Updated: Sep 11
“Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately our desire for service will steadily grow stronger and will make, not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large” - Mahatma Gandhi
While the world is trying to figure out how we will move forward with our lives, there are those vulnerable ones in our society that struggle every day to survive but we seldom hear about them. To put things in perspective, let us consider the following:
According to the United Nations 1998 Human Development Report, ”Globally, the 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures—the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%".
To highlight this inequality further, consider that approximately 1 billion people suffer from hunger living on less than a dollar a day, yet, some 1.2 billion suffer from obesity.
Located at the southernmost tip of the Redondo Peninsula facing the West Philippine Sea, there lies a cove that can only be accessed by boat called Sampaloc Cove. Mesmerized by the beautiful environment of this place, we frequently visit it as a hideaway and an escape to this fast-paced world that we live in.
Among the other coves north of Subic Bay, such as Silanguin, Nagsasa, Talisayin, and Anawangin, Sampaloc Cove is the one we visit the most. We have seen how much it has changed from the very first time we set foot on its shores more than a decade ago from this writing. Back then, this place was occupied mostly by a very small community of Aetas and was visited regularly by fishermen who stops by to rest or hide from bad weather. Now there are more than 100 families who are living here composed mostly of Non-Aetas.
We have been working with several Aeta groups in the area and each tribe has its own set of struggles. In general, Indigenous People represent 14% of the country’s population. They are the poorest and most disadvantaged social group in the country. Illiteracy, unemployment, and incidence of poverty are much higher among them than the rest of the population.
The Aetas are one of the first native settlers in the Philippines who had inhabited this great island of Luzon in the western Pacific, learned the secrets of the natural world, and had mastered living purely with nature. The Aetas have a lot of knowledge about their environment and are often sustainers and efficient users of it, as they recognize their link to it for their survival. It is also this inherent bond of the Aetas with the environment that kept the remaining forests in the region intact. In fact, world culture has much to learn about sustainability, conservation, and environmental ethics from these people.
We are very blessed to live in a place like Subic Bay where we have lush virgin forests and beautiful pristine beaches surrounding us. We want our kids and their future kids to enjoy the same environment that we had. That is why we are doing what we can to protect places like this from getting exploited.
Unfortunately, environmental degradation and poverty alleviation are closely linked. We need to rethink how we should address these urgent global issues in order to prevent the destruction of our planet.
Slideshow Photos by: Kevin Hamdorf
If there is one thing that we should learn from this Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis, it is that we do not leave anyone behind especially those who are most vulnerable. We hope that this health crisis will open our eyes to the deeper sickness on our shared planet. Just like a virus, we need other life to thrive. We are all humans, we need to take care of our own because if we don’t, we will not survive.
Last Sunday, April 20, a small group of people composed of residents and business owners went to Sampaloc Cove to donate 275kgs of rice, 500 canned goods, 50 packs of milk, some medicines, and a couple of water filter to the 100 families that live there. Thank you to our sponsors, Grande Island Resort, Nanofixit Ventures Inc, Spartan Racing, The Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation, Bay Marine Subic, Subic Sailing Club, Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce and the Subic Bay Hotels, Attractions, and Tourism Stakeholders Visitors Board. A special thanks to the PNP Maritime Group that assisted us during the activity.
If you also want to help the Aetas, please get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This activity is dedicated to Bruce Curran.
Some references on Sampaloc Cove: