Meet Kooper! He’s walking from the South of the Philippines to the North!

This is Kooper. He’s embarking on an epic journey from the Philippines’ Southernmost city to the North! He speaks with Geekend Gladiators about how the idea for this journey (which he calls Sanlibong Yapak ) was formed, what he wishes to accomplish, his preparation as well as some exciting stories from the road so far.

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Geekend Gladiators: What is Sanlibong Yapak (A Thousand Steps) and what pushed you to do it?

Kooper: Bali project ito ng mga biker friends ko pero originally wala pa yung Sanlibong Yapak mas na una yung idea ko na libutin ang pinas ng lakad lang tapos dahil sa kwentuhan nabuo yung concept for Sanlibong Yapak.

Now, what pushed me to do it? Sa isang simpleng inuman noong 2015 nag kakayayaan kasi mag hike at walking hanggang na isipan namin na lakarin kaya namin  ang buong pinas? After that nag ipon na ko at nag resign sa trabaho. H0wever, the main idea on what reason is “Pinoy ka, alam mo ba kung ano meron sa Pinas?

(Sanlibong Yapak is a project of my Biker friends but originally, before that I had already thought of the idea of journeying across the Philippines solely on foot. We kicked around ideas and we formed the concept of Sanlibong Yapak.
Now what pushed me to do it? In a simple drinking session in 2015 me and my friends wanted to get into Hiking and Walking until we thought why don’t we walk across the entire Philippines. After that, I started to save up my money and quit my job to do this.  However, the main idea on what the reason is to Sanlibong Yapak is the question: “You’re a Filipino, Do you know what’s in the Philippines?”)
GG: How do you plan to document your journey?
Kooper: : Simple pictures lang but syempre may mga kwento na tanging pluma lang ang makakasaad bali write a book perhaps bukod dun sa photog style ng sanlibong yapak….what more ang hirap recently to take person’s pictures dahil nga sa recent bombings at kung ano ano pang security reason
(Just taking simple pictures but of course, there are some stories only a quill can accurately depict. I plan to perhaps write a book aside from the photography style of Sanlibong Yapak. Especially that it’s kind of hard recently to take a person’s picture due to the recent bombings and other security reasons.)
GG: Speaking of which, Are you worried at all about any potential danger you might encounter and how do you plan to keep yourself safe out there?
Kooper: : Worried? No. Kung worried ka hindi ka makakausad. Courage is fueled by fear. Kailangan harapin ang takot para maging matapang parang ganun. Pinaka-exciting na experience recently is gisingin ka sa gabi ng grupo ng mga naka military fatigue hahaha
(Worried? No. If you’re always worried you’ll never grow. Courage is fueled by fear. We need to face our fears to  truly become brave. Actually, I’ve experienced something incredibly exciting recently, which is to be woken up in the middle of the night by a group of strangers wearing military fatigues hahaha)
GG: Haha, Man you and I have different definitions of “exciting” Military Fatigues huh? What’s the story there?
Kooper: : kala kasi ng datu ng mga lumad informant ako ng land grabber na ka away nila aun nag pulong nung gabi haha pero na clear up naman at hindi naman ako napaano. Ganyan ka exciting araw-araw.
(The Datu of the local Lumad Tribe thought that I was an informant for a land grabber that they previously had an altercation with. That night they immediately deliberated on the matter and cleared everything up. This is how exciting it is for me everyday)
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GG: You mentioned about trying to discover the Philippines. What do you think you’ll find or learn during your journey?

Kooper: : The common misconceptions sa mga lugar. Gaya ng, Magulo sa mindanao? Hindi naman. Ewan ko lang sa ARMM

(The common misconceptions about places here. Like how people say it’s chaotic in Mindanao. It’s really not. I’m not too sure about the ARMM /Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao though.) 

GG: So where are you right now and what’s the start and end point to your journey? Additionally, how long do you think that’s going to take?

Kooper: General Santos City simula.  Nasa Bukidnon na ko via Digos, Davao. Ending sa Aparri. Mga 6 months siguro.

(I started in General Santos City. Right now, I’m in Bukidnon via Digos, Davao. The End point is Aparri, Cagayan Valley. The whole thing will probably take 6 months.)

GG:  Man, that is quite the journey, So how did you prepare for all of this? Mentally, Physically. Probably even financially like resources and things like that.

Kooper: Mentally, sa perspective sa buhay mo ma-babase ung preparedness kasi how I look at it the world is a vast school and everyone is both your teacher and a fellow student kumbaga thirst for knowledge ito.

Physically, before pa ma-conceptualize yung idea ng adventure na ito nung 2008 palang. Nag bi-bike na ako other than that since highschool mahilig na ko mag lakad-lakad tapos yung year to prepare para dito panay sali ko sa mga marathon especially yung mountain trails.

Financially? Simple math lang, 6 months edi days times 100 pesos hahaha Hindi naman kailangan ma-garbo ang gastos.

(Mentally, I base my preparedness on my perspective in life because how I look at it is that the World is a vast school and everyone is both your teacher and a fellow student. I see this as a thirst for knowledge as it were.

Physically, Even before we conceptualized the idea for this adventure, since 2008 I was riding my bike and in highschool been quite fond of just walking around. Also, in the year I took to prepare for this I joined a lot of different Mararthons especially those with mountain trails

Financially? Well it’s just simple math, really. 6 Months divided into Days times 100 pesos per day hahaha. There’s really no need for luxurious expenses)

GG: So your primary mode of transportation is just walking, correct? This might me a silly question but what happens if your need to traverse large bodies of water?

Kooper: Walk lang naman talaga eh then RORO (Roll on Roll Off) from Surigao to Leyte at Samar to Bicol
(Yes, just walking. I’ll take the Roll On- Roll Off Shuttle Ferry from Surigao to Leyte and Samar to Bicol.)
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GG: If you don’t mind me asking, How are your parents/relatives taking all this in? and how do you keep in touch?

Kooper: They’re slightly worried. haha nag-memessage lang ako sa Facebook pag gusto ko haha

(They’re slightly worried haha I just message them on Facebook whenever I feel like it haha.)

GG: Oh speaking of which, Who maintains your site and social media? Is it just a one man show?
Kooper: Free fb lang via internet.org. Yung site yung biker friends ko ang nagpopost at nag-mamaintain.
(I use free Facebook via Internet.Org. The site is being run and maintained by my biker friends back home. )

GG: Is there anything else that you’d like to tell our readers and people out there?

Kooper: Ang Pilipinas ay hindi lang archipelago na binubuo ng mga isla. Binubuo din ito ng bawat Pilipinong nakatira doon sa mga islang yun. Kaya kung mag-travel man lang eh wag lang ung lugar ang pansinin.

(The Philippines isn’t just an archipelago made up of islands. It is made up of every Filipino that lives in those Islands. So if you’re travelling, don’t just focus on the places)

GG: Thank you very much for agreeing to do this, man. We’ll check in on you every now and again to see how you’re doing. We wish you luck and safety in your travels.

Support Kooper and his journey by Liking Sanlibong Yapak’s Facebook page here. Also check out Sanlibong Yapak’s Website here for more updates of where he is and how he’s doing. Last we heard he’s taking Pokemon Go walking jobs so be sure to ask him about that.


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