Sam and his dear friend, WESCOM commander Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, on Pag-asa Island in June last year.

A touching story of friendship and kindness has emerged from Palawan, where a young boy’s simple wish to have a new toy robot was granted by a ranking navy officer who has become his dear friend.

Five-year-old Samuel Archie “Sam” Garciano, who lives on Pag-asa Island in the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea, received a toy car from Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos during a visit to the island municipality in June last year in celebration of Philippine Independence.

However, it eventually broke after a year of use, and Sam expressed his wish for a new toy during Carlos’ recent visit.

Moved by Sam’s request, Carlos sent a new toy robot to the island from miles away on April 22, bringing a huge smile to the little boy’s face. Sam expressed his gratitude and promised to take good care of his new toy, and eagerly awaits the chance to thank his Admiral friend in person.

Sam finally gets his wish, a toy robot sent by WESCOM commander Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos on April 22.

“As a loving father himself, VAdm. Carlos was touched by Sam’s candid wish that he immediately obliged by sending the toy from miles away just so Sam gets what he had wished for,” the Western Command (WESCOM) stated in a post on Saturday, April 29.

“WESCOM commits to bring more toys, gifts and lots of fun and surprises for the young and old in Pag-asa Island’s much awaited town fiesta this month of May,” the Command added.

WESCOM said the gesture highlights the importance of simple acts of kindness, especially during these difficult times. It is also a testament to the strong bond of friendship that can form between people from different walks of life, despite physical distance and other challenges.

The dispute between China and the country in the West Philippine Sea is a long-standing territorial conflict over the control of several islands, reefs, and shoals. Pag-asa Island is in Kalayaan municipality and is the largest of the nine islands that are part of the Philippine territory.

There are about 400 people living on the island, including civilians and military personnel. The civilian population is mostly composed of fishermen and their families.