I have been in and out of Dapitan in the past years and I was always told that the shortest man in the world who hails from Sindangan in Zamboanga del Norte now lives in Dapitan. The second floor of the Dapitan City Tourism Office is where Junrey Balawing stays. The building is a well-preserved heritage house of the Adasa Family.
So off I went to Dapitan City to see Junrey. As I climbed the stairs, I heard the sound of wheels over wooden floors. This little man was riding his bicycle and having the time of his life zipping from one end of the terrace to the other in spite his weak knees. He was oblivious to what was happening around him until his father told him that he had a visitor.
He stopped biking, smiled, and talked gibberish.
Junrey Balawing was presented the Guinness Record in June of 2011 as the shortest man in the world at 23.5 inches or less than 2 feet and weighing 5 kilograms.
At birth, he was as small as a 1-litre Coca-Cola bottle and stopped growing at the age of 1. Until now there is still no other medical explanation for his lack of growth but maybe an endocrine or birth-related defect.
In February of 1992, the title would later go to Chandra Bahadur Dangi of Nepal but upon Chandra’s death in 2015, Junrey now holds the title as the shortest man alive.
Some may say it is freak but with Junrey’s happy disposition and the title that he was given, we cannot help but be proud of this little package with a big title.
How to get there:
Major airlines fly daily to Dipolog City from Manila and Cebu. Dapitan City is 30-45 minutes away from Dipolog City.
The Dapitan City Tourism Office is at the Adasa Heritage House in Josephine Bracken Street, Dapitan City.