Silot Bay

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


MANY refer to the place as a poor man’s fishing ground.

I lived in Liloan town for a few years in the mid-1970s and since I can recall, the small inlet that the town folk fondly called Silot Bay was not prospectively expected to be controversial as it is now. In fact, nobody seemed to know that particular part of the coastline where sea water came in and out of the inlet.

At the entrance of the water, beyond a bridge, is a sitio of the Poblacion called Suba. The central community has street that moves down a few meters toward the bridge.

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From the bridge, houses line the riverbank down to the sea. From there, the place is called Suba, referring to the community down to the sea, forming a corner to the place almost behind the church.

I cannot say whether that makes it part of a bay. But an ancient Spanish house on the edge of the river and along the street from the main municipal road was built by a Pilapil. The house has remained to this day as probably the oldest in the town and where the great-great grandson of the original owner now lives.

There was another Pilapil house across the street on the opposing end of bridge that is closer to the river and which overlooks the water on the entrance to the wide expanse of the inlet, actually a lake-like body of water that is encircled by dry elevated land up towards the main highway to the center of the Liloan municipality.

Incidentally, I was told that the town of Liloan itself may have gotten its name from the inlet itself since it may have emanated from the Cebuano term “lilo,” or whirlpool. And so, Liloan, or the place where there are whirlpools.

In any case, the inlet or bay--it is now called Silot--has always been an open fishing ground, more for pleasure and for livelihood by the people living around the area. But how the inlet got to be called “Silot” is beyond me.

My friend Bong, who also writes a column on this page, wrote a few days ago that he wonders how the bay got its name. He said that in Poro town in Camotes island, where he comes from, “silot” means young coconut or “botong.” But not being from Liloan, he does not know how Silot Bay was named.

Same here. But having married to a respectable Liloanon clan, I think that “Silot” in Silot Bay refers to the Cebuano term for “silot,” which is “punishment” for those who over-fish the bay.

But really, the controversy over Silot Bay is really caused by a political spinoff.

Without probably meaning to, Papa Kits, as Atty. Democrito Mendoza is fondly called by those close to him, had wanted to make a more legal hold on his portion of the Bay. A friend who knew him when he was a Social Security System commissioner helped him to work for it. And that is how the whole problem in Liloan happened.

Some people are urging for a review of the Silot Bay case. I think that is the fairest way to go, and it is good for the Liloanons.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 11, 2014.

Opinion

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