Here’s how you can help the student who jots down notes on banana leaf

Bonz Magsambol
Here’s how you can help the student who jots down notes on banana leaf
Donations pour in for a 16-year-old student of Lianga Comprehensive High School in Surigao del Sur who used a banana leaf to jot down notes

MANILA, Philippines – No notebook? 16-year-old student Erlande O. Monter from Lianga Comprehensive High School in Surigao del Sur still found a way to do his class work.

On November 18, teacher Arcilyn Azarcon shared a photo of Monter jotting down notes on a banana leaf. As of this posting, the photo has gotten more than 10,000 reactions and 5,500 shares. 

 “First time ko lang makakita ng bata na nagsusulat sa banana leaf. Hindi talaga ako makapaniwala. Sobrang pursigido ni Erlande sa kanyang pag-aaral,” Azarcon told Rappler in a phone interview.

(It was my first time to see a student who is writing on a banana leaf. I couldn’t believe it. Erlande is really determined in his studies.)


Filipinos online commended Monter for his dedication and perseverance despite the lack of resources. Since Rappler posted the viral photo on its social media pages, netizens have been asking how they can extend help to Monter and to students of Lianga Comprehensive High School.


Some netizens even took a swipe at the government for spending P50 million for the SEA Games “kaldero” instead of providing supplies for public schools. (READ: ‘Kaldero ng Diyos’: Netizens shocked by P50-million SEA Games cauldron)


Meanwhile, some found the post inspiring and relevant given the current state of public education.


In May, concerned netizens did not hesitate to help 8-year-old Jan Kim Enario and his classmates at the Union Elementary School in Sta Rita when photos of Kim using an improvised pen went viral on social media. (READ: Donations pour in for Grade 2 student who uses makeshift pen)

The Department of Education sought Congress’ approval of its proposed budget of P551.72 billion for 2020 – the largest allocation among all agencies – amid increasing enrollment rates and low proficiency levels among students. (READ: DepEd wants P30-billion budget increase for 2020)

Although the DepEd will still enjoy the lion’s share of the budget next year – as mandated by the Constitution – DepEd failed to request enough funds for its yawning resource gaps. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Duterte’s perverse priorities in the proposed 2020 budget

How you can help

According to Azarcon, donations poured in when she posted the photo of Monter on social media. 

To those who extended their help, maraming salamat po (thank you very much). Natulungan po nila si Erlande (They have helped Erlande). Sana po ay hindi sila magsawang tumulong (I hope they will not get tired of helping),” said Azarcon. 

For those who want to extend help, donations may be directed to teacher Arcilyn Balbin Azarcon of Lianga Comprehensive High School. You can contact her at 0948-575-6164. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.