Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Seaweeds, Soldiers, Stilts, and Superheroes

Hannah Reyes 2012
Hannah Reyes 2012

Mindanao was a trip I wasn't prepared for. First, I didn't know what we were going to do there. I booked the flight just a few days before, and I just said yes to Jay, cause he had a plan, and I didn't bother to find out what on earth it was.


Hannah Reyes 2012

And the plan turned out to be one that involved military escorts, because it wasn't very safe.

And that was really sad, because it meant that I couldn't wander off too much to take photographs. I would've done it still, actually. I would've wandered off. But I packed only shorts. And that complicated things a teensy bit. Plus the community was a water community, so I'd have to wade from one house to the other, but my slippers kept on getting stuck in the marsh and the flip-flops' thong kept on getting detached from the sole, so that was that.



I bonded with these little schoolgirls, instead. It was a good feeling, sharing my passion with them. :) I always learn more from them than they will ever learn from me, but it was nice being able to share what I could with them.



They live in houses on stilts--a community of mangroves and marshes and seaweeds. Here they're showing me the different kinds of things they find in their waters.

Hannah Reyes 2012
Hannah Reyes 2012

Before Yellow Boat came to give them a means of transport, they had to wade and swim to get to school. Here's their story:


Hannah Reyes 2012

I got goosebumps seeing them arrive with Philippine flags in this lovely yellow boat.

Hannah Reyes 2012

When we were there, one of the kids caught my eye. I never got his name, cause he was really shy. But man, was he resourceful. He doesn't have a backpack for school, so he crafted one out of a plastic bag. Isn't he awesome? His will to go to school is beyond inspiring. He needs a bag and school supplies though. Maybe you want to donate? You can donate cash, but if you want to give backpacks and school supplies, that would be helpful as well.

You can now support our communities with your donations. Just email the scanned deposit slip to captain@yellowboat.org after so that we can confirm receipt of funds. Thank you!  
Account Name: Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Inc.
Banco de Oro - Mayor Jaldon Branch, Zamboanga City
S/A no. 3170134579
BDO Swift Code: BNORPHMM

Hannah Reyes 2012

The day after, we visited another Yellow Boat community in Lakewood. They had to walk around the lake for five hours to get to school, again, before Yellow Boat provided them with bangkas. I got stuck for a good hour by myself in an island there without my camera or my phone. In the pouring rain. And no one spoke my language!  That's a story for another day though. So I only have one photo. I just thought this kid looked like a superhero, and maybe he is.

Hannah Reyes 2012

The night before we went home, we had dinner by the bay in Zamboanga, and while walking, I heard the sound of drums. I looked over, and this is what I saw. Badjaos. I was told that a lot of them live in their boats. At night, they dive for the coins that people throw in the water. They play music for spare change. They also sell wood carvings and miniature galleon ships. I was told that they're so used to the water, that walking in land makes them uneasy.

Hannah Reyes 2012

A final little story. When our boat docked near one of the stilt houses, I knocked on one of the doors, and I was welcomed by this. It was a house filled with sunflowers and yellow things and other little amusing trinkets. Disney princesses. Things I loved. There was a window, and outside it, I saw yellow boats. On the other side was a mirror, and it was me. And for some reason, all these things came together in a tiny little place. I took this photograph, and it almost felt like I was meant to be there.

15 comments:

  1. uv been in our side of the world??! wow! i really wanted to tag along Doc Anton's team everytime they go there... :-)

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    1. You should! :) They're very accommodating, and they're such great people :)

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  2. and that last pic... it kinda warms one's heart.... :-)

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  3. Love it anak. And yes, it brightened my day but not quite. Of course it's the shy boy who is my favorite. And the last photo of course. Made me miss you more.

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  4. I really like how you go to places most people dont go to

    http://gabmesina.blogspot.com

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  5. Hi Hannah! I love your stories, especially the final one. I just want you to know that I'm one of the many people you inspire to live life to the fullest. :) I very much admire your optimism and desire to learn from life. God bless your kind soul, Hannah! And always take care, lalo na lagi kang nag tr-travel. :)

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    1. Thank you, Via! :) I'm still looking forward to the things I will learn :) Have a lovely weekend!

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  6. have you seen The Human Planet? that's the first time i got a glimpse of the Badjaos, and their life on water. there was this one gentlemen that had amazing human lung capacity and could stay underwater for 2-1/2 mins with one breath! and some Badjao children say that their eyes are clearer in the water! evolution is amazing!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgRpwESWPLM

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    1. Whoa INSANE! Thank you for sharing. I wish I could've seen them in the daytime! Bitin.

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  7. Just heard about this on the radio this morning... The story behind and the adventures were great! Keep it up guys!

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    1. Such an inspiring story, yes :) So proud to be a part of it, too.

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  8. Thank you for loving the place, I kept coming back at Zamboanga Area as a military nurse, i was assigned at Jolo, Sulu, Basilan and Zamboanga as my base for a total of 4 years..lovely people.Hope many would help out in through your stories.

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  9. Hi Hannah!

    I'm Ariadne from UP SAMASKOM and we would love to feature one of your works in our event. :D
    Is there anyway we can contact you to discuss further details? :D
    Hope to hear from you really soon and I love you photos!

    Anyway, thanks again! :D

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  10. WOW... how i wish I could do the same thing as you do. If I will be given a chance...

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  11. The yellow boat was indeed something that could give you goosebumps. I went to Zamboanga but I've not seen this other side of the place.

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