She sailed her rugged wooden boat from port to port not as a fisher not even as a seafarer but as a trained diver forced to dive in seas for coins tossed by tourists and bystanders. She dressed in wet clothes, dived without goggles and exposed herself to the scorching sun almost all day. She had no choice. She had to do it. The little sum she collected diving after those coins thrown by tourists who even cheered for her would buy them food to eat – would fill their empty stomach for the day. That is her life – a seaborne lifestyle she embraced being a Badjaodaughter, the sea gypsies of Mindanao.
This was the scene I caught when I chanced to stroll around Paseo Del Mar in Zamboanga City. This wasn’t a kind of view I see everyday but in this part of Asia’s Latin City and other parts of country, this is an everyday reality – children steering their paddle boat, diving after tossed coins, chasing little alms to feed their hunger. And that poor girl was one of them.
I was pitifully watching her from a distant observing her moves, her words and her little world. I pitied on her but I immensely admired her stunning beauty that set her apart from her peers and even from those girls whom she begged for pennies. She was beautiful. A beautiful sea gypsy.
She had that innocent look so different from her friends. She had a sun blonde hair that complimented her sun-burnt copper skin. Her eyes were sad and deep set. She had that pretty face but it seemed to bear the weight of the earth. But she was just beautiful. A beautiful sea gypsy.
I moved closer to get a good snapshot of her as she busied herself doing her business on the waters. She dived and got up back to her boat. Dived again and got back. Still, her innocent beauty retained. She was wet but she still looked beautiful. A beautiful sea gypsy.
I wanted to throw a coin. But I opted to get a 20-peso bill and asked her to paddle her boat closer so I can simply give her my shameful share. She paddled forward quickly and got what I promised. She looked at me with those sad eyes and smiled so sweetly I almost froze in awhile. Those eyes. Those sad eyes. I smiled back at her. I prayed something for her. I pray for her life in the sea of uncertainties.
But she just was beautiful. A beautiful sea gypsy.
The Travel Teller with remaining Aetas of Mt. Pinatubo Caldera
I’ve flown thousand miles, sailed across oceans and traveled far to succumb to this great wanderlust of mine. I’ve been too many places flabbergasted with its amazing sights and wonders. I’ve seen so many beautiful things and tasted so many delectable cuisines. But there’s one thing I cannot trade for anything in these travels – that is meeting other people, communing with them and making them happy.
Traveling for me is not all about going places and seeing sights. More than anything else, traveling is a great way of meeting other people of different culture, race and color. Locals, for ones, are most interesting. Whenever I feel an instant connection, I hit it and mingle with them with no hesitation or coyness. It feels really good befriending other people but it feels immaculately great when you make them happy in your own little way.
SHARE A SMILE! WIN FRIENDS! After all, as said, smile is the shortest distance between two people!
“SMILE baby! Smile!” That was already a repeat plea. We were aiming to get her interest to playfully pose and smile for us in front of our cameras. But this little girl seemed to care less. She was just so innocent. She was one of those adorable kids we met at Arakan Valley in the Province of Cotabato.
Arakan Valley is the home of the remaining descendants the Manobo Tribe who were the early settlers of these vast mountain ranges. In fact, the word Arakan is derived from the Manobo term “ARA” which means abundance of natural resources in the valley and “KAN” which means heroism, bravery and valor of the early Manobo leaders and settlers of the area. Manobo are proud people. They are proud of their heritage and their culture.
Today, these remaining members of the tribe commune as one in the Sitio Inamong of Barrio Matigol and lived together in peace as one community. When they are visited by visitors, they happily welcome them with their innate courteousness and genuine warmth.
This little girl along with the other Manobo kids of Arakan Valley greeted and welcomed us happily during our worthy visit to their tribal village – a visit that we can never forget.
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Will the card parallel the nicer interference?
COME. Let’s get into the woods of Mount Pulag…! Mount Pulag is the Philippines’ third highest mountain and Luzon’s highest. Endowed with such beauty so unimaginable and surreal, Mount Pulag is considered the “Playground of the Gods“.
I chanced to have a thrill-packed weekend at Province of Benguet and conquered Mount Pulag National Park. Climbing MOUNT PULAG was my first major climb and by far, the most unforgettable climb I had in my life. Photos and words are not enough to show and describe the exquisite beauty of this SACRED MOUNTAIN.
“Into the Woods… of Mount Pulag!”
Mount Pulag National Park
Via Ambangeg Trail
Kabayan, Benguet Province