Scavenger Who Loves Science and Books, Actually a Licensed Teacher

Netizens were surprised to discover an old scavenger who loves science and books. If you ask him, he could tell you the scientific name of any plant! Many wondered who this intelligent old man was and why he was living in the streets.


Photo credit: YouTube / GMA News

Identified as Alfredo Manuel, the old man collects garbage in the Malate-Ermita area but lives in Sta. Ana, Manila.

He first went viral after Debei Cargando, a student at University of the Philippines-Manila, shared some of his photos on social media.


Photo credit: Debei Cargando / GMA News

UP Manila history professor Benjie Mangubat was interviewing Tatay Alfredo when the student took the photo. The history professor would later reveal that Tatay Alfredo is no ordinary scavenger – he’s an education graduate who had actually passed the licensure exam for teachers as well as the civil service exams!

From Janitor to Educator

In the interview, Prof. Mangubat learned that Tatay Alfredo had once worked as janitor in an elementary school. Dreaming of a better life, he decided to go to school to complete his education.


Photo credit: Facebook / Andrew Pamorada

True enough, after years of being a working student, Tatay Alfredo was able to graduate from the University of the East with an Education degree. He subsequently passed the board exam in 1992, making him a licensed teacher. Then, he was also able to pass the civil service exams.

From janitor, Tatay Alfredo has successfully become an educator!

He went back to the elementary school he used to work in as janitor, this time to apply as teacher. But he was shocked to learn that he had pending theft charges at the school, something he knew nothing about.

Wanting to prove his innocence, he tried the next 5 years to have those charges dropped and to also apply from the school, but his request had fallen on deaf ears.

From Educator to Scavenger

Disheartened, Tatay Alfredo lost his will to find a job as teacher and began a life in the streets, searching trash bins for recyclable materials he could still sell to junk shops.

Parang ang unfair ng society. Educator siya pero nangangalakal siya ng basura. Siguro nga disorganized siya, pero nakakapanghinayang pa rin,” Prof. Mangubat told GMA News.

Gusto talaga niyang magturo. Tuwang-tuwa ‘yan ‘pag may kumakausap sa kanya. Kakausapin ka pa niyan in English…ako nga’y teacher, pero may mga alam siya na hindi ko alam.

After learning about his story, a number of students began to visit Tatay Alfredo. Some would bring him books, aside from also giving him food.


  1. I am hoping that someone could help him like being hired in a school even just a short period of time. I think that is the best help we could give to the old man…happiness and self fulfillment.

  2. I don’t pity, Tatay Alfredo. He doesn’t need it. Rather, I ADMIRE him GREATLY. He such a courageous soul to still continue to live despite the injustices that were served to him. Just reading this write up, I would even say it’s admirable and that he is to be emulated. He still see life as a joy and he keeps on working and living. Hats off to you, Tatay Alfredo! The next time I go to Malate-Ermita area, I shall surely go to you, China with you and have your autograph ahahaha! I hope to meet with you po in person, Tatay! Godspeed po 💪


  4. Exact location po, please? Pwede kasi syang dalhan ng a few kids then allow him to teach for an hour or less… then get paid. Kahit once a week lang kasi di rin naman tayo ganun ka abundant ang pera. Para lang kahit sa twilight years nya, he feels needed and useful. Pero sana alam natin exact location nya or kung saan sya madalas humihinto para magpahinga. Any leads?

    • Hello Ma’am Sarah. We’re still reaching out to other people about Tatay Alfredo’s location po. But as early as now, we thank you for your initiative and willingness to help po. God bless you po Ma’am.

  5. He is an inspiration especially to people who easily give up on life. God bless po Tatay at sana po ang patnubay at mga biyaya ng Panginoon ay sumainyo po. At sa institusyon po na di na sya nabigyan ng pagkakataong tanggapin, sana po wala ng Tatay Alfredo the second. Thank you for this write up.

  6. I hope that his life story would not be in vain, his life story would be given a due ending, a positive turn out to be a real inspiration to everyone one of us. He should not be on the street, rather preserve him a living testament that judging a person by his past would not give everyone a justice to learn a story. Judging others is a crime.

  7. To those institution who are within your reach, you may consider hiring him in a capacity that he can still contribute to our society. Let’s allow him to be a recipient of grace as a victim of injustice. It seems Education runs through his veins.

  8. Salamat sa nag picture kay tatay alfredo at sa nag post. Kahit matanda na si tatay sana matupad nya parin ung pangarap nya na makapagturo. Godbless those who wants to help him. Godbless din po kay tatay Alfredo.

  9. I am also a teacher like him, a struggling working student in college, please somebody to help him realize his dream of becoming a teacher even for a short period of time…God bless to whoever be touched by God…

  10. Disheartening indeed. Poor people dream of becoming a teacher in the hopes of getting out of poverty. And yet, it’s the same dream that made his life worse. He is a victim of selfish folks who deprived him the opportunity for fear of who he might become.

  11. tatay’s only dream is to teach. Kahit sa abot ng makakaya ng kanyang kalusugan. Ramdam ko na iyon ang magbibigay sa kanya ng lubos na kaligayahan…

  12. was he convicted based on the accusation? should be verified so justice be served and offered to deserving innocent citizen.

  13. Was Mr. Alfredo proven guilty? If he wasn’t proven guilty then justice must be served justly and rightly in order to have better integrity for Mr. Alfredo..pls try to dig his case charged against him..

  14. He can still teach , if there are school who are willing to take him in even , if we really wanted to help there are a lot of ways. Sayang walng tumulong sa kanya at nakadiscover ng kakayahan niya.

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