Pinay domestic helper in HK reaches new heights in Nepal — literally

KATHMANDU, Nepal — When Liza Avelino left her home in Davao city in 1996 to work as a domestic helper in Hong Kong, she had no idea where her life was headed.

But 20 years down the line, the 45-year-old found herself on Crampon Point, 5,900 meters above sea level on Island Peak (6,189 meters) in Nepal Himalayas, far away from her home in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

It was an emotional moment as inclement weather and health issues had forced Avelino to abandon an attempt on the peak in 2015, a few days prior to the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.

"I was in Kathmandu when it struck. I had no option but to leave. But I was determined to come back and fulfill my dream of scaling a Himalyan peak," she said of her failed attempt.

Avelino had to undergo lot of physical strain in the past year to prepare herself better to scale Island Peak this year. She also had to save a lot from her earnings to make her dream come true.

"I couldn't make it to the peak as it was very cold and it became difficult for me to continue. But I am happy at what I have achieved and hope it will inspire others to travel, trek, climb and indulge in other adventure activities," she said.

Undeterred by the quake, which killed nearly 9,000 people, and her failure, Avelino scrimped throughout the past 12 months to save nearly $4,000 for her tickets to Nepal, the trek to Island Peak, and for her gear.

Besides indulging in her passion for trekking and climbing, which she does on weekends around Hong Kong, she also wants to do her bit to empower thousands of domestic workers like her in Hong Kong.

Last year, Avelino received the Hong Kong Fund Raiser of the Year Award from JustGiving, an online fund raising charity, for managing to raise HK$10,830, which will be used to educate migrant domestic workers.

Having scaled Crampon Point, she has now her eyes set on Mount Kenya, the second highest peak in Africa, at 5,199 meters. —KBK, GMA News



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