Go, celebrate the gift of life!
Previous Post:   Next Post:

Loose Change

(Kumusta? I hope you all had a grand weekend. In a few days, I will be celebrating this blog’s second birthday. I would like to share with my new blog friends this blog’s journey by reposting some of my favorite posts. For today, I will be sharing my first blog post.)

Sometimes, we tend to take our loose change for granted. 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 them, 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 6 years, 12 months ago at 9:51 am.

36 comments

36 Replies

  1. i was able to witness the same scene when i was travelling by ship sa mindanao.,.i was heading to Cotabato city that time.. in one of those parang stop overs ng barko..

    these children.. they dive..they swim to earn a living.. not bein fully aware of the dangers of the water that awaits them. it saddens me that at a young age thay have to do it in order for them to have food n their tables. it also made me realize how lucky i am. i may have endless problems.. .. but at least hindi ko kinailangang magbanat ng buto sa kakakibang paraan makakain lang.

    i hope and wish for the time to come na wala ng mga batang maninisid para lamang sa barya..

    good morning Ms. N..

  2. nortehanon Oct 26th 2010

    Hello, Yanah!
    Ang bilis mong mag-click! Tama talaga ang hinala kong 24/7 kang online hehehe. Salamat.
    Yes, sadly, this situation is also true in other parts of the country. Pareho tayo ng wish, sana ay wala nang batang Pinoy na maninisid ng barya.

  3. I remember the pictures above when I regularly travel from my province going to Cebu.

    Yeah, for them loose change means life.

  4. nortehanon Oct 26th 2010

    Salamat sa comment, Marco. Yes, yung ibang bagay na minsan ay hindi mahalaga sa atin, sa kanila pala ay katumbas na ng kanilang buhay.

  5. .. it just reminds us all to be thankful of the small blessings from god that we receive in our everyday lives. sometimes we tend to yearn for so much in this materialistic world, we forget how fortunate we already are.

  6. nortehanon Oct 26th 2010

    Yes, Rob, we sometimes forget how fortunate we are. And seeing things like this helps remind us.

  7. ay! malapit na anniv mo Ms. N! naalala ko last year, nakatanggap ako ng email mula sayo nung first anniv naman ng blog mo hihi 🙂

    aaaaawww.. naku naku, guilty ako dyan, pero sa mga 25 cents lang. kasi yung mga piso piso, tinatago ko talaga, pamasahe sa dyip, tryke. hehe.

    naaalala ko din tuloy yung mga bata na sumasakay ng dyip tapos namumunas ng mga sapatos para sa kaunting barya.. aaawww.

  8. nortehanon Oct 26th 2010

    Naku, ipunin mo ang 25 cents, Jayvie. Pag nakaipon ka ng 25 cents, makakabuo ka ng ng pamasahe. Siyete pamasahe sa dyip, di ba? 😉

    Medyo takot po ako sa mga batang nagpupunas sa dyip. Dati kasi nakasakay ako sa dyip nung minsang may inasikaso akong papeles sa Quezon City. Tapos may batang sumakay at nagpunas ng mga sapatos. Yung ale na katabi ko, bumulong sa akin sabi hawakan ko raw bag ko kasi raw dati yung bag niya itinakbo nung isang bata na naglinis din ng mga sapatos sa dyip na sinasakyan niya 🙁

  9. ay ganun! yung iba nga sutil, pag di ka nagbigay nagagalit.

    dati naman, kakatapos lang namin manuod ng The Grudge tapos biglang may bata na nagpunas ng aming mga sapatos. napatili talaga ako kasi akala ko si Toshio sya (yung batang multo sa The Grudge). nagalit sya sa amin. hahaha

  10. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    haha! ikaw naman kasi, tinawag mo siyang Toshio eh. Magagalit talaga yun!

  11. we are near from the coastal area, and i personally witnessed this kind of scenarios… at first if you can see them, they are enjoying with what they are doing, of course in such a young age they look sea as a big playground … they are striving their best just to make a lot of money for their family..

    very poignant kids. :(.

  12. nortehanon Oct 26th 2010

    Very sad truth, isn’t it, Zeb? Pero ang iniisip ko na lang is that this experience will make the kids strong and determined enough to make their life better.

  13. “strong and determined enough to make their life better.” i like this!!! 😀

  14. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    🙂

  15. ang mga posts mo, laging may kurot. namumumulat ako sa pagbasa sa iyo.

    ang aming mga barya ay laging iniipon: may pondong pinoy kasi lagi sa paaralan ng mga anak ko. isang lata ng coke na pinupuno ng barya para sa buong taon.

    laking pasasalamat ko at kaya pa naming mag-asawa na bigyan ng maayos na buhay ang aming mga anak. kaya lagin kong pinapaalala sa kanila na mapalad sila sa mahigit kalahating bilang ng mga bata sa mundo. sana ay sapat yun para maging mabuting tao sila paglaki.

    happy anniv ms N at more, more , more posts to come!

  16. nortehanon Oct 26th 2010

    Salamat, Dinah. Natutuwa ako na bawat ibinabahagi ko rito ay nakapagmumulat kahit paano.

    Nakatutuwa naman ang pamilya mo. Nababasa kong kung minsan ay iniisip mo kung saan ka kukuha ng budget para sa bahay ninyo pagkatapos ng Ondoy. Pero heto at nagagawa pa ninyong magbahagi sa Pondong Pinoy. Kayong mag-asawa ay magandang halimbawa sa inyong mga anak. Saludo ako sa inyo! Umasa kang isasama ko sa aking mga dasal na sana ang inyong mga anak ay lumaking mabubuting tao tulad ninyo.

