UNHCR’s 2B KM to Safety Campaign Invites Filipinos to Step in Solidarity with Refugees

  • UNHCR’s Atom Araullo & Trail Adventours team up for global 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety campaign in the Philippines

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugees around the world walk an estimated 2 billion kilometers every year to reach the first point of safety. The global campaign called ‘2 Billion Kilometers to Safety’ calls on people all over the world to cover this distance travelled by refugees through individual acts of solidarity. These acts when taken together, acknowledge the resilience and strength of refugees.

In the Philippines, fitness groups and brands have taken up the challenge to run, walk, cycle, and hike to contribute to the global target. Last April 27, 2019, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Atom Araullo, and eco-tourism group Trail Adventours team up for a hike-for-a-cause up Mt. Nagpatong in Tanay Rizal in support of the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons. This is Trail Adventours’ seventh hike in support of the campaign, with previous ones including an ascent to Mt. Everest’s Base Camp and in Mt. Pulag in Benguet. In all, Trail Adventours has logged on 1,614 kilometers to the global target.

Conquering Nagpatong Rock for a Cause

Trail Adventours took its commitment to new local grounds by dedicating their climb on April 27 to Mt. Nagpatong, otherwise known as ‘Nagpatong Rock’. Nagpatong Rock is a hiking hot spot that has quickly caught growing attention and curiosity all around the country. Nagapatong Rock consists of two towering limestone cliffs facing each other and is impressively layered with huge blocks of rock placed on top of each other, hence earning its name derived from the Tagalog word “patong”. How these rock formations were formed remains a secret only nature knows, and a secret that Trail Adventours is keeping.

Filipino hikers and enthusiasts led by Trail Adventours co-founders Coby Sarreal and Guido Sarreal and with UNHCR Philippines’ Goodwill Ambassador, Atom Araullo, logged in their cumulative step count of 150 kilometers while triumphantly completing the Nagapatong Rock hike in 2.5 hours. With a challenging path, bamboo ladders, and vertical climbs, the hike draws a parallelism to the difficulty faced by refugees’ seemingly impossible task to make it to a safe place just by walking. It was a hike and a cause not made for the faint of heart or fear of height, or plight. It was a hike done with empathy, courage, and solidarity.

Citing the everyday struggle of refugees all around the world and displaced persons in our own country, Angie Sarreal of Trail Adventours shares, “Often times we are intimidated by how big the refugee and displacement crisis, that we can’t imagine how we can actually help make a real difference as individuals or on a local level. When the reality is that, anyone, anywhere, can make a difference even if it’s just to walk, run, or hike with thoughtful purpose to empathize and support someone in need. This shows that we care as a community and are doing something about it.”

Every Day People, Every Day Steps

Join the next Trail Adventours hike to come every third Sunday of the month. Proceeds from these themed hikes will go in support of the 2 Billion Kilometer to Safety campaign. To keep join future hikes, follow Trail Adventour’s website at http://www.trailadventours.com. To learn more about UNHCR and Trail Adventours partnership visit: https://stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph/trail-adventours/.

UNHCR encourages supporters to register and add their kilometers directly onto the campaign website stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph/.

You can choose to sync your fitness apps like Fitbit or Strava to automatically add your kilometers, but you can also add them manually by setting a target up to a maximum of 50 kilometers per entry.

You can also support by encouraging others to join the cause and helping to raise funds. Aside from reaching your own target distance, you can organize fundraising campaigns to help the world’s refugees either through your very own school, sports clubs or running communities.

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Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.