, they faced a crucial decision: what to do with the contents of the wallet.

"We were shocked because it was our first time holding that number of 1,000-peso bills. We hurriedly closed the wallet and tried to overtake the motorcycle we met earlier because the ID in the wallet matched the face of the lady riding the motorcycle and whose bag was open," shared Chris.

Challenges and Persistence

Their journey to return the wallet was not without obstacles. Initially attempting to contact the owner via the phone number on the ID proved futile due to poor signal reception in the upland areas. Undeterred, they turned their motorcycle around to catch up with the owner but had to abandon the pursuit due to low fuel as they reached the boundary between Bontoc Ili and Guina-ang.

"We were joking and imagining about what to buy with it. While resting, we opened the wallet again and started counting the bills which amounted to P50,000. The younger boys said that we'll keep it because no one saw us anyway. However, I was afraid of doing that. I knew that with that amount of money, it was surely meant to be used for something important," Troy recounted.

Going the Extra Mile

Despite the setbacks, Christopher and Troy remained determined to return the wallet. They stopped at the first store they reached to buy load and attempted to call the owner again, to no avail. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, they confided in the store owner, who offered to keep the wallet until they could arrange its return.

"Since we couldn't go to Guina-ang, we stopped by at the first store we reached, bought load, and tried calling the number in the ID but it was out of coverage. We know that signal was not stable there, so we told the Uncle who owns the store about the situation. He told us to let him keep the wallet because he knows the owner. We planned to go get it the next day so we can hand it to the owner when we will see her," Chris explained.

Reuniting with the Owner

Through the efforts of Troy's mother, who sent a message via Facebook Messenger, they arranged to meet Mrs. Shirlene Mang-usan, the owner of the wallet. Despite the challenges, they remained committed to returning the wallet, even after the end of their school day.

"During the last period, I saw a lady pass by our classroom, but I didn't recognize her for I was not expecting that she would come to school. When we were dismissed, I went to wait for Troy so we could go to the police station. I saw a lady waiting outside their room and somewhat realized it was the lady on the motorcycle. To be sure, I asked what she was waiting for, and she mentioned the name of Troy. I brought out her wallet and handed it to her which really made her smile broadly," Chris recalled.

Embracing Cultural Values and Lessons Learned

Their decision to uphold honesty and integrity is deeply rooted in the cultural values of the Igorot people, particularly the concept of "Inayan" or "nga-ag" in Bontoc. These cultural values emphasize the importance of mutual respect, honesty, and integrity in all aspects of life.

Christopher Sigua, the son of Maybel Madchalang Sigua and Antony Jose Sigua, and Troy Chumapoy, the son of Marie Kidpo Chumapoy and Henry T. Chumapoy Jr., grew up together as neighbors in Pokisan, Bontoc Ili. The influence of their parents, who instilled these values from a young age, played a significant role in shaping their character and guiding their actions.

The encounter with Mrs. Mang-usan left a lasting impression on Christopher and Troy, reinforcing the importance of honesty and integrity in their lives.

"The good and even bad things we do will eventually come back to us. I also felt that I would displease Nan Intutungcho if I kept what is not mine," Christopher reflected.

Recognition from the Local Government

At the Municipal Capitol grounds during the Monday Flag Raising Ceremony, Bontoc Mayor Jerome "Chagsen" Tudlong, Jr., took the opportunity to honor Christopher and Troy's exceptional display of integrity. Presenting them with Certificates of Commendation, Mayor Tudlong lauded the boys for exemplifying the core values of honesty and good faith, which are deeply ingrained in the fabric of their community.

"The boys' decision to do the right thing speaks volumes about their character and upbringing. Their story serves as a true inspiration and a reminder to everyone about the importance of integrity and honesty in our daily lives. The story of Christopher and Troy is a beacon of hope and goodness," Mayor Tudlong remarked, emphasizing the significance of their actions.

As a heartfelt token of appreciation, Mayor Tudlong also personally contributed ₱2,000 to the boys from his own pocket, further underscoring the profound impact of their integrity on the community.

Conclusion

The inspiring story of Christopher Sigua and Troy Chumapoy serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring values of honesty, integrity, and good faith within the Igorot culture. Inayan, with its emphasis on honesty and integrity, continues to be a guiding force for individuals like Christopher and Troy, who embody the best of Igorot traditions. As they continue to grow and mature, may their example continue to shine brightly, illuminating the way for others to follow.

Everything I love I'm fighting for. This isn't my fight, this is my war.


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