Saturday, May 16, 2009

passing through Sibato

Finally I was able to go to Caluya last week. I’ve been meaning to go there to check on their seaweed farms but never had the chance.

Caluya lies northwest of Panay and is a municipality of Antique. Appearing in the map as the Semirara Islands, Caluya is composed of several islands including Caluya, Sibato, Sigay, Panagatan and Semirara. The latter is notable for its coal pits which have given the municipality a high economic profile in the region. Caluya is the eponymous capital of the municipality. Sibato, sometimes referred to as Sibaton, is the smaller isle northeast of Caluya.

the islands of Caluya and Sibato
the islands of Caluya (background) and Sibato (foreground)

coconut-lined island
coconut trees lined the island of Sibato

My visit was short. Weather was a cause for worry as the the week before, a typhoon hit Luzon and waters were choppy. I was lucky though as the skies cooperated and it actually was sunny when I took the boat trip from Boracay to Caluya.

clear waters
clear waters show how clean the reef is in Sibato

a local resort
a local resort features a long and wide beach of fine white sand

With time a constraint, I was not able to go around the islands but I managed to pass through Sibato. Nothing much happens here it seems. The coast looks beautiful, with clean white sand and lined with coconuts. Idyllic, as tropical islands go.

Sibato's reef- perfect for seaweed
the reef fronting Sibato is perfect for seaweed farming

Sibato's seaweed farms
the long lines with styropor floaters are where seaweed are grown

Most of the people in Sibato are farmers but not in the terrestrial agriculture that you would expect. What they plant is seaweed, farming them in long monolines on the reef. Upon reaching the required full maturity of 40 days, the seaweed lines are hung over poles for drying. The dried seaweed are then sorted, bagged and shipped to carrageenan factories in Cebu or Manila.

boats on dock
boats on dock on the beach of Sibato

Sibato, the island

They say that about 80% of the people in Caluya, including Sibato, are engaged in seaweed mariculture. And this shows in a short trip around the island and I like that. A lot.

seaweed being dried
freshly harvested seaweed are shown here being hang-dried on bamboo poles

To go: Sibato is only about 5 minutes crossing from the main island of Caluya, which is regularly serviced at least 5x/week by ferries to and from Libertad, Antique and San Jose, Mindoro Occidental. Alternatively, boats can be hired from Boracay (Malay, Aklan), which is 1.5-2 hours away.

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coolwaterworks said...

Hi Farl,
Nice adventure here... And nice pictures as always...

Nice to hear of farmers who are quite different from the conventional farmer that we know...

Farl said...

salamat! caluya is quite laidback and pristine. wouldn't mind going back at all.