NLEX's “Humans of the North” series features stories of unyielding spirit and deep cultural bonds


NLEX Corporation recently launched a "Humans of the North" mini-documentary series that lends vibrancy to destinations in Northern Luzon by adding a dose of human touch. The series is envisioned to focus on ordinary people who have managed to create a ripple of positivity that extended beyond their communities.

Believing that "stories are the marrow of humanity", NLEX gives these hitherto unknown men and women from Northern Luzon a voice to convey their own narratives of advocacy, human strength, and powerful bond to their cultures and traditions.

In a recent gathering with travel writers, NLEX premiered the first 3 episodes of the “Humans of the North” series. The first episode will be released online every month starting in October.

A kutsera who overcame odds

After years of working as a kutsera (coachwoman) in Vigan, 46-year-old Ditas Gonzalo uprooted and moved to the city in pursuit of a better life. A tragic turn of events saw her husband pass away suddenly, leaving her to return to Ilocos Sur's old colonial district and raise her children alone.

Vigan Travel Guide

Ditas went back to her family's profession as a guide and driver of horse-drawn carriages so she could make ends meet. Ditas, one of just six female kutseras out of a total of 150 in plying the cobblestone streets of Vigan, is adored by both clients and her male counterparts for her strength and determination.

Her story exudes the steadfast spirit of a Vigan woman who now thrives in a once male-dominated industry in one of Luzon’s most historic destinations.

A farmer who planted the seeds of community empowerment

When Manuel Acosta's lifelong quest of finding a greater purpose took him to La Union in 2016, little did he know he was already planting the seeds of his advocacy — Ibit Farm. Today, his farm is one of the leading DOT-accredited Agri-tourism sites in Northern Luzon.

La Union travel guide

Acosta's journey began with near-zero background in farming. Through self-learning and  constant sharing of farming knowledge and collaboration amongst his fellow farmers, he was able to implement sustainable and cutting-edge farming techniques and creative agricultural practices. This enthusiasm quickly blossomed into a crusade to help La Union's impoverished farmers. Not long after, he founded the "Adopt a Family of Farmers" program which currently have four farmer families participating in the program receiving training, credit, farm inputs, and livelihood.

A social entrepreneur weaving heirloom tradition into preservation

When 60-year-old Ezra Aranduque returned home to Sagada from his world travels, he also brought home a passion to keep alive a family tradition that had been passed down through many generations.

Sagada travel guide

Aranduque continued his family's weaving business after the passing of his mother in 2007. At first, he struggled with the finances, sales and keeping his few weavers employed.

Despite the early challenges of not only managing a small business but also to remain loyal to the traditional weaving method practiced for centuries in Sagada, Aranduque not only able to grow the business and uplift the lives of indigenous female weavers he employs, but he also kept the community tradition and a family legacy alive.

These stories set in the beautiful landscape of Northern Luzon are part of several others that are guaranteed to reignite interest in the real heart of travel: the humans that make a place and culture come alive.

Catch the rest of the episodes at the official Facebook page of NLEX Corporation’s Humans of the North.