Filipino driver and hiker Rommel Dalupan, who likes to be on top of the world, hopes to share his outdoor skills and experience with friends in Hong Kong, particularly among Filipino and Indonesian maids.
“Most of the domestic workers in Hong Kong do not have enough physical activities. I tell them to take the initiative and I want to show them how fun it is,” Dalupan, 40, who started woking in Hong Kong in 1996 and is now a driver employed by a retired couple.
“I mix the Indonesian and Filipino hikers into groups. We have no boundaries. We look out for each other and minimize the risk of calling 999,” Dalupan said in an interview with Asia Times. “They love to follow me and discover new adventurous places.”
Dalupan usually plans a week in advance the hiking route and announces it on social media. Supported by three to four other experienced like-minded people, he can lead up to 30 people for an extreme hike on Saturday or Sunday. The team has challenged the toughest places in Hong Kong – Ngo Lung stream and Fung Bi stream on Lantau Island.
“Most of our adventures are on Lantau Island as there is beautiful scenery,” he said. “It is the place to go if you want to experience some dangerous things that can cost your life.”
“I can show you how to succeed…When you are on top of the mountain, it feels like you are on top of the world,” he said.
“I always tell domestic helpers not to buy expensive gear. Just wear comfortable shoes, a sweat shirt and light pants, and get a backpack and some water,” he said. “If you have extra money, buy a pair of hiking shoes.”
Stay healthy for daughters
Dalupan started doing more physical activities after he developed diabetes and hypertension six years ago. He also changed his eating habits by having less rice at meals. He lost 20kg.
“I know the diseases will come back if I stop doing exercise, which is a life-long commitment,” said Dalupan, who conquered Mountain Apo, the highest in the Philippines, in 2015.
Dalupan has reached the top of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia at 4,095 meters. He hopes to conquer Mount Everest in Nepal some day.
He said that although it was worth it if he died on Mount Everest, he now has a more important mission – save enough money for his three daughters, 16, 12 and 11, to go to college in the Philippines.
“My priority list is to earn money and help my daughters get to college and finish their studies. Then I will retire and, hopefully, have something to smile about with my YouTube videos on hiking,” he said.