A Genius scavenger who can tell the Scientific Name of any plant!
Hoax or Fact:
The message talks about a scavenger named Alfredo Manuel claiming him as a genius who can tell you the scientific name of any plant.
The story of Alfredo Manuel came into limelight when Rachel C. Barawid published an article titled 'Teacher Scavenger' on Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation website. The article referred to a video documentary with the same title, produced for GREATWK program of De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila, Philippines. The documentary 'Teacher Scavenger' was created by ICT senior students Andrew Pamorada and Cris Akol for a school project on social outcasts. You can watch this video (in Filipinos) from the reference section below. Initially, they wanted to feature street kids, but eventually they came across this old scavenger Tatay Fred (seems to be referred by various names) and his poignant story. The students were surprised to learn that Alfredo Manuel was not a typical scavenger, but a licensed teacher, a bookworm and was even a model employee in a public school once.
Story of Alfredo Manuel
The full name of this 62+ years old interesting man appears to be Manong Alfredo Manuel. In 1966, a few months before graduating from his education course at the University of the East, Fred was forced to drop out of his studies because he did not have money. He started working as a janitor at the F. Maria Guerrero Elementary School in Sta. Ana, Manila. He used to clean classrooms and lavatories, but nevertheless, Alfredo Manuel continued to develop his love for learning by reading lots of books on variety of topics - mythology, botany, herbal medicine and science. Manong Alfredo could recite poems in Spanish and also learned to write essays.
After few years, Fred went back to his school to finish his remaining four units and get his much deserved diploma. Fred passed the teachers' board exam in 1992 and even took the civil service exam. In due course of time, his hard work and good performance earned him praises from his principal and superiors, but unfortunately a twist of fate shattered his dreams. The old man laments saying that his colleagues envied and slandered him - saying he stole school funds, after which the division superintendent and the principal turned against him.
Alfredo Manuel tried to apply at the Manila Science High School and Roxas High School for five years, but his application was rejected because of his supposedly bad record at F. Maria Guerrero - the pending theft charges. Because of this, Fred was forced to make a living as a scavenger, selling scrap, junk, and recyclables.
A Successful Teacher Nevertheless
In spite of the fact that Alfredo Manuel could not pursue a successful career as a teacher, many students whom he taught as kids have grown up to become very successful. According to them, teaching for Tatay Fred was a very serious job, he was well-trained and employed creative and engaging strategies to make his teaching effective.
The current picture that comes with his story was taken by Debei Cargando, a student at University of the Philippines, Manila. As reported by GMA news online, Alfredo Manuel can tell you the scientific name of any plant - possibly so, because of his years of reading botany books.
This Teacher Scavenger is a bachelor who lives with a relative in Sta. Ana, Manila. He no longer dreams of teaching, and says even if he gets to clean his record, because of his old age, he may not be fit for the job now.
An interesting point to note here is, the very first disclosures about this 'Teacher turned Scavenger', Manong Alfredo Manuel - an article on ABS-CBN news website referred to a special report of TV Patrol aired on September 11, 2011. But for some reason, the special report Video and also the aforementioned article on Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation appear to be deleted now.
Whatever the case is, Manong Alfredo Manuel is indeed a Genius who is unfortunately wasted as a Scavenger!