Tag Archives: banton

You Can Help Typhoon Victims: GOAT DISPERSAL PROJECT

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Just days before Christmas 2015, Typhoon Nona struck Banton Island, Philippines leaving behind complete devastation. Coconut trees uprooted, houses in ruins, no power or water. In some communities only two houses were left standing in the wake of this storm. An estimated $3,053,600 USD of destruction was sustained including the demolition of agricultural crops and livestock essential for food and livelihoods.

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I recently visited some of these communities now 2 months after Typhoon Nona and the damage is still omnipresent. Families are trying to rebuild, but it takes a coconut tree 10 years after planting to bear fruit, meaning that what was formerly these families’ primary source of income will not be viable again until 2026. These families are in need of a solution NOW!

Help me raise money to provide one goat to each family impacted by Typhoon Nona on these islands. SEE MY PROJECT

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The primary aim of this project is to restore food security and a means of income to indigenous peoples of Romblon who sustained partial or complete damage from Typhoon Nona. The grant will fund the purchase of one goat per affected indigenous family in 3 barangays. Each family which receives a goat will be required to return one female goat after the first birthing allowing the program to expand to additional barangays and two other islands also affected by this typhoon.

In addition to receiving a goat, each family will receive one follow-up visit by an experienced goat farmer following the receipt of the goat to ensure health of the animal is maintained and answer any additional questions which arise from the family after an initial period of care.

This visit is also designed to assist and advise families on the nature of goat farming business so that each goat will be both a source of food and income. Contact information will be provided for a veterinarian should the families have a medical emergency for their goat. This veterinarian has offered to perform basic services free of charge for this program.

In the second round of goat dispersal, both the original goat farmer and one member of the original recipient group of IP families will advise the second round of recipients. By the third and future rounds of goat dispersal, all advising needs for new families will be conducted through the recipient family leaders. The municipal community has contributed to this project by completing a destruction assessment and identifying those families in need. Members of the National Commission on Indigenous People will act as the distribution and implementation labor force for this project.

It costs approximately $70 USD to purchase and deliver a goat to one family. Help us reach our goal! DONATE

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Note: If you donate $70 or more please send an email to bycesj@g.cofc.edu and you can name your goat. I will send you an email back when the project is completed with a photo of your goat and its new family. Thanks!

Las Tres Islas…pockets of pristine beauty!

Conception, Corcuera and Banton. Las Tres Islas. The three northern islands of the province of Romblon, reachable in 1 to 3 hours by a banka (small Filipino boat) depending on the size of the waves. The three most remote municipalities of Romblon, but potentially the most beautiful!

Last week I conducted coastal resource assessments of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove habitats with the help of 5 other staff in my provincial office. The most exciting and most tiring of these was the manta tow.

Manta Tow means holding on to the manta board and being dragged behind the banka (boat) over the coral reef to estimate coral coverage and locate regions of reef, sand, seagrass…etc.
Manta Tow means holding on to the manta board and being dragged behind the banka (boat) over the coral reef to estimate coral coverage and locate regions of reef, sand, seagrass…etc. Later we will return to the islands with SCUBA gear to assess coral cover on specific identified reefs and fish abundance.
Hold on tight! Over 6 days we surveyed the circumference of 3 islands amounting to 90km.
Hold on tight! Over 6 days we surveyed the circumference of 3 islands amounting to 91km.
Our data sheet with categories for percentage of live hard coral, soft coral, dead coral, dead coral with algae and sand/rubble.
Our data sheet with categories for percentage of live hard coral, soft coral, dead coral, dead coral with algae and sand/rubble.

Accomplishments from our week of assessments:

  • 91km of coastline assessed by manta tow
  • 27 Seagrass surveys
  • 4 Transects laid in mangrove habitats
  • 34 Meetings held with local fisherfolk

Observations: 42 sea turtles, mostly green

Positives: Beautiful hard and soft corals with reef quality in some locations comparable to Apo Island Marine Sanctuary, which is one of the Philippines’ oldest and most renowned has been protected since 1985. With several deeper reefs the islands offer great potential for dive tourism.

Threats: Many crown-of-thorns were observed, along with coral bleaching and algal overgrowth, cuttings in some mangrove habitats, coastal pollution and future development.

Next steps: Crown-of-thorns removal and improvements to the management plans for existing protected areas. As a Peace Corps volunteer I will work with the provincial office to meet with the municipal mayors, other staff, and local fisherfolk to share these results and implement protection and restoration where it is needed.

WATCH THE VIDEO FROM OUR ASSESSMENTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2G9qsx8u1w

Photo credit: Loren Tihanyi
Photo credit: Loren Tihanyi

29 Years Later….

From left to right: Greg (a PC volunteer from '86) and his wife, Kate and Mat (current volunteers also living in Odiongan), Ate Lorie (Greg's former language instructor and my close friend) and me!
From left to right: Greg (a PC volunteer from ’86) and his wife, Kate and Mat (current volunteers also living in Odiongan), Ate Lorie (Greg’s former language instructor and my close friend) and me!

Yesterday, I met a Peace Corps volunteer who served on one of the islands of Romblon from 1984-86 and now returned 29 years later with his wife for a visit. Greg Krieger, from North Dakota, lived on the small island of Banton before there were any roads and transportation meant walking or taking a small boat. Now the island, though still small, has paved its perimeter to accommodate motorbikes that are now the primary means of transportation there. Greg served as an agriculture volunteer and although his former home has now been replaced by a power plant, the community he served as not forgotten him. Upon arrival he was greeted by welcoming meals in numerous homes and tales from his 8 Filipino godchildren (In the Philippines it is typical for a child to have many godparents, maybe 6 to 12 for one child, while in America we only have two).

When I asked what differences he noticed in coming back: increases in government employees and stores were to be expected, however the noticeable decline in dental health since the 80s was most interesting. Interesting, but not surprising, an abundance of candies, sugary foods and soda has contributed to this decline. Those well off may be able to afford dental care and braces, however in the more rural towns I have yet to see an adult with a full mouth of teeth. Black decay in both teeth and gums is very noticeable. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I have the privilege of full health and dental care. I recently traveled to Manila to see a dentist for a new retainer (When I traveled to Romblon for fiesta, I returned to find small pieces of plastic on my floor: a rat had eaten my top and bottom retainers!). This trip to the dentist turned out to be great fun, because after the appointment she invited me to visit her gym and we attended a body combat class and a weight lighting class together. After she left I did cycling and active yoga!

All in all, Greg was once again awed by the hospitality of Filipinos. He reached out via Facebook to try and coordinate his trip and once word got around that he was here, people from throughout Romblon were excited to see him again. I am willing to bet that someday when I return people here will still remember the American who ran and rode her bike everywhere!