Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Making a Living

During our previous trip to Mindanao to visit the Tinuy-an Falls, considered one of the biggest falls in the country, I documented some scenes depicting people's ways to make a living, to feed their families in the best they could within their circumstances. They might not be getting much, but certainly they have the most 'colorful' businesses.

Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur is reached by 1.5 hours plane from Manila to Butuan City, then a 6-hour bus ride to Bislig City, and another hired van for 1 hour from the city proper to the falls. At least there are convenient highways, and roads to the falls are already paved and organized. There are also buses which leave Manila to these areas in Mindanao, but it takes days to complete the travel. Going to Mindanao means passing by a few islands, so the passengers have to disembark in some ports for the buses to be loaded in cargo ships, and the passengers also ride on the ships. They only board their busses again when they reach land. This system of transport is called roll-on-roll-off, which is shortened to "ro-ro" ships. 

The Bachelor Tours buses ply the routes from Butuan City to many parts in Mindanao. We also took this bus for another 6 hours from Bislig City to Davao City, our exit airport back to Manila.

Above is a tricycle terminal in Butuan City. Tricycle is a very common mode of local transportation in the Philippines, not only in Butuan City, but also in other parts of the country. It is a convenient way of transport for very short distances. We also have this in Thailand known as 'tuktuk', in Cambodia, Indonesia and India. Although the forms and models are different in different countries,  it is basically a local transport system in Southeast Asia.

The engine is provided by a motorcycle with two wheels, and at the side of the motorcycle a body carriage is made with another wheel to balance it, so it has only 3 wheels giving the name tricycle. Six passengers excluding the driver can use the above model; 4 at the back and 2 in front near the driver who is on his motorcycle. In other provinces, the motorcycle is in front looking like it is pulling the carriage.

 Bus terminals are complete with colorful stores selling all kinds of small things and gadgets; from small bags, toys, eyeglasses and cellphone loads.  

Above stalls show food snacks, candies and plastic toys.

Walking sellers like the above are also plenty, styrofoam packs contain foods like burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, noodles, etc. There are even full meals for those who don't want to leave their bus seats and eat at their convenient time, despite inconvenient circumstances. But buses also have stop-over restaurants for passengers to stretch themselves and take their meals or snacks, and go to the toilets. Can you imagine the trash especially styrofoam and plastic trash generated by this system! And who invented the technologies like these? It is so convenient to use, that hazards of using them take 2nd priority. It might take time before these can all be regulated and stopped!

Above items are specialty delicacies made of sweets. Normally these are rice cakes contained in empty coconut shells. I am sure most of us who are environment friendly people prefer this practice.

People who don't want to leave the buses can just buy their snacks from these vendors, who bring their items to the passengers. Look at the expression of the above woman, with all her life's experiences seen on her face. I took this from inside the bus, though hazy because of the glass, i still want to capture the vendor's expression.

This is the close-up of the woman's goods for sale: boiled eggs, fried peanuts, boiled peanuts, different kinds of crackers, pretzels, different kinds of chips, different kinds of drinks, and water. Are you looking for more!

This is one of the stalls in one of the bus terminals. The seller is seen via a very small window where she gets the payments for her sold items. Normally, these permanent stalls have refrigerators inside, where cold drinks and water are available. 

I included this photo because it is another mode of transport during that escapade, when we went to Hagonoy Island, also in Bislig City. 

And this is it, Hagonoy Island. I have already posted about it previously HERE. 

Our World Tuesday Graphic


  1. I like the idea of packaging the treats in coconut shells, original and environmentally friendly.

  2. All of your pictures are great ---but I got stuck on that first one. What a fabulous waterfall, Andrea.... Gorgeous!

  3. It's fascinating to watch locals like these vendors going about their daily lives. your photos are wonderful especially the waterfall.

  4. I love trips like the one you have here. Tuk Tuks are a lot of fun and great shot of the waterfall and blurring of the water!!! Did you use a tripod?

  5. The falls are just beautiful and I can see why there is a huge tourist business because of them! The different modes of transporation and the food and gift vendors were very interesting, and as you said, quite colorful!

  6. The first shot is beautiful. Love the reflection. Thank you for sharing the hardship you see. We have some of those here too.

