I always like to trace back places I’ve been before and see how has time changed it. Walking from the plaza of Mayon Centro after taking shots of Sta Maria Church, I try to recall the steps we went through heading to Pagganaman Port. Just to be sure, we asked this nice lady who looked like a school teacher for directions. We were heading on the right trail. This is the 1.7 kilometers walk to Pagganaman Port.
Pagganaman Port is also found on the western side of Itbayat island next above the landing port of Chinapoliran Port. Pagganaman is mostly used by local fishermen and also transit port for local nearby villages along the rocky cliffs. The trail leading to the port is still rocky and unpaved. We passed by a few locals heading the opposite direction. Within a few minutes we already caugh sight of the cemented zigzag slope of the port.
I looked down on the upper edge and saw the raging waves crashing heavily on the rocks below. But what surprised me more is to see a group of people, seems like a family even, enjoying the waters on the natural pools there. I wonder how they got there.
I carefully made my way down and saw a group of fishermen just sitting down on the slopes talking. Must be break time. Fishing boats, covered on with coconut tree leaves, are parked on the sides where the staircases are. Fishermen have to lift these boats up these slopes at the end of the day and lift them down again in the morning when they start to fish. It’s a modern day bayanihan existing on this side of the islands.
As I went down further the slopes, I’m still at awe of the vast view of the South China Sea from there. But I also constantly look down on each step lest I slip all the way down the slopes. I wouldn’t want to be caught on the whirlpool washing machine among the rocks I see ahead.
I also saw another group of fishermen alight their boats. And it’s similar to Chinapoliran, except that they have to the timing by themselves. It’s just wicked how the wave rocks the boat, they get off when they get close and they do this calmly like riding a bike.
I saw their spears and baskets on the stairs. It must be the dry season for them. Their spears were unused and their baskets empty. Last time I was here, I saw two fishermen carrying this huge eel intertwined with the spear. And the spear itself was bent. I could just imagine how strong this eel was. The last thing I want to be is to be entangled by it.
As the sun goes down, the fishermen left in groups. Their silhouettes march up the slopes against the setting sun. Their spears held high up resting on their shoulders. For a moment they look like a group of soldiers leaving the war for another day. In this case, they are leaving the field hoping for a catch the next day.
Don’t miss Backpack Photography’s Explore Lake Sebu Photo Tour. A Journey into the T’boli culture and Lake Sebu’s natural wonders. Join us on August 21-23, 2010. Check Backpackphotography.net for full details and registration.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.