Manuel Trapalgar while having his vital signs checked in one of medical missions of Atimonan One Energy, Inc. (A1E) in Brgy. Villa Ibaba.
He is known as Barangay Villa Ibaba’s “hepe” having served for over 20 years as the barangay’s chief of police.
The years of service did not end there. In April 2016, Manuel Trapalgar took over another significant post that allowed him to dedicate his time to further lead his fellow Atimonanins. And just like his police job, this one is not easy either.
Manuel was tasked to lead 300 individuals when he was elected as the first President of New Carinay Homeowner’s Association, Inc. (NCHAI), which oversees the day-to-day activities in a housing project located in Sitio Tabuan.
He is loved by many because beyond doing his job as the community leader, he is also like a father to the residents of New Carinay.
His term officially ends in September and in over three years he spent at the helm, Manuel learned that leadership is about serving the people with selflessness, sacrifice, and the need to put the common good at the core of his leadership.
A native of Atimonan and born in a poor family, Manuel did not have an easy life. He was the youngest son among nine children and was orphaned at an early age. Because of this, he had to stop schooling when he was in high school.
“I chose to be happy no matter how hard my life is. Nothing great comes easy but with God everything is possible,” Manuel said in Filipino.
Growing up in Atimonan and having lived near Lamon Bay for most of his life, Manuel followed the footsteps of his father as a fisherman. Aside from fishing, he used to work as a grocery bagger to augment his income and provide for the basic needs of his family. He married Norma, also an Atimonanin, and they were blessed with three children.
In March 2017, Manuel’s family was among the 47 households who formally moved to Atimonan One Energy, Inc.’s (A1E) New Carinay Housing Project, which was developed for the families that will be affected by the planned construction of a power plant in Brgy. Villa Ibaba. The housing project consists of 50 housing units with plumbing, water, and electrical connection; and also has a chapel, multi-purpose hall, and basketball court.
His presidency even became more significant when the houses were turned over to the residents. Manuel made sure that his fellow Atimonanins capitalize on the resources and opportunities provided to them.
The association members have since ventured into different income-generating activities like small construction contracts, and actively honed their skills through the trainings and workshops provided by A1E.
Manuel is certain that the NCHAI is on the right direction and believes that the residents are going to have better lives.
“If I can do something that will make people do something to improve their lives, then I could say that I’ve done my job. For me, leadership is about motivating people and enabling them to achieve their goals and to do that with a purpose,” he uttered with a smile.
Manuel is an example of a community leader with a heart. He has taken full responsibility of the well-being and improvement of their community by regularly conducting meetings and discussions with the residents. These has helped them resolved issues and concerns in a timely manner.
“Soon I will be passing the responsibility to my successor, but I am still willing to dedicate myself as a volunteer to help the association achieve its vision of a community that is self-sufficient, united and accountable of its actions,” he said.
Manuel will forever be grateful to A1E for giving him a chance to continue to lead the community in his own ways and for the various social developments the company has facilitated in New Carinay.