A man from La Paz, Agusan del Sur had taken refuge on top of a 60 ft coconut tree for three years. Identified as Gilbert Sanchez, he reportedly lived atop the said tree since 2014 after being traumatized by a fight during a town fiesta.
Gilbert is the eldest in a brood of eight and a widower with two daughters. His wife died in 2000 after giving birth to their second child. He left his two daughters under the care of his elderly mother.
A family member recalled that it all began when Gilbert had been struck by a gûn on his head during a heated argument.
After the incident, Gilbert decided to leave his family and live on top of the coconut tree standing just a few meters away from their house out of fear. His family believed that he lost his mind and took to living in the tree for safety.
Since December 2014, many people have already attempted to rescue Gilbert but failed to bring him down. He refused to leave the tree and threatened those who attempted to come near him with a bolo. Not even his own mother could convince him to come down.
For years, he endured both the rain and the punishing heat of the sun. As for his sanitation, it was reported that he did not take a bath for years since his hiding.
He just peed and pooped on top of the tree. Every day, Gilbert’s mother would fetch him food, water, and change of clothes placed in a plastic pouch and pull up through a tiny string.
However, everything changed when the local community rallied to bring the widowed father down from his refuge. As a result, the family was forced to seek the local authorities’ aid to rescue him. Footage of how they were able to successfully bring Gilbert down safely after almost half a day was shared on the official Facebook page of News5.
They first tried their best to convince him to come down for several hours but to no avail, so the rescue team then decided to cut the tree down with a chainsaw. They also brought nets just in case Gilbert would jump off the tree.
Upon reducing the height of the tree by about 40 ft, it was lowered to the ground and the uninjured man was rescued, bewildered as dozens of people were gathered around him.