Students at remote village in the Philippines forced to ride horses to school every day

Students at a remote village in the Philippines ride horses to school every day because of lack of public transport.

Mel John Malino, 11, (wearing red in the video) is a grade six student at the Lower Tinago Elementary School in South Cotabato, the Philippines. He travels to school every day with his classmates Erwin Gumbaan and Arnel Galay on the back of his pet horse, named Buddy.

Mel John wakes up at five in the morning to bathe and feed the horse before he prepares for school.

After taking a bath at the river, he will pick up his friends at the road.

"I want to help my friends go to school so I pick them up every day," Mel John said.

The kids had to ride the horse along the 3km stretch of the rocky mountain trail.

Mel John's relatives lend the horse to him in exchange for taking care of it. They are a member of the Philippines indigenous group Tboli Blaan, who reside in the mountain range of South Cotabato.

Lower Tinago Elementary school head Richard Padernal said that despite their situation, Mel John excels at school.

The teacher said: "He is one of the tops of his class and has perfect attendance. He is also very generous to his classmates."

The school head also said that not many children from Mel John's tribe continue with their school because of the distance.

South Cotabato is one of the poorest regions in the country. The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that one out of 10 students in South Cotabato stops school before they reach grade 6.