Hope in the Face of Adversity


Written by Christophe Bariou | Pictures by Alexa Ray Cuadra

When humanity is facing vital challenges, it can bring out the worst of people. Fear, panic and despair, triggered by all sorts of threats, cause one to isolate, to consider the other as an enemy, to think selfishly in order to survive as an individual rather than as a community or even a species. Indeed, there is great temptation to think about yourself and not helping others. It is at this moment that we fail as a community, as a society. This said, against life-threatening challenges, the only way to prevail, is realising as soon as possible that we are all in the same boat, that no one is protected by themselves, and that we should all stand united, think and act as one super-intelligent living organism. This is true when we face global issues such as climate change, which is still by far the greatest threat to humanity, but also when we face a pandemic like COVID-19.

The community took little time to reorganise itself, looking inwards instead of outwards.

On the other hand, these challenges also bring out the best of us. Here in Siargao Island, since the COVID-19 Community Quarantine began on the 15th of March 2020, tourists rushed to leave the island, leaving almost only local and foreign residents. The bright side of this is that it also dramatically reduced the stress on imported food and basic necessities, leaving enough for those who need it the most. The community took little time to reorganise itself, looking inwards instead of outwards.

On our unique island, many different initiatives popped up, much like mushrooms, to fight against this new threat, so many in fact that we cannot list them all here. ‘’Siargao Barter’’ was created by conscious residents to reinforce the local economy. Many goods, ranging from food and plants to clothes and everyday equipment, are now exchanged between residents without the classic intermediate of money. The Project ‘’Hardin ng Pagbabago sa Siargao’’, that started a few months ago, before the pandemic, is now more relevant than ever on an island that depends greatly on the importation of food.

Paradoxically, the island quarantine gave a greater initiative to accelerate this project, which aims to give back Siargao its food self-sustainability, whilst increasing food security. Indeed, more residents are now paying attention to these new organic permaculture farms, popping up all over the island. These farming projects, led by Police Chief Inspector Vicente Wise Panuelos of General Luna, now represent one of the biggest hopes for the island to recover from this crisis: generating jobs and lowering the prices of fruit and vegetables. The locally sourced pioneers from ‘’Lokal Lab’’, in Burgos, are also reinforcing their existing responsible and local farming system spread in the north, offering weekly deliveries of their locally grown organic produce to the main towns and General Luna at pickup points. Orders can be made directly via their Facebook page @lokaltabo.

For all our front liners, enforcing the “Stay at home” policy on one hand and taking care of monitoring and healing our sick on the other, the ‘’Community Kitchen’’ was created at the beginning of the quarantine by Alexa Cuadra, Drew Paroz, Jake Henderson and Tiffany Raymundo, who are local residents of General Luna. At first, their goal was to quickly offer daily support to all the frontliners that were working overtime, but their mission quickly expanded to helping all those households and residents that needed it the most.

The team of 4 originally started cooking in their own kitchen on the 22nd of March, however, to realise the full scale of the operation they would need outside help to cope with the level of demand, which is where Lamari Restaurant stepped in by extremely generously offering their professional kitchen as a contribution to the cause. Since then, the team of now 9 full-time volunteers managed to cook on average 300-350 meals per day! After only 1 month, they have already been able to cook and distribute around 8,000 meals thanks to the donations from all over the island: from local residents to local businesses. As of today, they are mainly distributing to the Barangay’s of General Luna and they have even managed to deliver 350 meals to Daku Island.

The Community Kitchen is once more calling for the generosity of the people of the island because they also want to help the northern part of the island. The furthest they have reached so far is Barangay Maasin in Pilar, but they wish to cover the entire north in the coming weeks! If you feel generous and want to help in any way, please contact them through their Instagram @siargaocommunitykitchen.

As we can see, like is often the case here in Siargao, the best comes out of a community that still knows how to stick together during hard times. The quarantine may come to an end in the next few weeks, but make no mistake, the island will take some time to go back to normal, a few months for sure, maybe even a year. We all hope that during those difficult times, we, the local community, the local residents, the foreign residents, the tourists and whoever else is here on the island, with a kind heart, will still remain united as one.



Tagsuyat ni Christophe Bariou | Mga pictures gikan kan Alexa Ray Cuadra | Tagsuyat sa Siargaonon ni Charles Paul E. Alimpoos / @thecharlespaul

Kon an mga tawo maka-agi nan kalisod, pwede mo gawas an pagkamayaot sa mga tawo. Kahadlok, kalibog sanan kaalingit na gikan sa mga kaguol amoy mga rason na molajo an isa ka tawo, na maghuna-huna na kontra nija an tanan, maghuna-huna para sa ija kaugalingon ra para makalingkawas sija, imbis na iban an mga tawo sa komunidad. Tinuod na hamok manunuyay na maglaong sa ato na unahon nato an ato kaugalingon ugsa pa an iban. Diri na panahon na makalaong kita na palpak kita isip isa ka komunidad. Kon maka-atubang kita nan lisod na panghitabo, isa ra an pama-agi para makalingkawas ta, ini an pagdawat na kita tanan nagsakay sa isa ka baroto, na wayay tawo na nag-inusara, na kita tanan magkahi-usa, maghuna-huna sanan mulihok isip isa ka komunidad. Tinuod ini kon makaatubang kita nan kalisod sa tibuok kalibutan pareho sa climate change, na hangtod kuman amoy pinakadako na problema sa kalibutan, pero apil na sab an pandemic na COVID-19.


