Prospecting to be Prospering

Nancy Lamadrid envisions a future where people in Siruma can sustain aquasilviculture efforts together as a community.

Nancy Lamadrid (left) prepares fishing nets for the mangroves alongside Ms. Fabiana Balgemino (right)

Nancy Lamadrid, 59, has been juggling her responsibilities as a homemaker and mangrove caretaker for 11 years. When her community adopted aquasilviculture as a practice in 2018, she was eager to make it work, knowing that it could be a new source of income and a huge help to their fishermen fathers, husbands, and sons. However, their initial attempts to integrate mangroves and fisheries were largely unsuccessful. “Noong una, crab. Wala, nalugi po [kami]. Tapos bangus. Wala rin po, lugi [pa rin kami],” (At first, crab. Nothing, we went broke. Then we cultivated bangus. Still nothing, we are still at a loss) she reports.

Having lived by the bay for decades, she has survived many extreme weather conditions. She noticed the intensification of typhoons in their area, citing these as one of the reasons for their failure to well-establish their mangrove-fisheries: “‘Kapag bumabagyo dito, malakas talaga.” (When there is a storm here, it is truly strong) Nancy says that the rapid, rough waters wash out the crabs, the bangus, and even the screens and stones of their mangrove-fisheries. Alongside her women-led organization, she aspires to fortify their existing mangrove-fisheries and convert the remaining stagnant fishponds into resilient structures that can withstand the forces of nature.

However, she knows that making their vision come to life would require a lot more assistance, from manpower to funding. Seeing the lack of support from the men and the youth who believe that cultivating their mangrove-fisheries will not help them rise from poverty, she says: “In five to ten years, sana maisipan nilang pumasok dito [sa mangrove planting]. Kasi maganda itong pagtanim ng mangrove. Kasi ang mga anak nila at yung mga apo nila, hindi na sila makakaranas ng sobrang hirap.” (In five to ten years, I hope they consider entering here in mangrove planting. Because planting mangroves is pleasant. Because their children and grandchildren will no longer have to experience so much hardship.)

She hopes that when more community members commit to their work, more people from outside the community (may pertain to stakeholders, especially the general public) would invest in them, too.

Story: Gabby Alcantara, RV Berjay, Ange Encomienda
Layout Design: Dom Pamatmat, Stephen Patacsil, Matt Reyes

Cover & Feature Photo: Nory Acebar

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