Our Hope for the Island team consists of 6 farm workers and 7 others working alongside Derek and Jenn at Burgos.
Siargao Island is approximately 10K wide and 40K long.
Hope for the Island is located near Burgos, the smallest and poorest (6th class) municipality on Siargao.
We face the Pacific Ocean and are in the path of typhoons.
Bat caves are everywhere on the island. We are often woken up by fighting bats.
Jenn is homeschooling our 10 year old daughter Makana and eight year old son Brison.
Makana and Brison have pet monkeys – Hannah & Moe, 2 mini Dachshund dogs and a rabbit.
A 12 ft. python ate our pet bird.
Coconut is the main source of income on our island and is harvested four times a year.
In one day, an islander will climb hundreds of tall coconut trees barefoot with no safety equipment. Dried coconut meat is sold for 20-30 pesos per kilo. . Harvested rice and coconut is dried in the sun on the road.
Children are often responsible for taking care of younger siblings. They will also cook, clean and do laundry by hand.
Many children and youth do not attend school on our island because of poverty related issues
Homes are built from wood cut from forests and have a nipa (thatch) roof. Many homes still do not have toilets.
There is no toilet paper in most washrooms in the Philippines. Washrooms are called comfort rooms and have a bucket of water with a dipper for “flushing.”
The Filipino culture loves to smile, joke and laugh even in the midst of poverty and hardship.
Dog is still commonly eaten although it is against the law.
Urine is the most common remedy to relieve pain when you are stung by a jelly fish or if you step on a sea urchin.
On a scale of one to 10 — with 10 being the worst — the Philippines garnered a score of 8.9 for corruption, poorer than 2010’s 8.25, in Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd.’s (PERC) latest Asian Intelligence report. Similar dips for Cambodia (9.27 from 8.30) and Indonesia (9.25 from 9.07), however, allowed the Philippines to stay in third place.
Rainy season is at different times of the year depending on where you live in the Philippines.
Coconuts, Bananas, Papayas and Guava fruit grow on Hope for the Island property.
A whale shark was spotted in the ocean by a surfer – it was the size of a car.
Common diseases on our island: Various skin diseases, Tuberculosis, Schistosomiasis and Typhoid Fever.
Passenger boats and Jeepneys not only carry people but also animals and cargo brought in and off the island. I once saw a water buffalo led across a narrow plank of wood off the boat he had travelled on. He took a few steps and fell into the ocean!
It is 150 pesos ($3.75 Canadian) per kilo for good quality fish.
Japanese & Chinese commercial boats are buying large quantities of fish from local boats to export. Fish supplies are down because of this and because of illegal fish nets and dynamite fishing.
Power outages are frequent and are called brown outs. It is usually dark by 6pm at Hope for the Island.
Mold is a common problem because of the high humidity. Corrosion / rust are big problems because of strong winds off the ocean. Many varieties of termites eat away anything built with wood.
Bugs and worms will get into many kinds of food that is not eaten right away. It is common to pick them out and keep on eating.
Dishes, laundry and showering are all done with cold water.
Beetles, bugs, land crabs, toads, praying mantis and other critters roam the property.
The youth love playing board games. Children and youth alike who come to Hope for the Island have access to clean safe drinking water.
Islanders avoid getting wet when they are hot or going out in the rain because it is believed to bring on fever and air in the body.
Brooms made from the coconut trees leaves are used to sweep the property each day.