Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Boracay Blvd

Boracay is usually associated with white sand beaches, blue green water, and a tourist attraction. But that's actually, Boracay Island... the exact opposite from the Boracay Blvd I visited early Monday morning. Instead of white sand beaches,it

shores were covered with garbage and rubble, instead of blue green water is murky brown water, and instead of a tourist attraction, it is an area that residents are being driven away from their homes.

Signs are posted in front of homes and along the road that read, "We're not against the development, but include us in the development," or "Negotiation, rather then demolition."

According to residents living there, the area that they have been residing at for almost all their lives---some about 50 years--- are being asked to leave because the space they are occupying is government owned. The government is now planning to develop roads, buildings, and factories and need the residents to leave. Some have no where to go and are asking for some kind of compensation to start over. Some are given money that is not enough, and some have had their houses demolished without given a cent.

Many residents who have revolved their lives around fishing, find themselves jobless because fish no longer occupy the water that is polluted from the rubble and garbage of the demolition. Many residents have no where to go and have no money to support their families....

Here are a few photos, and I will update the story as much as I can.

Signs that read, "We're not against the development, but include us in the development," are posted along Boracay Blvd in Cavite, Philippines. Residents living in shanties are forced to abandon their homes, which will be bulldozed to make way for roads, buildings, and development.

Maria Casquio, 47, and her grandson, Louis Casquio, 1, sit outside of their house on Boracay Blvd. Maria has been living in this area for 10 years, and does not know where she will go if her house is demolished. Residents want to negotiate with the government, rather then be forced to leave without any options. "Negotiation, rather than demolition."

Right along the highway lies mountains of garbage and heaps of gravel that once used to be where homes stood but were torn down.

Nehalie Legaspi, 47, has been living and fishing here all his life. His income is based on the fish, crab, and shellfish he was been catching. But lately, since the demolition started, many of the fish have retreated out of the area, making it harder for Nehalie to make money.

Jerry Amistoso, 37, a father of three kids, had his house was torn down a few weeks. His life has revolved around fishing, now he is left with no job to support his family.

Children living in the area bathe in the unsanitary water---jumping, laughing, and playing.

After having his house torn down, Jerry was lucky enough to find a place by his sister's house, right across the road from his old house. Unfortunately, the community he just moved into will also eventually be demolished.

After sharing his story Jerry begins to tear because he feels like he cannot help his family. They only eat twice a week he said. He has been trying to look for a job, but it is hard because, "All I know is fishing and the sea."

Jerry has a family of three--- Charlene Mae, 9, Jake, 7, and JP, 2.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

From death to rebirth

"Do you like sunsets or sunrises?"

That is a question my uncle asked me about eight years ago. The question was prompted after I showed him some photos I took of several sunsets... I answered, "Sunsets."

"You know," he said, "You could tell a lot about a person from their answer to that question..."

And then we would talk about death, birth, and get into what kind of person I was simply because I liked sunsets. He was the deep and philosiphical uncle who encouraged me to do what I LOVE. and that made a world of a difference to me...

I've been replaying that scene a lot in my head lately... i suppose more so now since he recently passed away. Whenever I did visit him in the hospital, it was usually late, when the sun was setting, with deep orange saturations and hints of purple peeking out of the cloudy skies.

I thought of him again when I arrived at the airport here in Manila. It was about 5am, and morning traffic was just beginning. As the sky transformed from dark to light my senses awakened to all that was the Philippines--- the jeepneys, the traffic, the humid weather, the pollution, but also family, the food, and the familiarity of it all. While the sun was rising, my mind was racing with thoughts of a new beginning.

It's definatley exciting...

It's a Sunday afternoon right now, and I'm residing in Dasmarinas. It's my third day here, and it's been filled with visiting the fam, EATING, sleeping, and MORE EATING. I'm getting restless tho...i've contacted a few people and organizations, and gotta plan on meeting with them this upcoming week...

We'll see... eeeee!!!!!

As for photos, I will upload as soon as I can hook up my laptop somewhere....