One day last summer … an array of happy colors flutters in the breeze while waiting to dry. These are the fresh laundry done by households whose backyards span the stretch of sand along the beach of Parang, just outside of Mambulao poblacion. Happily, the beach is now relatively clean, thanks to the continuing efforts of the beach shore families composed of squatter fisher folks to rid the sand of community rubbish and all. One day, when the beach is finally rehabilitated, more and more people – overseas Mambulaoan visitors, most likely - would be encouraged to walk the sand stretch while the young sun is rising and relive those days when dozens of “basnigs” called here in early mornings to unload rich catch of galungong, tuna, sapsap, tulingan and more.
Gear of destruction … gold sluicing paraphernalia await the first bay miners of the day last April to haul them off to a spot in the water just a stone’s throw away from the shore. They serve as a base for inclined boards onto which gold-laden silt extracted from the bottom of the water is spluttered and then washed down by seawater until gold particles – if there are any – show. Every day, the bay gets a big dose of pollution stirred up by gold mining operations, which continuously use mercury right on the spot to collect gold dust trapped in dirt cloth during sluicing process. On a given day, there would be between 20 to 30 miners raking up the sea bottom for gold-laden silt, mudding the water yellowish-brownish, turning off young and old bathers nearby. It is ironic that all this happens behind the town hall, the seat of the Mambulao government. – MWBuzzpics and text by AP HERNANDEZ