Thursday, 27 September 2012

Family affair … This man and his daughter are busy separating dirt from what could be gold nuggets, or gold dust, nestling on the shoreline just a stone’s throw away from the Jose Panganiban town hall. The muddy, reddish earth that they shove into the sluicing platform holds particles or dust of the precious yellow metal. Until now, the source of this gold-laden earth is being debated by gold operators (most of them illegal) and environmentalists, who dread the unstoppable silt pollution of the bay. But what is very clear here is that the silt has found its way into the shoreline of Mambulao Bay on the town side and is causing the bay water brownish, oftentimes reddish, making it unsuitable for leisure swimming or bathing. Anyway, at the end of the day, the father and his daughter, as well as the youngest member of the family (edge of the picture, right) would go home with -- hopefully -- one or two “bahay” of gold, which could fetch them about P800 plus (per bahay) at the local gold buyer (the weight of one “bahay” is equal to the weight of 14 dry palay grains). From the gold trader’s shop, father and daughter go straight to the town market for tonight’s dinner of fish, rice, veggies and a bottle of soda and some more for the next two days’ table. Life is good, as they often say, with gold lying around the shoreline. Notice in the background the Calambayungan Island of Larap (center) and a portion of Baranggay Pag-asa (left). – Photo by ERIC ESPANA/MWBuzz text by AP HERNANDEZ

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