to the old days, Banton may not be as progressive. In the past, big
industries flourished: ship-building, sea transport, pot-making, loom
weaving, farming and fishing. Most of these industries are lost if
not in the process of being lost. Shipbuilding is gone. The Bantoanons’
flag carrier, the Asuncion Shipping Lines, now the San Nicolas Lines, is
not able to keep pace with development and may eventually lose out.
Fishing was never developed and while the island teems with fish, still
all we have are small-time fisherfolks or those fishing for their own
consumption (panarili). The price of copra has gone down effectively
crippling the coconut industry. Good thing, BMPCI is gaining grounds in
resurrecting the loom-weaving industry.
all these industries gone, where are we going? Out. Out of Banton. Many
still find greener pastures. We know of the successful ones more though.
We do not realize that many are living difficult lives also outside of the
island especially here in Metro Manila. Given a little opportunity, they
may right away go back to Banton.
story of the Bantoanon who left his family in the island to earn a living
in Metro Manila may actually be more sober than the general Filipino OCW
who left his family for work abroad. Technology has connected many places
in the country to other countries in the world – the Internet and
mobile phones. Traveling just takes hours from Hongkong or Singapore or
even the Middle East. From Manila to Banton, it takes a whole day.
If you’re a bit unlucky, it may take more. Communication is a lot
easier and faster from Singapore or Hongkong or the United States to
Manila than Manila to Banton. You can even use text-messaging. In Banton,
outside are not that many also. Many Bantoanons who tried had to go back
this point, the eco-cultural tourism industry is one of the most feasible
industries that we can consider – lesser resources and time needed yet
it has the potential for bigger returns. It can bring along progress
in other industries if it becomes successful.
as always, time is not on our side. We have to do something. We have
to do something now. If we don’t do things radical in these times, then
we may see Banton in the future as a lost island – an island we can no
longer be proud of. The dreams and legacy of Gabriel Fabella,
Eugenio Fabula, Faustino Fabella, Cornelio Faigao and other great
Bantoanons will then be buried in the dark caves of our history if we fail
to dream and leave a legacy of our own. This will be a big loss to
future generations of Bantoanons… and they may no longer be proud that
they have Bantoanon roots… and we may finally become a lost group of
kasimanwa, it is time to gather again and make the Spirit of Sanrokan fill
us once more.
About Banton Brief History
People Language Culture
Music Literature Barangays
Tourist Sites Historical