Students reunite 97-year-old street dweller with family
Alfredo Salaver (seated front row center) is finally reunited with his family after a video of him expressing that his 97th birthday wish was to see his family again went viral on social media. Salaver and his family separated after Yolanda devastated Tacloban in 2013. With Salaver in this photo are the students who posted the video, back row L-R: Shannie Ortiz, Danhiecka Dhel Bongas, Leeanireb Dayondon, Carla Gilig, and Chariz Rumarate, and his two daughters and nephew front row L-R: Mary Conchit Iniego Salaver, Mary Christine 'Violeta' Salaver-Santos and Jojie Salaver.
Contributed Photo
Students reunite 97-year-old street dweller with family
Mae Clydyl L. Avila (The Freeman) - November 15, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Christmas came early for the teary-eyed Lolo Alfredo Salaver as he was finally reunited with his long-lost family last Friday.

Salaver, who had been a street dweller frequenting Magallanes Street, became popular on social media when a video of him receiving a birthday cake for his 97th birthday from some college students gained a response of almost 700,000 views.

The college students who brought the cake and shot the video, Danhiecka Bongas, Carla Gilig, Leeanireb Dayondon, Shannie Ortiz, and Chariz Romaratena from University of San Jose-Recoletos, had earlier befriended Salaver whom they constantly see in the school vicinity.

"Everytime makakita mi ni lolo sa gawas sa gate, naa gyu'y something niya nga makaduol mi niya. Malooy mi niya maong muhatag mi og food, unya storya-storyaan namo." Said Dayondon in behalf of their group.

The group has been actively finding ways and means to help for Salaver, but since he can still walk, no home for the aged facility will take him.

For a while, Salaver was given shelter and cared for by Carla Gilig and her family.

In the video, Salaver revealed that his wish for his 97th birthday was to see his family again, especially his daughters Mary Cristine and Mary Conchit.

Social media as a platform proved to be effective as a lot of netizens tagged a national Sunday show to feature Lolo Alfredo's inspiring story.

Personnel from GMA News Network coordinating with the Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho program reached out to the students.

"They are the reason for us to achieve this goal easily.  Through the social media we were able to find his family a day after his story was featured in their program," said Dayondon.

Mary Christine, who is now known as Violeta, came and presented evidence that she is Lolo Alfredo's daughter.   

Even as Salaver has been united with his family, the group of students said they will continue to communicate with him.

"The person may go far from us, but he will remain always in our hearts. And because of them we learned not to give up in life," Dayondon said. (FREEMAN)

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