    Salamat sa iyong maagang pagbati. Ang iyong pagdalaw at mga komento ay isang inspirasyon ko upang patuloy na magbahagi.

  17. naalala ko tuloy yung mga bata sa baguio may area kasi dun na ganyan din nasa part na malapit sa bangin yung mga bata or the Itas, then they will ask tourist to throw them some coins..haaay

  18. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Hi Jaid!
    Ikinagagalak kong ibalita sa iyo ng wala na ngayon ang ganyang eksena sa Baguio, lalo na doon sa Mine’s View Park 😉 Good news, di ba?

  19. naalala ko tuloy muro ami. diba parang ganto din yun.

    it’s sad to see these children being treated as if being in the circus. entertaining, yes. but a the end of the day, it isn’t amusing.

  20. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Hi Ms. Grace,

    Child labor din yung sa Muro-Ami, iba nga lang ang form. Yung sa Muro-Ami ay sa pangingisda naman. Not only it is cruel to the coral reef but also to the children involved.

    I agree, Ms. Grace, it isn’t amusing.

  21. ms. N, everytime nandito ako naiisip kung sobrang swerte kung tao, at sigoro nga may pagkakapareho tayo, weakness ko ang mga bata, at may kirot sakin ang nakikita silang naghahanap buhay sa murang edad.

  22. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Maraming salamat, Ms. Ani. Natutuwa ako sa comment mo. Ibig lang sabihin, ginagawa ng blog ko ang trabaho niya: ang magmulat ng mga mata tungkol sa mga bagay na dapat nating ipagpasalamat 🙂

  23. A heartfelt post this morning Ms. N.

    Sa pantalan din ng Dalahican may mga bata na sumisisid din para barya, meron ding nanay, parang mga katutubo sila, pero hindi ko mawari kung saang tribu sila nabibilang.

    Maswerte pa rin tayo.

  24. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Ah, yes, nakakita nga ako ng mga bata doon pero parang isa o dalawa lang yata nakita ko. Siguro dahil masyadong umaga dumating ang bus na sinakyan ko papuntang Marinduque.

  25. Ano ang ginawa mo sa Marinduque Ms. N?

    Ito ay aking bayang sinilangan na halos iginugol ko ang kalahati ng aking buhay.

    Misyon?

    Ano ang masasabi mo sa aming isla?

  26. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Nagbakasyon lang po ako sa Marinduque, Ginoong Kulisap 🙂 I celebrated New Year there. It was fun! Ilang araw din ako sa Gasan. Then nag-Boac din. Then inikot ko ang isla ng Marinduque: Buenavista, Torrijos, Sta. Cruz. Paikot po yung main highway, di ba? Sayang lang at hindi pa ako nakakabili ng camera nun 🙁

    Gusto ko sanang maikot uli iyon ngayong pwede na akong kumuha ng pictures. Maganda sana kung isang Holy Week para sa Moriones.

  27. Nagbakasyon ka pala, sayang hindi mo ako nai-text kaya lang baka wala din akong cellphone. Ahahahhaha.

    Salamat naman sa pagbisita mo sa aking lalawigan.

  28. nortehanon Oct 28th 2010

    Hayaan mo, sa susunod na pagdalaw ko ay iti-text kita hehehe.

  29. I’m not really used to see kids that work their ass off, well, hindi naman talaga ako mahilig lumabas ng bahay that’s why I don’t get to see how this little kids work hard. I feel bad for them I wish I my coins can help them. Btw, Happy Birthday sa amazing blog na to Miss N.

  30. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Salamat sa greetings, Pao.

    Minsan, ipunin mo mga coins mo, tapos, labas ka ng house tapos hanap ka ng kids, mga isa o dalawa, tapos bring mo sila sa Jollibee 😉

  31. awwwwts
    para din akong sinaksak sa puso Ms. N, parang hindi ko din kayang makita silang ganun na tinatapunan ng barya and noting their lives are at risk.

    very redeeming yung last paragraph mo po and I love it.

    yehey nakarating na din ako ng matnog port nung 3rd year college ako, sumakay ng roro papuntang Leyte State University para sa isang National Conference. yehey!

    be blessed po Ms. N!

  32. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Nakakaawa but like I’ve said, this experience will perhaps make them strong and determined enough sa buhay nila.

    Para sa akin, yung last paragraph ako escape ko sa mapait na katotohanan. Salamat, Pong.

    Sana’y muli mong marating ang Matnog port, Pong 😉 Mas malinis na ngayon at mas maluwang 😉

    Be blessed, too!

  33. btw, thanks for sharing two years on how we must celebrate the beauty of life. salamat po kasi napadpad ako dito sa lungga mo.

    be safe po!

  34. nortehanon Oct 27th 2010

    Salamat din, Pong, sa patuloy na pakikibahagi. Sa first week of November pa actually ang birthday ng blog ko 😉

    Be safe din lagi!

  35. Oh…. poor children! I’m so sorry…. Why do the people abord throw coins to them in the water? It will not stop the children from diving! If they should give hem some coins, why not give them when they have gone ashore? Or do the people on the boat never go ashore….? It’s good you’re posting this!

    Thanks for your comments! To let you know, I’m not that clever every day.. only sometimes.. 😉

  36. nortehanon Oct 28th 2010

    The children swim and dive just right after ferry docks. Since it takes some time for the passengers to disembark, the children would put on a “show” by swimming, climbing up the ferry and diving or somersaulting. Then they’d ask some willing passengers to throw coins.

    I agree, the children will continue diving as long as there are passengers who are willing to throw coins. I can only hope this practice stops.


Feel free to comment. You share, I share. We both learn. It's all good.

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.