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Stranded American Backpacker Adopted by Family in a Remote Village

He repays the community with kindness.

Ann Moises

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  • An American backpacker named Dustin Borglin is stranded in Cebu, Philippines since March.
  • The coronavirus lockdown and travel restrictions prevented him from leaving the country.
  • An acquaintance from a remote village in the province ‘adopted’ him and in return, Borglin opted to pay the kindness forward.
  • Through Borglin’s vlogs and social media accounts, he shares his experiences and helps other locals in the community.

Being stranded is quite difficult, especially when you’re in a foreign land and you don’t speak the language. Many people know how that feels like. Most countries affected by the coronavirus have imposed strict travel restrictions to safeguard their people.

The Philippine government did the same in March. Therefore, locals and foreigners alike were stuck as all means of transportation, whether by land, air, or sea, had been prohibited from leaving and entering the country.

Dustin Borglin, a backpacker from Michigan, USA, was in Cebu when the lockdown was implemented. He was in another town and could not go back to his hotel room in Toledo City where he was supposed to stay only for a week.

Fortunately, a man named Raymund Adoptante and his family offered him safe and free refuge. Borglin has, since then, been staying in their home, while also documenting his life as he lives just like one of the locals.

Borglin is a vlogger, basketball enthusiast, and a musician who loves traveling and meeting new people.
Photo: Dustinbackpacks via Facebook

He had already met Raymund Adoptante at a basketball game during his first visit to the Philippines. They became friends and communicated occasionally via Facebook.

When he couldn’t go back to his hotel room in Toledo City, Raymund Adoptante and his family offered him a place to stay.
Photo: Dustinbackpacks via Facebook
Borglin has been living a very simple life there since then.

His vlogs feature him having fun playing traditional games, cooking food, making Pinoy deserts like ice candy, manually washing clothes, and more.

All of these he shares to his thousands of viewers from all over the globe.
Photo:Dustinbackpacks via Facebook

However, Borglin’s doing more than that. He gives back to the family and the community who’ve been treating him like their own.

During his stay, he came to know the Baludoys. The couple has five children and they’re living in a dilapidated house. Seeing the poor family’s condition moved him to volunteer in renovating their shelter.

He posted videos daily to show the latest developments of the Baludoys’ home until it was finally finished.
Photo: Dustinbackpacks via Facebook

Through the funds he acquires from his YouTube channel, ‘Dustin Backpacks‘ and other social media sites under the same name, he helps the locals. He’s been involved in several house repairs and even buys groceries, which he distributes to the neighbors.

His vlogs show the simplicity of rural life, however; it also unveils the real struggles faced by people living in such remote areas in the country.

According to PEP, Borglin said, “There’s no running water, we have to walk for about 15 minutes each to take our baths from a well.” Living this way and being stripped of all the comforts he enjoys truly made him realize what’s important in life.

In the article, he said:

“People shouldn’t rely on money and material things to make them happy… The people in the village I am staying in may not have a lot of money, but they are the kindest and happiest people I have ever met.”

Borglin intends to stay there until the lockdown is over.

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