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Upland Learners In Leyte Keep Their Cool In Extreme Heat

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Upland Learners In Leyte Keep Their Cool In Extreme Heat

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While school authorities are seriously concerned about extreme heat leading to the suspension of face-to-face classes, teachers and learners in an upland village surrounded by mountain ranges here are unaffected by hot weather.

Situated 1,450 feet above sea level, the classrooms of Mahagnao Elementary School in this town don’t even use fans to cool down the temperature since the place is naturally cool.

Grade 6 learner Joffer Lee Maray, an aspiring seafarer, said there were days that they didn’t want to take showers because of the very cold water early in the morning.

“Last week, we were surprised that our class was suspended for two days. Our teacher told us that it’s a directive from officials due to the extreme heat. If not for that order, I would still attend classes here instead of answering modules at home,” he said.

School head Furo Cayobit said that although the temperature in Mahagnao is cold, they have to follow directives from the Department of Education (DepEd).

“We don’t want to go on with classes if the DepEd tells us not to. We don’t want anyone to file a complaint because we ignore DepEd Orders, although we have a different situation here,” he said.

Cayobit was referring to the DepEd directive suspending face-to-face classes in all public schools nationwide from April 15 to 16, 2024, due to extreme heat.

During midday, Mahagnao’s temperature is only 28 degrees Celsius. It is colder in the morning, at 24 degrees Celsius.

Teacher Ma. Victoria Aborque said they were very lucky to experience cold weather while everyone in the lowlands was sweating.

“We’re fortunate that the local government preserves the forest, allowing future generations to experience Mahagnao’s naturally cool environment.,” she said.

Elma Retostos, a mother of a kindergarten and elementary students, admitted that she and her Grade 2 daughter were confused over class suspension orders.

“My daughter asked me why there are no classes. I only told her that it’s because of the heat, and she responded that it’s not,” she said.

The village, with a population of 586, is situated 19 kilometers upland from the town center. The elementary school has 93 students and five teachers.

The community is known for hosting the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park, proclaimed a national park in 1937. It is endowed with different natural attractions: a lake, falls, multi-colored mud, virgin forests, and a lagoon.

In 2018, the park was proclaimed a protected area through legislation. (PNA)