A 47-year-old man from La Paz, in the Agusan del Sur province of the Philippines, had last felt solid ground under his feet in 2014, before climbing a 60-foot-tall coconut tree near his house. He had never come down since, and would have probably stayed atop the tree till the end of his days, had authorities not rescued him by force recently.
The man, identified as Gilbert Sanchez, had apparently left his home to live atop a nearby coconut tree three years ago, after being hit on the head with a gun, during an altercation. His mother remembers that he was so afraid that someone would come to kill him that he felt that the only way to stay alive was to climb the tallest tree he could find and stay there. And that’s exactly what he had been doing for the last three years, surviving only on the food and water his mother brought him every day, which he would pull up in his tree haven with an improvised rope. He would relieve himself from the top of the tree, and not even the raging storms, the blistering heat or the ruthless insects could get him to come down.