In 2012, all of 124 indigenous people, fisherfolk, and farmers from Casiguran marched 370 km to Manila. The trip spanned over 17 days to protest the intrusion of an ecozone claiming their ancestral land. Five years later, we revisit this pacific town and the waters threatened by clashing views on development.
Larry, an Agta living in the neighboring Sitio Dipontian, also narrates the same hardships—that initially, he was struck with fever from the shock of the journey, but that they pursued it for 17 days because they were passionate about the cause. They also talk about the support they would receive along the way, strangers handing over pieces of bread, or passengers in jeepneys offering money. Their schedule was stringent: a 4 A.M. wake-up call, breakfast, a little bit of exercise, and then a 20-30 km walk per day. But the Agta were unwavering in their protest: they are afraid of the changes brought about by the so-called development being imposed upon their land, especially because no one even talked to them about it.
Originally published in Esquire magazine, May 2017.
Re-published in Esquire Malaysia, June 2017.
Read the full story online at Esquire Philippines.