April 2007
Faces of change / Changeless places

Banished from ‘paradise’

MACTAN Island, one kilometer southeast of the island province of Cebu, is a famous rest and recreation destination in the Visayas. It is host to some of the country’s world-class, pricey hotels and resorts. At its northern tip is also a popular dive spot, Punta Engaño.

This piece of paradise is home as well to coastal dwellers of Sitio Mangal who have been living off the bounty of the sea as far as they can remember. But the recent entry of a real-estate project converting 13.4 hectares of beach lots into a tropical resort-themed 10-story condotel with recreational and water sports facilities has displaced them from their homes by the sea. Already twice demolished, the Sitio Mangal residents have been settling in makeshift shanties along the beach road for a year now.

They are told they can no longer fish in the area. Their access to drinking water is scarce. No help has yet come from local officials regarding their request for a permanent relocation site.

The video shows how change — if it has not yet turned for the worse — has been scant in Sitio Mangal in Mactan, whose capital Lapu-Lapu City, named after the Visayan chieftain who valiantly fought and defeated the Spanish colonizers led by Portuguese voyager Ferdinand Magellan, is a first-class and highly urbanized city in Cebu.

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