Unknown to many here in Lake Buhi, Camarines Sur, February 2 of every year is World Wetlands Day—a global celebration aimed in raising public awareness as to the value of wetlands on people’s lives.
Lake Buhi to Buhinons is for fishery. Navigation. Domestic water supply. Electricity. Irrigation.
For Noli and Esus, both 15, of Ipil town from across the waters, the lake is for transport.
The order of the day is to deliver their woodpile to Buhi centro. A daily grind they have to bear, in addition to attending classes at Ipil Elementary School. Now implementing limited face-to-face. Noli being Grade 9, while Esus stuck at Grade 7.
Their earnings, they say, would cover school expenses and—in large part—payment for their “savings.” A paluwagan of sort. Costing them around 1,500 a month. A small change knowing today’s delivery would yield them a clear 800 pesos, and on to the next.
A well-paying venture as against fishing in these times of Lake Buhi crisis.
“Malipot na.” Esus remarked as the amihan winds subdues the late afternoon sun.
At the close of day, the two would navigate back to Ipil. Across Lake Buhi, the lifeline of their livelihood.