About 300 meters away from where we live – and a mere 3 minutes of motorcycle ride -- is a beautiful shoreline where we sometimes take our kids to for some dipping. The other day, early in the morning, I just decided to tag along to snap some pictures. Was I happy that I did, for I captured a few photos of how our fishermen neighbors do their fishing.
The sea in Dumaguete is relatively clean, much cleaner than that surrounding Manila or Cebu, thanks to the absence of large industries and plants. The sea this particular morning is of a lovely teal tint, soothing in its serenity. Fishermen are said to be the poorest of the poor here in the Philippines, but I think they fare well here since the sea is clean and teems with fish.
Could you see that dot in the distance? That is an oncoming fishing boat.
At the sight of the fishing boat, these men, who, just minutes ago, are loitering in the shoreline, are off to meet the boat. All these men belong to the same neighborhood of small-scale fishermen. Most are fishermen themselves, some are fish peddlers and a few are boat-builders. What are they up to? To buy fish?
The men are there to help lift the fishing boat onto the shore. Hubby thinks the boat weighs about a hundred kilos, not including the catch, which could be a hundred too. Or more. Or none. You know how fishing goes. Here they are taking their places at the outriggers, ready for the hoist.
The boat is carried aloft by this band of simple fishermen, some young, some old, all cheerful.
I overheard one of them say, “O, smile mo, kay naay na-micture!” (Smile, somebody’s taking pictures!)
The boat is now on dry land and onto its place right beside the boat owner’s house by the sea.
The custom is for the fisherman to pay the lifters one fish each, with each fish about 250 grams, or 3 to 4 servings. On this morning, the fisherman caught what many thought was a hundred kilos of fish. He probably gave away 6 kilos to the 15 or so lifters. The rest would be sold to the city market. He would earn probably a thousand. Minus his fish for consumption. Minus the fuel for the motor boat. Not much would be left, I guess.
The lifters, on the other hand, get even less. A typical lifter would spend an hour or two every morning to help lift a total of about 3 fishing boats. He would thus get at least 3 fishes in the process, enough to tide him over to the next morning’s boat-lifting session. Unless he has a big family.
That’s a day in the lives of fishermen here in this simple fishing village.