A week ago, we visited our first hometown during our childhood days which was located at the southern part of Luzon, Bicol. My sister and I grew up with the beach just right behind our home. Our playground was the seashore, our toys were the seashells and the sand, and our pool was the sea. That is why maybe I have this intimate relationship with the ocean now that I am older.
Our itinerary was to visit the famous yet non-mainstream virgin island located at the Burias Island, the Sombrero Island. We had to cross the ocean for three hours with a boat ride from the locals. Before we decided to go there, I already did a little research about the island. Only few of travel enthusiasts and bloggers I am familiar with visited the island maybe because it’s too far and consume time. Anyway, the blogs about the island were convincing enough that anyone who reads it would itch to reach the island, even me! I went crazy convincing our parents to visit the island because of its beauty. And it never disappoint me as soon as we were just about to dock in the island. Just from far away, it was already capturing my “mermaid” heart. I can’t wait to dip into the water and drown myself with the crystal clear water of the island! White sand was covering the island shore and the coconut trees in the middle of the island made it even more beautiful. I was so astonished by the creation of our God! Plus, the sea water was not even salty and painful in the eyes. It was perfect. Every visitor could enjoy the peaceful, quiet, and serene island very far from those famous and mainstream islands I have known in the country. I got mesmerised by the beauty of the island. Untouchable. The sand was fine as powder and there were little rocks and pebbles that were white too.
It was our lucky day because it seems like we rented the whole island. No one except for us and the caretaker of the nipa hut houses was on the island which we enjoyed it even more. I fell in love with the island I may say. But as we were exploring the island, my father went in the middle of the sea (it was still low tide then) and spent for like 15 minutes there. As he went back to us, he told us that the resources in the island were gone. What he meant by that was the corals and fishes living around the island. He saw that the corals in the middle of the sea were already dead and destroyed.
Disclaimer: My Father is a seaman for his entire life. And it was destroyed all because of dynamite fishing! For God’s sake, dynamite fishing is still alive? I cannot believe what I heard from my father. I felt like all my dreams and imaginations about the island just vanished because of what I heard. I have so much care for the nature especially the ocean and it broke my hear knowing that behind this magical and beautiful island, was brutally claimed and destroyed by human. I felt bad since then and now I see the island in a different way. An island with so much to give was only being abused by some of the fishermen. The stones that I thought were pebbles were the broken pieces of the corals. Heartbreaking it was. Then my sister recalled that she saw a smoke in the sea near the fisher boat while on our way to the island. Then it made me even more frustrated. How can these locals destroy their island’s own beauty? Who to blame for giving these fishermen the choice of bombing the sea’s prestigious possession? Is it the poverty? Is it the little knowledge of the fishermen regarding the proper fishing? Or is it the government who didn’t make sure to guard the ocean and educate the people?
If they did not destroy the island’s hidden gift, maybe, just maybe, they could have profit more from it. Tourists could scuba dive or snorkel around the island which adds to attraction of the island and gain more visitors. From that, locals living near that island could make profit from the tourists.
Sad, but that’s the reality. We cannot bring back the corals that were destroyed. As the saying goes, “the damage has been done” and there’s no other way to prevent the abusing of the island but to stop these local fishermen using dynamite fishing. NO TO DYNAMITE FISHING! STOP DYNAMITE FISHING!