I told one friend about the clean-up we are having and I asked her where is the best area in Cebu to do the activity since I’m not familiar with the city. She answered that it would be more meaningful if it’s in the riverbanks or coastal areas. So we researched for the nearest one to make it easier for the volunteers. We now have the Gulf of Guadalupe River. Yey!
Well, I got to know the place better through google map and yesterday, I ventured out with another friend to look for the area and to tap the barangay officials. It was a real challenge getting to the right path because we were in a maze- a.k.a. slums area. The place looks different from the map I researched and my friend kept asking if I’m not scared or am I sure of what I’m doing and going. I told her that we should just enjoy getting lost because that’s where the fun starts. I said it with a wink.
After walking for hours, we finally got to see the very dirty gulf. “This is then the area we will clean tomorrow. Wow. Just wow. We were dazed by the sight- trash piled up.”
We went around the river and went to the barangay. We were asked to wait and so we waited- for around three hours. THREE HOURS?!! Good thing I had my book and my friend likes talking. So instead of getting pissed, we used the time for catching up.
Hooray! The man who promised to come back returned after the sun set and he led us to the farthest point of the slums- the gulf of the river. He introduced us to one of the officials and that was when our perspectives changed. He told us the area, the problem, the people and what they initiated to solve this it. I decided to record the middle of the interview because I want to replay the sincerity of his voice as he talked about the challenges they face everyday.It was very moving to know that they created an NGO for the concerned fishermen who wanted a clean river, gulf and seas. They also initiated some agriculture stuff in the area but there are things he said I would never forget:
“Ang kulang nato tanan kay ang disiplina. Sige ratag reklamo nga way buhat. Kinahanglan di ta mag-agad sa mga tawo nga naay sweldo ug sa gobyerno. Dapat mismo kita manghilok kay oo tinood man jud nga di mahurot ang basura peru maghulat diay ta nga kita tanan matabunan ug basura?! Oo nagpuyo mi sa squatters peru di man ni tanan gikan sa amo- gikan na sa bukid ug sa uban nga naa sa unahan. Ngano sige man tagpasa2 nga hugaw man sad ni sa tanang tawo- madato o ma-pobre. Disiplina ra gyud ato kulang ba…”
“The only thing we lack is discipline. We always have something to say without actions. We should not be dependent to the people who have salaries and to the goverment because we, ourselves should act because yes, it is true that the trash will not disappear but do we have to wait for our trash to devour us?! Yes, we live in the slums but not all the trash comes from us. Why do we always pass the blame to one or the other when in fact- these are all HUMAN’S trash, our trash – may it be the rich or the poor. Discipline is the only thing we don’t have…”
Join our team later and hear more about these inspiring fisher folks. Let’s ride the boats for a cleaner and greener Cebu!