THE Lord declares "For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.”
According to the village folks, the farm lands have receded because the sea has overtaken portions of the land right after this year’s typhoon and the sea boundary of Barangay Cabaruan, Santo Tomas La Union moved to its former shoreline. It is significant because sea fishing is the major livelihood of people in this side of the country.
This community has a church, but services are not regular. There is a barangay hall, but rarely do you see any activity. There is no other semblance of any government’s presence in the villages. The only government service that is evident is the presence of the school in the barangay and a senior high school near the seashore. The roads that leads to the barangay are not fully concreted, similarly the breakwater wall of boulders. These are the government service made evident, other than that there is lack.
Life of the fisher folks here maybe hard every time we pass by the sea shore, the fisher folks are at their work pulling a net, distributing the goods and yet the villages look so despondent For a lot of times, passing by the barangays we see men and women playing cards (tong-its), drying their palay by blocking half of the road, teens playing basketball, children scattered around the yard and the roads. A lot of times, I see the fisher folks pulling their nets, half submerged in the sea or pulling their bancas drawing them to the shore. And if their children do not study and find other jobs, they will inherit this kind of life and pass it on to their next generation.
Marcial is a fisher man. His first daughter worked in various jobs in Manila and later moved to Baguio. As soon as she was eighteen she became an unwed mother and went back to Santo Tomas and stayed with her parents.
Marcial’s son Mario Joe was followed by three other children. His son Mar Joe was sent to BSBT College and he finished Hotel and Restaurant services in one year. He then worked for five months in a restaurant in a mall and later moved to a bakery, where he is presently working. He tells me that he is saving his money while helping his parents financially. In this case, those who go out of the village and find other work, maybe have better future than the children of fisher folks who will remain in the village and later become another fisher folk.
Our neighbor’s daughter studied and now worked overseas, she periodically sends some balikbayan boxes to her Millet and Asiong, her parents. Until the government made a crackdown and made balikbayan boxes difficult to transport. Through her parents she extends a monthly feeding program. She is another example of one who studied and left the village and found work which. She is another example of those who left the place and worked outside to send back to money to the family.
It’s a common observation that in these types of communities where social services are minimal and government presence is not felt, the people remain poor. One that can help them is for members of the family to move out and work elsewhere and help the family back home.
Then we ask, if only the money that over flows during election was put to use in extending services to the people, than progress and development could become real.