Kids in Philippine village swim to school no more

By STAFF | June 6, 2011 | 6:14 AM EDT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Dozens of dirt-poor children in a Philippine mangrove village no longer have to swim to get to school, straining to hold their books above the water.

A government employee and blogger learned how Layag-layag village children struggled to reach school and raised money for boats. A motorboat carried them to their elementary school off bustling Zamboanga city Monday when the country's more than 25 million students returned from a two-month break.

School teacher Racquel Bangayan said children arrived in dripping-wet clothes in the past when they could not hitch a ride on fishing boats. Many often came late but a few excelled in school.

Blogger Jay Jaboneta, who helped raised the funds, said he saw the children's story as inspiring.