Pedalling for a Purpose in the Philippines

Communities in the Philippines show what it means to give in difficult times.

"The water was waist-deep up to my chin level and I was tip-toeing.” Anna Fair, head of Julag Elementary School recalls where she witnessed the horror of her school being submerged during the onslaught of the southwest monsoon. The deluge swept over the Balangkayan district of Eastern Samar, Philippines earlier this year in January. 

The floods isolated the village leaving children sick with diarrhoea and colds, and the elderly marooned. Food and water supplies ran out at an alarming rate. Water contamination prevented them from even cooking rice, and the community had to rely on drinking coconut water. 

The Philippines sits on the Ring of Fire and almost three-quarters of its population is susceptible to the force of nature - either in the form of earthquakes, typhoons or floods. Anna is no stranger to these erratic cycles of natural disasters. 

“Although we are expecting [the flood] to happen every year, we cannot predict how long it will last.” 

This is where Bike Scouts Philippines steps in to make a difference with a mission to help communities in need across the country. While a crisis takes a toll on people, it can also bring out the best in humanity - it provides an opportunity to serve.

Bike Scouts Philippines came to be, out of a spontaneous response to Typhoon Yolanda (also known as Typhoon Haiyan) in 2013. The typhoon rammed into the Philippines alongside other countries in Southeast Asia. In this instance, a crisis prompted a response – cyclists who knew how to help people remain connected even as flood waters cut their families off. 

Myles Delfin, founder of the Bike Scouts, saw there was a lack of access to information, especially in the rural areas, and figured a way to bridge the gap using bicycles. 

“When people lose the ability to reach out to their loved ones, their resilience is impacted. We started Bike Scouts as a way to give people an alternative means of communication and access to information.” 

In the true spirit of helping each other, people started volunteering with Bike Scouts, even those who couldn’t ride a bike. They just wanted to lend a helping hand. They wanted to reach out to the community's suffering and Bike Scouts became that platform to do so. Myles recognised this need. And he tapped into it. 

“When severe disasters, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or even the recent global pandemic happen, people in their own communities just come together.” The organisation has created a network of support. What Bike Scouts is tapping into is the spirit of communal unity, or what the locals affectionately know as ‘bayanihan’.  There is now an organic growth of volunteers for Bike Scouts Philippines. There is never a need to ask for volunteers, people simply step up to the plate. It’s all about being there for the community.

About Bike Scouts Philippines

Bike Scouts Philippines is a social platform where community members serve as volunteer bicycle messengers to help communities in need across the Philippines. Started in 2013 as frontline responders to natural disasters, their mission has evolved to other tailor-sized missions across the country.


Producer & Writer

Lilian Tan

Camera & Editor

Billy Joel Bautista


Rudy Mark Somera

Photography & Sound

Mark Kriselmo Lumbre

Executive Producer

Victor Tang


Raisa Austral-Bautista