Sa isa ka bahin, ini na mga kalisod amoy makapa-isa sa ato. Diri sa isla sa Siargao, sugod an COVID-19 Community Quarantine an petsa kinse nan Marso 2020, an mga turista nagdali-dali panabi sa isla, an mga nabilin halos mga lokal rakan sanan mga foreigners na diri na naghuya. An nakarajaw ini kay no-ubos an kalisod sa pagkuha nan pagkaon sanan mga panadlaw-adlaw na kinahanglanon, an mga nabilin kay para rakan sa mga tawo na mas nanginahanglan. An komunidad paspas an pagrespondar, nakahanap nan solusyon dajon. Sa amo isla, hamok mga kinasing-kasing na solusyon an nanunga, amo ra nan barudong, para makalingkawas sa ini na problema. Sobra kahamok na dili nato mahurot paglaong diri. An “Siargao Barter” kay nahimo sa mga residente na naghuna-huna sa ekonomiya sa isla. Klase-klase na mga pagkaon, mga buyak, baro sanan mga gamit kay tagbaylo-baylo nan mga residente bisan way kwarta na apil. An proyekto nan “Hardin ng Pagbabago sa Siargao”, na nagsugod pila ka buyan adesir pa an pandemic, kay mas importante kuman sa isla na nagsalig sa pagkaon gikan sa lain lugar.

Tungod sa quarantine sa isla, mas paspas an lihok sa proyekto na gusto mabalik an pag-uma sa Siargao na mas kusgan an pagprotekta sa mga tanom. Tinuod na mas hamok mga taga-isla an nakagusto sa mga organic permaculture na mga tamnanan na hamok nanunga sa tibuok isla. Ini na mga proyekto na tamnanan kay tagpamunuan ni Police Chief Inspector Vicente Wise Panuelos sa General Luna kay amo nay kuman naghatag nan dako na paglaom para makalingkawas an isla sa ini na kalisod: paghatag nan trabaho sanan pag-ubos sa presyo sa mga prutas sanan mga gulay.

An mga lokal na nagmando sa “Lokal Lab” sa Burgos kay tagpakusog an ila responsibilidad sanan lokal na pag-uma sa entiro norte, kada semana maghatod sila nan ila mga tanom sa lahi-lahi na mga lungsod sanan General Luna. Pwede mo order gamit an ila Facebook page na @lokaltabo.

Sa ato mga front liners na nagbantay sa polisiya na “Stay at Home” sanan amoy nagbantay sanan nagalaga sa mga jaoy sakit, an “Community Kitchen” kay nahimo an pagsugod sa quarantine nila ni Alexa Cuadra, Drew Paroz, Jake Henderson sanan Tiffany Raymundo, na tanan mga taga General Luna. Sa pagsugod, an ila gusto kay makahatag nan panadlaw-adlaw na supporta sa mga front liners na way pahuway magtrabaho, pero nudako an ila misyon sa pagtabang sa mga bayay-bayay sanan mga tawo na mas nanginahanglan.

An grupo nan upat ka tawo kay nagsugod sa pagluto sa ila kaugalingon na mga kusina an 22 nan Marso pero dali nila namatikdan na para makatabang sa mas hamok na tawo, nanginahanglan sila nan tabang sa iban labina kay mas hamok tawo an dapat matabangan. Diri na tagpagamit nan Lamari Restaurant an ila kusina na di lamang hawan pero kompleto pa sa gamit isip tabang sa misyon. Sugod adto, jaon nay 9 ka full-time volunteers na makaluto nan 300-350 na pagkaon kada adlaw! Mahuman an isa ka buyan, nakaluto sanan nakahatag na sila nan 8,000 ka pagkaon salamat sa mga nag-donar sa entiro isla: gikan sa mga lokal na residente sa mga lokal na negosyo. Sa kuman, mga barangay sa General Luna an ila mga sanan nakahatod sab sila nan 350 ka pagkaon sa isla nan Daku.

An Community Kitchen nangajo nan tabang sa mga mahinatagon na tawo nan isla tungod kay gusto sab nila na makahatag sa norte na bahin sa isla. An pinakalajo nila na naabtan kay an Barangay Maasin sa Pilar, pero naglaom sila na mahatagan an entiro norte sa mga sunod na semana! Kon ikaw mahinatagon sanan gusto na makatabang sa bisan uno na pama-agi, palihug pag kontak sa ila gamit an ila Instagram na @siargaocommunitykitchen.

Sa ato nakita, hilabi na sa kaso diri sa Siargao, mogawas an pagkamarajaw sa komunidad kon magkahi-usa sa kalisod. Basin mahuman na an quarantine sa sunod na mga semana, pero ajaw kasajop, taas pa na panahon an tagkinahanglan para mabalik kita sa daan, pila ka buyan or basin ngani tuig. Kita tanan maglaom na sa panahon nan kalisod, kita, an lokal na komunidad, mga lokal na residente, mga foreigner na residente, mga turista o kon sin-o paman an jari sa isla, na jaoy marajaw na kasing-kasing, kita magkahi-usa.

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