  7. I really enjoy your 'tourist guide' posts. Love your commentary, the Bachelor Tour buses and the sellers/food peddlars who go but the vehicles to sell stuff. I miss them as they are fast vanishing here. There is so much beauty in the eyes of common people. The place is very scenic. The first picture of the falls and its reflection is splendid!

  8. Its true - syrofoam had its good and bad points.
    Hope people would switch to banana leaves or natural elements instead of the industrial ones.

  9. It fills me with nostalgia reading your posts. And it's little features like this that indirectly helps the locals in getting more trade as it encourages tourism :)

  10. This was a nice trip Andrea, from the perspective of the locals that make it happen for the tourists. Not a side usually seen.

  11. So colourful..the wares on display. I like the idea of using coconut shells rather than the usual plastic packaging. As for your waterfall photo it's fantastic. I love the way you caught the reflection too!

  12. Pieces of Sunshine - Yes, using coconut shells is very sanitary and ingenuous. And it's definitely better than plastic or styrofoam because it is biodegradable!

    Betsy - I am sure you will like the waterfalls, because all waterfalls are lovely for you, haha!

    LifeRamblings - Thanks for appreciating my shots, but they are not close to your photos yet!

    JBar - thank you for the visit.

    Rohrerbot - yes i used a tripod, you will not be able to get low shutter shots without a tripod, unless you used a platform.

    Marie - tourism definitely help the local people make a living. Thanks for your kind words.

    Suzy - yes, Hagonoy Island looks divine, thanks.

  13. That is indeed a beautiful falls. Hope to visit it someday.

  14. One - oh I'm sorry about that, you only like my first shot! haha.

    Autumn Belle - thanks so much for being very kind. If the population is rapidly growing, these scenes will not leave our scenes.

    James - you've been out for a long time! It might be very difficult to be using banana leaves for potato chips, haha!

    Mark - yes you are right, tourism helps a lot of the local people. You should come here more often then.

    GWGT - i like it when the locals are helped by tourism, but i don't like it to use tourism as a disguise in exploiting the environment.

    kanak - I remember some places in India don't use plastic anymore, and some places here are starting to do that too. I hope the industries replace plastic with biodegradable containers.

  15. All take out food in the US comes int those styrofoam take out containers and there doesn't seem to be much impetus to stop it. It is recyclable though so that helps.

  16. Very interesting post and photos. Great job on capturing the woman's expression.

    Bella Vida by Letty
    Have a great day.

  17. Andrea, I love LOVE . . . your waterfall and beach shots - your first and last photos. It is very interesting to see how tourism creates income for locals. I only have a hard time with 'things' this could be anywhere in the world. The styrofoam containers are horrid here too. I do go to places that use eco-friendly take out containers. Again your waterfall shot is stellar!

  18. This post brought back memories of a former co-worker. She was from the Philippines, and her name was Luzviminda, so named for the island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. I enjoyed your peek into her culture!

    It seems that it would be easy enough to replace the styrofoam containers with biodegradable paper products. Habits are hard to break, but public awareness is the key.

  19. Very interesting photos form your journey, Andrea. I agree that styrofoam is not environmentally friendly and like the use natural coconut shells instead. The waterfalls are beautiful!

  20. I too like the coconut shell container--surely far superior to styrofoam as far as the environment goes. Thank you for letting us tag along on your journey. Wonderful to see somewhere so far away!

  21. Jenn - you are much welcome to visit our country, we are making adjustments for our tourists to enjoy their visits, and thanks for visiting my post too.

    Carolyn - even if styrofoam and plastics are recyclable, when population is too high like here, regulation and waste management is so difficult, and they clog estuaries eventually going into the sea and affects our marine life. If manufacture of plastic will stop, there will be no more problems about it.

    BellaVida - you are alone in appreciating my capture of the woman's expression. Thank you very much.

    Carol - I am so honored with that comment from an artist whose life is so devoted in photography, whose every photo is a dream for me to duplicate. Thank you so much, you're really an inspiration.

    Debsgarden - thank you for appreciating it, and you're really well introduced to our country with only that name! How nice!

    Pat - your visit is much appreciated, and yes let's hope the people take heed in trying to protect our only EARTH.

    Hoover Boo - am also honored by your visit, someone whose photos are also my dreams to emulate. I am learning a lot from them. Thank you very much.

  22. interesting post from a world different from mine. Thank you!


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