June 9, 2019 (11:37 AM)

3 min read


Local singers take part in MuSEAkahan, a concert held for the benefit of Badjao children of Matina Aplaya.

Photo by Julien Jame Apale

In celebration of World Oceans Day, members of marine conservation advocacy Project Dyesabel featured songs and performances yesterday at Seaside II, Matina Aplaya to inspire women and the Bajau to protect the seas.

The activity is a night for a cause with the theme “muSEAkahan 2019: a night of Music, Sea, and Me.”

Proceeds from the event will go to 150 packs of school supplies for Bajau kids/Happy Fish Kids.

Headed by Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) student Amiel Lopez, Project Dyesabel aims to beat plastic pollution through marine conservation literacy education followed by coastal cleanups and livelihood.

According to Lopez, Bajaus are very talented, and the advocacy project has helped build connections between those inside and outside the community.

“Nakita nako kung unsa sila mo follow og instructions. Sauna gubot kayo. Tungod kay nakita nila ang familiarity sa mga volunteers, nagka build og trust ang mga bata sa amoa,” he said. 
[I have seen how they follow instructions. It used to be very chaotic, but because they are now familiar with the volunteers, we’ve gained their trust, especially among the children.]

Christy Lou Rollorata, a volunteer of I am Making A Difference (I am M.A.D.), an organization dedicated to the mobilization of Filipino youth, expressed that marine conservation is effective primarily when taught at a young age.

“Sa I am M.A.D., among focus jud is ang mga bata. Maayo tudluan samtang bata pa. Kung tigulang na, lisod ireform,” she shared.
[In I am M.A.D., we focus on the children. It is better to teach them while they are still young. Older people are difficult to reform.]

Rollorata added that trash, whether they may come from big industries or the Bajau community, will affect everyone in the country.

“We are all connected. Ang plastic nga ilabay kay kaunon sa isda ug kita mo kaon sa isda. Mo balik ra gihapon sa ato,” she said.
[We are all connected. The plastic that we throw away gets eaten by fish and we, in turn, eat the fish. It all comes back to us.]

On the other hand, Bajau community member and St. John Paul II College of Davao graduate Melody Adjari hopes that through education, the language barrier will lessen and Bajau children will be able to go to school.

As a Bachelor of Elementary Education graduate, Adjari plans to teach in her community and create a Bajau-Filipino-English dictionary.

“Ako nga naa man koy capability nga makasturya og Bajau, para pod makasabot silag Bisaya pag abot nila sa elementary,” she added.
[I can speak and teach using the Bajau language. I can help them understand Bisaya when they go to elementary school.]

Also present in the event was SAMAHAN President Dominic Ang who shared how being exposed to the community could change stereotypes of the Bajau.

“It’s very overwhelming… normally ang stereotype sa ilaha kay mangayo lang og kwarta [they are usually stereotyped as beggars] but they are more than that,” he said.

MuSEAkahan 2019 was held in partnership with UCEAC, SAMAHAN, United States Government Alumni Association Davao, Sangguniang Kabataan Pederasyon Dabaw, Ecoteneo, and Subdominant 7.

End the silence of the gagged!

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