Hilotongan Island sits only a few kilometers from the mainland of Bantayan. Its livelihood are primarily fishing and gathering seashells for food and other sea products to be traded at the ports of Bantayan and the surrounding towns.
Hilotongan Island, Bantayan Islands, Cebu (Map by Google)
A private vehicle from Mandaue City would take you to the ports of Daan Bantayan in more or less 2 hours. From there, you’ll have to catch a ferry trip to Santa Fe port, east-side of Bantayan Island. Then, you’ll need another mode of transport – a Tricycle or a Multi-cab can be hired to take you to San Marcelino port on the other side of the island.
From San Marcelino port, the only way to get to Hilotongan Island is to hire a pump-boat. The trip would take approximately an hour during high-tide. Shallow waters during low-tide provide accessibility problems to residents.
Hilotongan Island of Bantayan Islands, Far right (Map by Google)
During low-tide, the residents of Hilotongan who need to cross the waters can Swim-walk their way to Bantayan – an approximate distance of 8km from shore to shore. (see Photo above)
Hilotongan’s in-island school- Hilotongan Integrated school, along with many other schools in Central Visayas has been chosen to be one of the recipients of Colorsteel Family’s Adopt-a-School Program.
Colorsteel Family goods en-route
Colorsteel Staff arriving at San Marcelino Port
Calm: The port and the waters between Hilotongan and San Marcelino port
The only way to get any supplies to the island is by boat
Arriving at the island
Carts are used around the island to conveniently transport large objects
Basic necessities like food and fresh water are not local in the island. Drinking water has to be delivered from Bantayan every now and then by boat along with other supplies like rice, vegetables, and other food products.
A deep-well may not prove to be useful due to its closeness to the sea – making the water salty. Processing it for drinking takes too much effort. The area cannot sustain organic farming.
Despite the hard ways of living, the people of Hilotongan can still find their ways to live and ultimately survive everyday.
A boy helps his mother prepare food for the rest of the day
Hilotongan’s land in itself is owned by title by only a few families in the island. Majority of its residents are actually squatters coming from Bantayan and eventually allowed to stay by the families who owned the island.
Like any other place in the Philippines, basketball is one of their favorite recreational sport
A child petting his rooster
Conveniently, Hilotongan Island is surrounded by abundant waters that can provide them with some fresh catch of fish and seafood. For the residents, the sea is the only place to make a living.
freshly caught fish for lunch
“Binga” Shells lying just everywhere to illustrate the abundance of sea shells surrounding the island
Sun Beams greet Hilotongan Integrated School
Colorsteel Family visited Hilotongan Integrated School during the annual Brigada Eskwela (Clean-up Drive) for the turn-over of roof donation for a two-classroom school building.
Parents and students participate to garden the school grounds
Younger children wait in groups while their parents facilitate the Brigada
Contractors sit to chat during their break.
Unlike the rest of Central Visayas, Hilotongan wasn’t directly affected by the fore mentioned calamities. But due to the island being isolated, it has become a recipient of Colorsteel Family’s Adopt-a-School program.
Coconut lumber framings have already been fixed to hold the donated roof (Photo above). Hilotongan still needs help with some construction supplies and man power to complete the school walls for it to be usable on or before the beginning of classes.
Aside from the new classrooms that are being constructed, temporary huts have been built at the back of the school grounds in preparation for the coming classes (Photo Below).
Newly Built huts to serve as Temporary classrooms
Names of other organizations that have been helping Hilotongan since the Storm
Binga, Bungkawil, and Anduhaw served with soy sauce and rice, what the School’s staff served
Parents and their children enjoy the shade while waiting for the program to start
The program starts with the National Anthem
Principal Jun Torre receives the Certificate of Endowment
People rounding up to receive gifts from Colorsteel Family
It was anticipated that only the participating parents with their child can receive the loot bags so Mr. Jun Torre allotted the gifts to them and have them line up while showing what they have brought to be used for the school’s Brigada Eskwela.
“Isaka ang mga Paraphernalia!” said Sir Jun Torre, having the participating parents show the tools they’ve brought to the Brigada Eskwela