by Boboi Costas, Community Organiser, Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS); Founder, Grassroots Travel
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.
There they were, debating deep into the night whether to buy that old village house, or not. On a night like this, the discussion sometimes turns into a lively argument, punctuated by the sound of nocturnal bird calls. A flash of lightning occasionally illuminates the mangrove canopy, followed by a distant roll of thunder on the horizon. It’s the beginning of monsoon. Finally, a decision was reached: they have to acquire that house, or it will fall into the hands of antique dealers in the city.
In 2009 I arrived in the river village of Bojo, Aloguinsan in the central Philippine island of Cebu. Its waterway snaked through a thin deforested mangrove forest, its water almost dark with algae and scum from the water buffalos the locals used to bring down into the river to bathe after a day’s toil in the farms, and from the waste dumped into the water. The river, fed by almost a hundred springs was an oasis where the whole community turned up to wash their clothes especially on weekends. Fishing devices for catching fries littered the water. It was dirty.
But it seemed the locals had the best of both worlds from farming and fishing. While waiting for the harvest season which happens twice a year, the men would venture out daily to the sea to fish (sometimes with dynamite) for a living. The women took care of the kids and wove grasses into mats to augment the family’s income. It seemed like all was well with the world.