BE COMMUNITY

Homegrown: A Resurgence On Farming and Fishing

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Writing, translation, and pictures by Charles Paul E. Alimpoos / @thecharlespaul

Before homegrown Siargaonons were entertaining guests on the island, they were firstly farmers and fishermen. Their daily lives were spent growing various plants and vegetables as well as crafting fishponds from organic materials, which they used as their source of food and income. One could say that farming and fishing are innate in a local's hands. Unfortunately, instead of a source of pride, these vital occupations are often looked down upon, deemed as lowly and provincial. However, as the island’s tourism is mandated to take a break, Siargaonons are going back to their roots and digging deeper for survival.

Before the community quarantine, Elmie “Mimi” Golandrina, a 44-year-old mother of four, was working at a homestay in General Luna. This was her way of providing for her family. Her common-law husband sold bamboo straws in the unnamed yet widely known view of coconut palm trees in Maasin. But with the enhanced community quarantine, she was temporarily laid-off from work. With the bounty of land in her backyard and skills in farming, she once again plows the land to plant vegetables.

“I have been planting kamote (sweet potato) tops for as long as I can remember. My mother and father did it. Through agriculture, we were sent to school and kept alive. Before working in General Luna, I tended a small plot of land where my vegetables grew organically. When the pandemic hit, I revived my crops immediately. Somehow, I had a hunch that my little farm would ultimately become the saving grace for my family.”

With more than ten vegetables growing in her backyard, Mimi contemplates how this garden has been beneficial not only to her family but her neighbors and relatives as well, whom she shares her excess vegetables with. Truly an act of selflessness.

Mimi’s common-law husband, Repoldo, used to earn 300-1000 Php per day selling bamboo straws. Now that sales are down, he is back to shrimping in the rivers. “We don’t really have a choice but to get on our boats and go back to fishing. It’s a matter of survival, and we’re raised to succumb to any challenges no matter how great they are. The river is bountiful, and without the tourists, we have to scour the land for food.” Usually, Repoldo would get a kilo of shrimp which they could sell for 280 per kilo but given the situation, they would rather consume it and share it with their relatives. After all, the goal is to survive this pandemic together, as one family, as one community.

Going back to roots is a challenge that is integral to growth. Siargaonon identity is a product of their expansive land, and with or without tourism livelihood, it is good to know that the lumadnons have the land and sea to forage. For as rich as the soil that they stand on, as deep as the ocean that surrounds them, they would always have their resilient spirits—untamed by any virus.

Surigaonon

Pagkabuhi sa Panahon sanan Pangisda An pagbalik nan mga Siargaonon sa ila gamut para matambajan an kagutom tungod sa pandemya na coronavirus.

Adisir paman nag-atiman nan mga bisita ang mga Siargaonon sa isla, una anay sila na mga kugihan na mga mang-ouma sanan mga marajaw na mga mangisdaay. An ila panadlaw-adlaw na kinabuhi kay taghatag nila sa pagpadako nan klase-klase na mga tanom sanan mga gulay apil na isab an paghimo nan fishponds gikan sa mga materyales na organic na amoy ila tagkuhaan nan kwarta sanan pankonsumo. Makalaong kita na an pangisda sanan pananom kay jaon na sa mga kamot nan mga lokal pero inin mga simple pero grabe ka importante na panginabuhi kay isahay sawajon, panpobre sanan panprobinsiya matud pa. Pero kuman na hinay an turismo, an mga Siargaonon kay namalik sa ila mga gamut para mokabot sanan mo-utok para mabuhi.

An waya pa an community quarantine, si Elmie “Mimi” Golandrina na 44 años na jaoy upat ka anak kay nagtrabaho sa isa ka homestay sa General Luna. Nagtinabangay sila nan ija ka tibo na namaligja sab nan mga kawajan na straw didto sa overlooking coconut deck view sa Maasin. Tungod sa stikto na balaod mahitungod sa community quarantine pareho sila wayay trabaho sanan kita pero sa kadako sa lupa sa ila likod nan bayay sanan kahibayo sa pananom, si Mimi nubalik sa pagpadako nan mga gulay.

“Mahibayo nako mananom nan gayay sugod pa an bata pako. An ako nanay pati tatay mang-ouma na amoy nagbuhi sanan nagpakswela sa amo. Adisir ako nagtrabaho sa General Luna may ako gamay na tamnanan nan gulay na mga organic,” Tag storya ni Mimi kon unoy rason na mahibayo sija mag-alaga nan mga pananom.

“Tag-balik ko an pananom an pagsugod nan pandemya tungod kay nasayod ako na inin ako gamay na tamnanan kay dako an matabang sa ako pamilya.” Dili mo ubos sa napuyo ka mga gulay an tanom ni Mimi na ila tagkonsumo nan ija pamilya pero dili makalimot si Mimi na manhatag sa ija mga silingan sanan mga lumon.

Si Repoldo na live-in partner ni Mimi kay mokita sa una nan 300 hangtud sa 1000 pesos an adlaw sa pamaligja nan mga kawajan na straw. Pero tungod kay wayay turista na mamalitay, nubalik sija sa panguha nan mga pasayan.

“Wayay man gud ato mahimo kun dili mangisda balik para mabuhi. Waya man kita tagpadako para mo surrender sa mga kalisod bisan pa kun uno kadako. An dagat grabe na isda sanan pasayan tapos kuman na wayay mga turista sa isla, kinahanglan maghanap kita nan lain na pama-agi para makakaon.” Kasagaran makakuha si Repoldo nan halos isa ka kilo na pasayan na pwede nija ibaligja nan 280 pero tungod sa kahimtang kuman, ila rakan ini konsumohon sanan ipanhatag sa ila mga lumon. Total an ija gusto kay makalingkawas sa pandemya isip isa ka pamilya, isa ka komunidad.

An pagbalik sa tag-gikanan kay malisod himuon pero kinahanglan tungod kay ini parte sa pagdako. An mga taga Siargao kay produkto sa libo-libo na ektarya na lupa. An ila mga kinabuhi no gana tungod sa turismo sa isla, pero marajaw huna-hunaon na inin mga lumadnon kay dili makabsan nan lupa sanan dagat na makuhaan nan pangita sanan pagkaon. Sa kadako sa lupa na ila tagtindugan, sa kalambo sa dagat na nagpalibot sa ila, an ila kabaskog sanan kaisog dili mawaya—dili makuha nan bisan uno na virus.

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