CAGAYAN DE ORO

Fisherfolk: Long break reinvigorates 'sea life'

VIRTUALLY unsure of humanity's fight against the formidable unseen enemy, experienced fisherman Marvin Pagalan had the sea stretching along the vast Macajalar bay of Cagayan de Oro giving him a wonderful surprise one day.

Suddenly, a bit uplifted Pagalan enjoyed the nature's special offering in a very soothing way that he and the rest of the local fishing folk had not experienced for a long while.

"Very comforting nilahi ang aura sa dagat karon, ang haplos ug smell sa hangin naay lahi nga aroma humot, refreshing nga matawag wala kaniadto nga disturbed kaayo ang kinaiyahan (Very comforting, the sea has a different aura now, the breeze and the smell of air is pleasing and refreshing which I can say didn't exist before when the environment was disturbed or polluted," said Pagalan after fishing out on a sunny Friday morning.

The global scourge coronavirus had eventually crippled Pagalan's other source of income which is gigging with various show bands as a resourceful base player.

He was immediately impacted by the economic downside, especially after learning the death of folk singer friend George Bagsic who succumbed to cardiac arrest days after receiving a "memo" from the manager of the establishment that he regularly performed that music in the house will stop, for the meantime, to avoid the possible spread of the aggressive virus.

"I'm quite brokenhearted by George's passing but going back to fishing give me some relief."

Marvin's fishing buddies, Dondon and Pepito, observed that a long break from the boisterous beach goers, among other potential pollutants, seemed to spring back a new lease of life to "yamang dagat" or healthy food stuff underwater.

"Lima ka klase among kuha karong adlawa dire lang duol sa baybay, naay gisaw, budboran, kikilo, puti-an, palata wa pay labot ang shrimp nga among gi apil sa kinilaw (We got five kinds [of fishes] today, just near the shore, there's gisaw, budboran, kikilo, puti-an, palata aside from shrimp which we include in kinilaw)," said Don, an engineering graduate who was smitten by the fishing bug.

The quarantine measures have equally provoked a joyous response from some residents living in seaside barangays.

Among them is former barangay Bonbon kagawad and mediaman Ercel Maandig who sees the diminished human influences on the natural environment as vital in the sea life's reinvigoration and renewed normalcy.

"Vulnerable ko sa disease as an asthmatic, hypertensive and with allergic rhinitis. But the bay is life-saving itself especially now nga peaceful ang baybayon," Maandig said.

Waking up on a cloudy Wednesday, April 22 morning, Maandig had this one to share.

"Ang eksena sa among baybayon limpyo kaayo nga mora'g malipayon kay naka pahulay sa mga trashes ug ihi nga ni sagol sa tubig dagat...Abused by humanity but ang Covid-19 mao ray nakapa relax sa atong kinaiyahan, not the environmental laws (The scene of our shores appear clean and bright because it was able to breath from trashes, urine and other pollutants in the sea. It was abused by humanity but only the Covid-19 made way for our environment to regenerate and relax and not the environmental laws)."

To the extreme level, one might be tempted to think that "corona is the cure" and that "humans are the disease".

Whatever, Maandig further shared observation of his neighbors who operate a fishing net called "Gahid".

He said "medyo nidaghan daw ilang kuha og dunay isda nga nawala na nga karon nabalik nila'g kuha (their catch increases and there are types of fish which resurfaced)," referring to "Palata" of the so-called "isda sa bato (stone fish)" family of species.

To this, both Pagalan and Maandig and their fishing friends have agreed that after the surge of Covid-19, the government must establish a law that will pave the way to giving the natural habitat a "breathing space" for a rewarding results.

"Sa quarantine tungod sa Covid nakapahulay ang dagat. Dili man kita scientist or authority to make suggestions, but why not imposing a law na maskin sa isa ka tuig lang naay one week nga sarado ang mga beaches aron maka-ginhawa sab ang kinaiyahan," was Pagalan's telling point.


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