Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Muelmar Magallanes

When Tropical Storm Ketsana hit Manila on a Saturday in late September, Muelmar Magallanes didn't do much. Like most residents of the Philippines' capital, the 18-year-old construction worker was used to heavy rains pelting the city. But by the time the storm had unleashed its full fury, bringing the worst rains the region had seen in more than 40 years, Magallanes had changed the lives of dozens of family members and neighbors — and lost his own. After hearing that a nearby river had jumped its banks, Magallanes helped move his family to higher ground as water engulfed his village. Then he went back to do the same for some 30 neighbors. After helping a mother and her infant off a makeshift raft, an exhausted Magallanes was lost in the water, his body recovered the next day. "He gave his life for my baby," Menchie Penalosa, the child's mother, told Agence France-Presse. "I will never forget his sacrifice."