|A group of men laying down the nets not far from the shore|
Eating sea foods is one of the best things I love do just a bit closer to traveling . But I have to pay respect to the people responsible for making these marine resources available to public consumption. And this is when the unsung heroes of our society comes in , the dedicated fishermen that mostly at the bottom of the chain being bypassed by the services from the government.
There are many established ways of harvesting the God given marine resources but most of them are destructive in nature. One for example is the destructive bottom trawling used by the giant corporations, Muro-ami, cyanide fishing , coral fishing and so many on the line.
It is not until I made a short visit to the town of Cantilan where I witnessed another sustainable means of fishing. Upon waking up very early in the coastal bay of Baybay, Cantilan, I accidentally witnessed the communal fishing method in Cantilan known as Baling, a community activity that involves men and women of the nearby barangay using huge nets set into the water to catch marine fishes.
|The slow pulling process takes an hour until the nets are ashore|
The process starts at dawn where fishermen lay down the huge nets at the nearby shore leaving it there for hours until noon. A group of fishermen then slowly recover the nets by pulling the long bundle of threads supported by a strap worn on the waist of all the volunteers including the women.
The method was painstaking and requires patience as the "pulling" process takes time that requires lots of energy and uniformity. The fishermen have to do it slowly because of the resistance of the sea current, giant waves and the great weight load of the net .
Alternately, the fishermen have to go in front of another upon reaching the sandy shore to retain the momentum of the pulling.
|The strap placed on the waist of the participants during the pulling process|
After an hour or two, the net will come ashore with all the trapped marine resources on it. The participants will collect the harvest and shall be categorized whether it is good for selling or just for household consumption. The people who participated with the process will have their equal shares. There is also a recorder and market representative in charge of selling the fishes of good quality to the buyers waiting patiently along the coast to be sold at the local market. The earnings then shall be divided equally among the major participants of the Baling.
Baling isn’t done daily as the locals know the carrying capacity of the sea. They know better that the sea needs time to replenish its resources . This form of bayanihan is a proof that our population can survive and be productive with common efforts.
|Catch is classified based on quality for selling to the local market|
It’s just sad that this tradition can hardly be seen now a days as giant corporations take the greater part of the sea. If we could only work hand and hand and set aside our personal and greedy interests, the world will be a better and peaceful ans sustainable environment to be handed on to the next generations.