Haribon and SEED host workshops on Social Entrepreneurship for Burgos locals
by Miguel Lorenzo Panopio
Despite the eminent chance of rain, I had found myself in NAIA terminal 3 as I had awaited my companions. My companions on this trip were from SEED or Social Enterprise Empowerment for Rural Development. They were to assist in facilitating social enterprise workshops intended to assist local people’s organization (PO) KAAMPAKA’s members. As we landed in Butuan City which is around 6 hours away by bus from our destination in Burgos, we scurried past the overcharging airport shuttle conductors to the main highway where we took a jeep ride to the bus station. Quite unfortunately, we had missed the last aircon bus and were forced to take an alternate route. After an extended journey, my 3 companions and I found ourselves in the capital city of Surigao del Sur, Tandag. It was already around 9 in the evening as we scoured the area to find a place to eat and stay the night.
In the morning we had finally found ourselves in KAAMPAKA chairman Ben Dellosa’s humble abode in Burgos. Here, we had also met with our resident community organizer, Jun Callote. We then discussed our plans for the next few days. This included transect walks, key informant interviews and a series of gatherings with the PO members; all of which were geared towards finding suitable social enterprise opportunities given the available resources and skills the PO possessed.
As we began our walk through the quietly scenic provincial highway cutting through endless rice fields framed only by the mountain ranges and the endless sky, I took a in a deep breath and a sigh of release. I was back in the province, far away from the stress-filled, calorie-packed city life of Metro Manila. Sure I was here to work on a project with the PO members but the unfettered whistling of the cool wind and purring of the waves in the background made me feel that this trip was for a huge part for myself as well; a sweet retreat.
The initial transect walk reintroduced me to how rich Burgos actually was in natural resources. We had passed through hills down to the stony shore where the fisherfolks boats were located. We encountered a vendor of fish from which we had purchased some of our dinner. Passing through the town center, I couldn’t help but feel hopeful for the project because of the sheer abundance of resources this area possessed. This feeling was later on enhanced during the gatherings with the members where SEED founder Earl Parenno along with companions Espie Oebanda and Irene Montano discussed the boundless possibilities with the PO members. Much more to our collective delight, the possibilities seemed to cut through to the members and started to cultivate in their minds. We had ended our gatherings with key results pointing towards the two resources of danggit (rabbit fish) and coconuts.
The combined feeling of accomplishment for the jobs done so far the excitement for the work to be done in the near future was soon overcome by nobler and pleasantly infectious outlook; one of stewardship. Mayhap, now we had more time to have conversations on a personal level. Upon ‘Nong Jun’s recommendation and ‘Nong Ben’s enthusiasm, we were able to visit both Burgos and Lanuza MPAs. These MPAs stand tall to represent the hard work and conviction in preserving these natural resources in hopes of preserving their own lives. These people stand tall amidst a turbulent sea of crime and corruption, not to make more from it or to take what they deserve but rather to