The Bayanihan Spirit is Still Alive in Negros!
Lory Joyce Andagan | March 13, 2020
It is 5 in the morning in the town of Hinoba-an in Negros Occidental. Being surrounded by waters, the main livelihood in Hinoba-an is fishing. The splash of waves echoes blend with the chatter of the early morning crowd, the sound of iceboxes being dragged on the ground reverberates louder than anything else. As the morning goes on, more people flow in and out of the port, carrying tons of fishes to be delivered to many places around Negros and Cebu. This is the everyday situation in Brgy. Aisa – one of the barangays in town.
Most of the residents in the barangay work at the port. There are kargadors, others are in charge of weighing the fishes. At dawn, fisherfolk gather together to prepare themselves for a 24-hour fishing expedition. As the sun rises the next day, they will all dock at the port, ready to discharge what they have caught. They will be met by financers waiting for them with iceboxes and weighing scales. After a bit of haggline, they will purchase the entire catch of the fisherfolk for an agreed-on price. “Kami ang naga hatag sang ila pang gasolina sa sakayan, kung may guba gina paubra namon, kag kung ano pa ang kinahanglanon nila magpanagat sila, kami ang naga provide,” says Dane Baan, one of the financers. (We provide for the gasoline of the pump boats or if there is anything that needs to be fixed, and any other things that the fisherman needs when they go fishing, we provide.)
Out in the open sea, there is no doubt that fishermen can catch tons of fish if the weather is fine. “Kis -a budlay gid kapin pa madlos ang dagat. Gagmay man lang amon sakayan indi man kasarang sa balod,” states one fisherman (It’s not easy especially when there are strong winds. We only have small pump boats that cannot handle big waves). Because this is their only way of finding a living, everybody is eager to catch as many fish as they can.
Despite the uncertainty of an abundant haul, these fisherfolks are still very much willing to help one another. “Buligay kami tanan kung ara na sa lawod. Kami nga mga gadala sang kubkuban (small pump boats) gapalibot para sug-an ang likos (big fishing boat). Sila na dayon ang malatag sang lambat," explains Jerry, one of the fisherman (When we’re at sea, we help each other. The small pump boats will serve as the light source while the big ones lay the nets).
There are times that a fishing expedition will not do well so the crew will transfer to other areas where they will be welcomed by other fishermen in that area. This is what they also do when other areas are not doing well in their livelihood. The fisherfolk of Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental never hesitate to extend help when someone in their community needs it. The spirit of Bayanihan is still alive in the Philippines and these fisherfolks are the best example of it!