Eulogy: Roger Guzman, Mt. Pulag Driver, Friend of Mountaineers

Roger Guzman

1975-2010

I’ve always wanted to feature Mang Roger in this website, considering his important role as the transportation contact for Mt. Pulag. He was the driver of choice in all our Cordillera mountain trips. Personally I’ve made arrangements for more than a dozen jeepneys from this guy and not once did they fail us.
When I joined the PALMC Bakun Trio climb last year, I got a chance to talk to him more. He personally drove our group all the way to Bakun, and, as part of the package, he had to stay the whole 4 days that we were there. I asked him, “Don’t you get bored, waiting for us?” He told me that he was also enjoying it; “Masarap gumala,” was his reply, adding that he really loved to drive, ever since he was a teenager. Perhaps for him it was an adventure in itself, traversing all those long and winding roads-less-traveled, seeing the mountaineers clad in their outfits, excited, free-spirited, joyful.
How did it all begin? He recalls a group of mountaineers approaching him in the jeepney terminal in Baguio City, as he was waiting for his turn. It was the summer of 2001. They asked him if his jeepney can make it to Mt. Pulag; they have tried others but they were disappointed. The intrepid Roger gamely agreed to take them to Mt. Pulag Ranger Station; the mountaineers were pleased, and for the next decade he became a familiar face to all of us.
That is why he was considered a friend of mountaineers: he did not just take us to the jumpoff; he was part of our expeditions. It was important for him to take us to the jumpoff, in the same way that it was important for us to reach the summit. His cell number is in every mountaineering club’s phonebook. And even when the oil prices rose, he held fast with his mountaineer-friendly rates that made Pulag accessible on a weekend.
Unfortunately his good relationship with mountaineers was viewed by some with envy, and the last time we met, in April 2010, he expressed concern about some people who wish him ill. I remember during the 1st PinoyMountaineer Charity Climb in 2009, before we parted at the Victory Terminal in Baguio, he said, “Sir, salamat sa kabuhayan.”
Kabuhayan! This man was earning his keep humbly and with integrity. Though an Ibaloi, he offered free transportation to the Kalanguyas in Babadak and he gladly brought the sick people to the hospitals in Baguio when needed. If he had raised the jeepney prices for Mt. Pulag, we wouldn’t really complain because we trust him and he virtually had a monopoly and yet he stuck with his friendly rates, just enough for his family.
For such a good man to be killed in his own town in La Trinidad, mercilessly, is such a atrocious offense and the mountaineering community strongly condemns it. He was at the prime of his life and if not for this evil deed, he might have been still around to take our children to the beautiful mountains.
Sorrow reigns today but very soon, justice is something we must clamor for. The killer, and those behind his death, must be punished. And we must make sure that if they do exist, those who sought to profit from Mang Roger’s demise will not have the morbid satisfaction of getting what they want. We look forward to Roger’s nephew, family, and associates continuing his jeepney service. They are the worthy inheritors of the reputation and relationship that Roger has built with us.
Manong Roger, you will be well remembered. A good man, a reliable driver, a great friend of mountaineers.
This eulogy was read by Raniel Guzman, nephew of Mang Roger, during the funeral service in La Trinidad, Benguet, July 29, 2010. Photo taken in September 2009 in Bakun, Benguet.

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68 Comments on "Eulogy: Roger Guzman, Mt. Pulag Driver, Friend of Mountaineers"


Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I've been here in Japan for 2 and half year. It was only now I've learned about Mang Roger's demise.

Any news about the killers? i hope the family will get justice.

Guest
Anonymous
6 years 7 months ago

we all demand justice for manung roger.. we all hope for justice to be served ASAP… to all mountaineers, pls stay with his mountain guide jeep, the pink jeep he used before to transport visitors to the park and now being manage by his older brother charlie… there are many new jitneys now being used to carry visitors to mt pulag so pls stay with manong charlie to really help manong roger… u might be misled by the commissioner of this crime so pls stay with manong charlie…remember, no judgment yet for the suspect of this crime and they are pressumed innocent by the law until proven guilty…who knows, one of the new jeeps now is the real perpetrator of this crime..so pls stay with manong charlie…just a reminder frm the tourist guide in the area

Guest
justtruth
6 years 11 months ago

I know the feeling of losing someone you love and someone who is very good man….may the TRUE KILLER be known…

Guest
nining "AMBIT"
7 years 21 days ago

tito roger ,. we'll be missing you so much ,. there are alot of times that we are together,. with mama,ate,bunik,joshua and other relatives, . we really cant accept the fact that you are gone 4 just a nonsense reasoning of your abductor,.

i still remember when we went to la union with tito elias and tito denver,. we all have fun together on the first day,. we used to sing on the karaoke., and on the 2nd day,. we went to beach at san juan,. we really enjoi dat especially with ate ella bcoz you are the one who holds our hand (left and right) when the big wave is coming,. you lifted us ,. so after the wave passed us,. we immediately wiped your face,. haha,. ., miss dat,. ur also with us when we will have an outing in our class,.

i also remember that i and ate are having a hardship just to get your "BUWA" as a pasalubong to you and t2 denver and t2 elias,. our maleta was full of that thing,. haha :)) ^^

>pasensya na daw tito kung nagttxt ka kay mama pero di ka nia pinagbibigyan,. kc alanganing oras ka naman kung mag yaya ,. hehe,. mama wont forget the last day he saw you.,. its july 16,. when you went to our hous and texted mama ,. "ada ak ditoy ruwar balay u" mama tought that ur just kidding,. but when she went out . she was surprised coz you were really there,. she was attempting to wake me ,. but i was on a sleep,. ur hugs and kiss to mama is the unforgetable moment 4 her dat nite,.

>we are very glad and happy that u became a big part of our lives,.
>me and ate usually say to each other that u are our FUTURE PAPA ,.. haha . , but we guess, it wont happen anymore,. YOU'RE A BIG LOST TO US TITO ROGER .,. :((
>haist,. i wont forget the day that you called me "AMBIT",. you also promised us that we will come back to la union and that you will take us to mt. pulag,. hhhhhhhmmmmmmm.,.,.

* JULY 26- your death and mama's birthday,.*
> WE LOVE YOU PO TITO ROGER !!!!
>remembering you always .,

-nining
-naning
-bunik
-bunso
-& MAMA :)) ^^

Guest
Anonymous
7 years 3 months ago

wat a sad news…. i was even trying to call his number to arrange for our Pulag trip this September…
(huhuhu) can't believe this… i won't forget my first climb in which he drove us from Baguio to ranger station…. Our group was an hour late and he didn't even complain. He's such a good man to deserve such kind of death… JUSTICE MUST BE SERVED
thanks sir gid for this post

-from Richelle Elisan, Silhouette Hiking Society