The heartwarming story behind this viral photo


Posted at May 18 2016 10:41 PM | Updated as of May 19 2016 12:18 PM

MANILA - A photo of a small shanty on top of a mountain has been making its rounds online, not for its simple beauty, but for the story behind it.

Gideon Lasco, who, according to his profile on Facebook, is a physician, medical anthropologist and mountaineer, posted the photo on his page, detailing the story behind it.

According to Lasco, he is used to losing his mobile phones under different circumstances - to petty thieves, to snatchers, and at one point, to the sea, after his phone slipped while he was texting on a boat.

"But there was a time when I thought that I had lost my phone, only for me to get it back in a way that helped me appreciate an often-misunderstood part of our country," Lasco wrote in his caption, narrating how he lost his phone while traveling in Maguindanao.

"I was traveling in Maguindanao when, upon returning to Cotabato City, I realized that my phone was gone. At the time, the Maguindanao massacre was still fresh on people’s minds and I have to admit that I felt a bit of unease while traveling in the area. In any case, even if the disappearance happened anywhere else in the Philippines, I honestly thought that there was no chance that I could ever get my phone back," Lasco also wrote.

He, however, was surprised when his friend and host in Cotabato, Dr. Zhamir Umag, received a message from his mobile number, with someone asking how he can return Lasco's missing mobile phone.

"It turned out that I had left it on the jeepney back to Cotabato, and it was picked up by someone from Buldon, Maguindanao. Zham communicated with the finder and they made arrangements for the phone to be brought back to Cotabato the next time the finder goes to the city."

According to Lasco, he was already in Manila when he received his phone via courier. Upon turning it on, he saw various pictures that must have been taken by the children of the person who found the phone.

"It revealed a mountainous area and a wooden house (like the one in the picture) that must have been their home. Surely, if he had sold the phone, it would have made for a significant sum. The more I looked at the photos - the finder's young kids, his wife, and their small village - the more I marveled at the kindness of the finder."

Touched by what he saw, Lasco asked his friend to offer a token of appreciation to the honest person and his family.

They, however, declined the offer.

"Please tell him that we're not expecting any reward. We're just being good Muslims," the finder told Lasco's friend.

The photo, which was posted Wednesday morning, has been shared 1,458 times. It also has more than 8,600 "likes," with more than 60 people expressing their appreciation for the story.