The Mamali

A road is built, cutting off the ocean to its original shoreline. Across where the shore was to meet, is a community called the Mamali. The Mamali is a fishing community that has been fishing the Taguig shore for generations. Since the national road was built the community was forced to fill the ground with soil. Their houses are now on solid ground, but deep in the ground are the stilts they once stood on. The water is no longer flowing below them, nor is their way of life, their fishing traps. 

 Kuya Jhuly, a media officer at Partido Lakes Ng Masa and community activist, invited me to come and photograph this community that faces being instinct in Metro Manila. Kuya explains; “The National Government and Rich Politicians are planning to build floating restaurants where the Mamali fish.” Kuya and The Mamali Neighborhood Association provide a free legal services to the Mamali and education of their basic rights as land owners in the Philippines. This group of individual professionals are the only hope for this community to prepare for what lies ahead of them. Early in the morning, a man and his son set out to the open ocean, before eating breakfast they go to collect their catch of the day. The father sits by the boat`s motor and the son takes position at the bow of the boat, with a paddle to steer. They ride out without lighting into the dark ocean. They reach their first trap, that is on a neighbors property due to the national road cutting the waters to their community, the young boy climbs on top of the trap that is supported by large bamboo poles. He does not wear his shoes, he can get better grip with his bare feet. The father ties the boat to the trap and jumps up to help his son with the nets. They reach the last trap, at sun rise and they turn around to land to sell their catch. 

 This way of life may not be one that everyone would want, but to the Mamali, its theirs. They have tried so hard to distance themselves from the most populated city in the world, Metro Manila, they now have to fight in a legal battle to protect for their homes and futures. Sadly this is not the first or last story small communities like this face. Metro Manila is growing in population and commercial building such as; malls, condos, hotels and restaurants. This development threatens ways of life like the Mamali and without any government aid they will be left on the street to fin for themselves.

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