Curiosity killed the cat but curiosity led me to uncover the stories of two different island dwellers whom I met in Bohol in 2009.
No man is an island. We heard this cliche hundreds of times. But what if a man and his family live on an island? How do they live?
The fast-paced life in the city is good enough reason for most people to escape to a remote island. But not so for someone who has lived all his life in a one-hectare white sand bar situated between crystal clear blue green waters.
Fifty-one year old fisherman Guilly Alonar, who grew up in Pandanon Island, said that life in the city would be much better than on the island.
“Sa siyudad, basta magtiyaga, mas maraming pera dun. Dito sa isla, magtiyaga ka, kakaunti lang ang huli na isda (In the city, as long as you’re hardworking there’s money to earn. Here in the island, even if you work hard, you only catch a few fish,” replied Guilly, who lives in the island village along with some 2,000 residents.
Pandanon Island is one of the nine island villages of the municipality of Getafe in Bohol province.
Guilly told me that the island has no market but has an elementary school and a health center, with one midwife to help pregnant women give labor. Instead of going to another island, they buy food from middlemen.
Guilly is a father of six. He sustains his family by fishing and cleaning the beachfront. From fishing alone, he just earns Php 90 per kilo of fish.
“Kung ako lang, dito na lang din ako sa isla pero may pangarap ako para sa mga anak ko. Gusto ko silang makatapos ng pag-aaral kahit high school lang (If I don’t have a family to feed I can live here but I want my children to finish even high school),” said Guilly, who did not finish his secondary education.
His first-born is currently in first year high school in Cempao Village while his other kids are studying at the Pandanon Elementary School.
Life in the island may seem complicated for Guilly but not for Adi Tañeca who found contentment and peace in Dumog Islet near Bilangbilangan Village in the municipality of Tubigon.
Tañeca, a housewife and mother of three, transferred with her family on the islet upon the village captain’s request. Her husband was assigned to look after the island.
“Sinabi kasi ni kapitan na kelangan daw bantayan itong isla kasi maraming nangunguha ng buhangin (The village captain said the island needs to be guarded because of sand here is being carted away),” said Tañeca adding, “Noon, marami din ang nagpapasabog ng dinamita pero nung nalaman nila na may nakatira na dito sa isla, tumigil na. (Dynamite fishing also used to be rampant but not since there are already inhabitants).”
Tañeca lives with her family in a humble native nipa hut, which is the lone hut on the island. Her husband is given a sack of rice per month in exchange of guarding the island.
“Kung ako tatanungin, gusto ko dito nalang kami. Noon, ‘yung mga anak ko nagkakasakit doon sa nayon, dito hindi. Masaya dito kaysa doon sa Bilangbilangan. Maingay dun, dito tahimik talaga (I prefer living here. My kids don’t get sick as much and it’s much quieter in here),” she said.
This story was published on Inquirer.net. Here’s the link to the original story.
- How to get to Pandanon Island- One can reach Pandanon Island by boat from Mactan Island, Cebu or by boat from Getafe, Bohol.
- Pandanon Island has a chapel and a mini-park, which serve as venues for beach weddings. Kayaking is another activity to do in this island.
- How to get to Dumog Islet- hire a boat from Brgy. Bilangbilangan, Tubigon, Bohol
- In Dumog Islet, there’s only one hut and a long stretch of white sand bar.