Famished and wet, we trudged our way out of thick rows of passengers disembarking at San Jose port.
All coming from Surigao del Norte, we braved ferocious waves, but above all, the thought of being stranded at sea due to monsoon-led rains.
|Aside from serving as a nesting ground for turtles, Cabacongan Beach just minutes from San Jose port is a sanctuary for kalaw and other birds.|
Majority of the population in the Province of Dinagat Islands, or simply Dinagat – one of the Philippines’ youngest and smallest provinces – are fisherfolk and habal-habal drivers like Kuya Giovanni. There are no big businesses here, save for a few local banks. No Mercury Drugstore or Watson’s. No branded malls and supermarkets like SM Hypermart, Robinson’s, Waltermart, and Puregold. Everything that is consumed in the islands is hauled from Surigao del Norte southwest of the province, a good one to one and a half hours by ferry.
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|Sunrise from our homestay in San Jose with Lalaking Bukid in view|
|Isla Aga in Basilisa is also owned by the Ecleos. It used to serve as a resthouse for the governor.
Today, the derelict resthouse still stands, along with broken ropes of a bridge that used to connect one tip of the island to the other.
|Tagbirayan Beach in Cagdianao|
One hundred a day for a family of four. Meanwhile, the Ecleos have schools, millions in their bank accounts, and a gated hillside castle patrolled by a guard 24/7.