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Loose Change

Sometimes, we tend to take our loose change for granted. Sometimes it seems that loose change have no use for us anymore. Barya lang kasi. We just stick them into our pockets, bring them out when we get home, put the loose change somewhere in the house, and forget where we have put them. Most often, loose change just ends up under the sofa cushions, on top of dressers, and in the consoles of cars. But for some people in my province, loose change means life.

One time I was traveling from Manila to Northern Samar, I had a pleasant very early morning trip while on board a ferry from Matnog, Sorsogon to the port of Allen. The sea was calm and quiet. The air was cold. I easily fell asleep.

More than an hour later, I was awoken by the loud sound of the ferry’s horn. I also heard heavy splashes in the water so I peeked out of the window and saw children swimming and diving. The children were really good swimmers, I think we could find swimming champs from among them.

But this is not all for fun. These children swim and dive for a living. Some of them have stopped going to school and instead spend most of their time waiting for ferries to dock.

Once a ferry docks, they would ask the passengers to throw coins from the deck into the water. Then they would dive in, hoping to get enough coins to help bring food to their family’s table. The more adventurous ones would show some daredevil antics, climbing up the ferry and leaping or somersaulting into the water to get the tossed coins.

Seeing these children, I wondered how long they had to stay in the cold water to earn an amount that’s enough to buy a decent meal for the day. Then I thought of how we take for granted the value of our loose change. I wish we’d all see how these children risk life and limbs for a couple of coins. I’m sure we’ll never look at our loose change the same way again.

My heart sank as I watched these sunburnt children bobbed their head up and down the water. I turned my eyes away from the seashore, towards where the sun was beginning to rise over a ridge of mountains. Somehow, the calming orange beams of the sun created a distraction and soothed my heart.

Posted 8 years, 11 months ago at 10:36 am.


17 Replies

  1. I share your feelings towards these kids. What seemed an impromptu shipdeck entertainment meant a livelihood for these kids. At one time even, I saw a whole family by a small oar-driven boat, ready to dive at any instance of a coin being thrown. There was even a baby on that little boat.

    Just passing by. God bless!

  2. nortehanon Nov 14th 2008

    Hello brotherutoy,
    Salamat for dropping in and for being the first to leave a comment.

    It is heartbreaking to see these kids risk their lives for pennies. I hope the day comes when they will no longer need to dive for coins. And I hope that day comes soon before it is too late.

  3. Big Sis Nov 15th 2008

    I would like to be able to go there and dive for coins myself, and hand them over to the kids so they don’t have to dive for them. My heart goes out to these children…

  4. nortehanon Nov 15th 2008

    Hi Big Sis!
    I am happy to see you here! What a surprise!
    Thank you for your concern for these children.
    I hope all is well in your side of the world. Lots of love and hugs to you.

  5. uyy, maupay! nortehanon liwat ak 🙂

    i’m all cried out whenever i see those ‘hagis piso bosing’ kids. pero ganun talaga, haaay kaasar ang poverty noh?

    nice to see you here.

  6. nortehanon Nov 16th 2008

    Hi Chuvaness,
    I am happy to meet another Nortehanon online! Thank you for dropping in.

    Yes, nakakaasar, nakakalungkot, nakakainis ang poverty. I hope these children will rise above the situation.

  7. ABA! ang chuvaness andito! hahaha! if you know someone in Allen Samar – Jamora, katuken mo ako hehehe, mga pangkin ko ang mga yan hahaha

  8. nortehanon Nov 22nd 2008

    Sige, magpapa-bandilyo ako du hahaha. Ipapa-search ko sa satellite ang mga Jamora sa Allen 😉

  9. cecille Nov 26th 2008

    i’m from mindoro. may mga ganito din sa ‘min. nakakalungkot at nakakahanga sila at the same time. my heart goes out to them – nag-aagawan sumisid para sa konting barya. 🙁

  10. oops.forgot to put my site. thanks for dropping by pala. nice blog, btw. 🙂

  11. nortehanon Nov 26th 2008

    Hi Cecille!
    I know why you forgot to put the URL of your blog: may hangover ka pa ng trip mo sa HK hahaha

  12. i have read about them before at nakakalungkot talaga.

  13. Good Morning,
    I was reminded while reading this post of the children that I have seen, while traveling…diving for coins. I have asked myself the same questions…are they cold, how long is their “work” day, what are their living conditions, what kind of parents do they have, do they have parents? I wonder why there has to be so much unfairness in the world. We have a coin box on our table during Lent. We empty our change into it each day. It will go to people around the world who are suffering. It is surprising how little we really need to get by in our lives….I wish we could all share more. I am going to put your blog on my blog list, so I come here more often. I like what you have to say.

  14. Hi, oo talaga, nakakaawa. Just came back from Salhag, Rosario N Samar from our vacation. Me too, I emptied out my pockets and my husband too so we throw all our coins on the water for these children. My heart goes out to these children I wish I could do more but God will take good care of them.

  15. Hi Miss N.

    Thank you for dropping by my small blog.

    I think we passed by this port on our trip to Biri a few months ago. I haven’t seen the ‘piso bosing’ kids back then, which would probably break anybody’s heart.

    Allen has a mystical rock formation and a very beautiful shoreline. The people we met there, albeit very briefly, are kind and hospitable. So with that being said, I hope that tourism in Northern Samar would bring some form of change in the lives of these youngsters and in the entire province as well.

  16. Hello there,
    Salamat. I’m hoping someday we would also have here the facilities which tourists need. Para naman dumami pa ang mga dadalaw dito sa amin. I believe sustainable tourism would really help my province.

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