Marinduque

I’m riding on top of a jeepney in the hot sun, holding tight to the roof-rack with one hand, and my hat with the other. We pass through rice fields, coconut and banana plantations, and rural villages, beside beaches and streams, and look down over rocky coastlines. There are six of us on this leg of the infotour, on Marinduque Island.

We’ve been invited here by Randy Nobleza, who lectures at the college, and aims to introduce his students to radical ideas.

A three-hour ferry ride from Luzon, Marinduque is culturally isolated, and young people are rarely exposed to alternative thinking. Randy is seen as an eccentric by his colleagues and students, so invites friends and activists to come speak at the college about their activities and politics.

Although they retain many traditions, Marinduque’s young people are Manila-focussed, and often don’t value their unique culture.

Yesterday we spoke and Boac and Gasan campuses of Marinduque State College, to students of business and fisheries, and now we’re on our way to Torrijos, to speak with agriculture students.

For the fisheries students, organising to stop the destruction of ecosystems is vital to their livelihood. Mining and commercial fishing have both impacted fish habitat in local waters. The students and staff ask lots of questions about what they can do, and how they can work together with Mobile Anarchist School.

As we are preparing to present to the business and communications students, the power goes out, and the format spontaneously changes to a discussion circle. The power supply was managed by the mining company, so since the mining company stopped operating, power has been unreliable.

At the end of the presentation, we are honoured with traditional music and dancing, while flower petals are thrown over us, and wicker crowns placed on our heads. As we have shared our stories with them, they are sharing their traditions with us, which includes treating us like kings and queens. I can’t help laughing at the idea of treating a bunch of anarchists like kings and queens.

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After the presentation at the agriculture school, we spend the night with relatives of one of the activists on the tour. They have a farm in the hills, with coconuts, chickens, and fruit trees. They’ve noticed that since a cell-phone tower was erected nearby, the fruit doesn’t grow so well, and butterflies can’t reproduce.

 

 

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