Let me take you back to when we took a home vacation some time in July. Taking pictures of anything that is new and nice to look at was a part of the plan even before we left Cebu. Aboard the Cebu Ferries ship, it was morning when we dock at the Cebu Port on our way back.
As the voyage attendant had her first morning announcement, I hurriedly took my camera to supposedly take some snap of the morning view of the place when I saw this so depressing sight amidst the towering ships parked along the port of Cebu. These sea beggars or popularly known here in Cebu as "Badjaos" are patiently rowing their boat back and forth to beg the ship's passengers to throw them any amount of coins.
It was deafening to hear them beg. I never understood a word they were saying... all I could hear were the mumbling and the crying of the mothers and kids at their so tender age. It was heartbreaking to have heard them crying at the top of their lungs while they were laid almost naked with the sun’s glare on their fragile bodies, while their mother or father dove into the ocean each time a coin was tossed to them.
Can you imagine a father who had his around 1 or 2 year old son clinging so tightly around his neck while he dove into the sea? It amazed me in anyway but the other corner of my consciousness felt so terrified for the kid as he could easily loose his grip on his father's neck while underwater.
Somehow I laughed along with the people who applauded every time they have to jumped out from the boat and dove to catch the coin tossed to them but when I have to get back inside, I felt a sudden pinch of guilt inside me. I realized how dangerous their lives were. I felt it was inappropriate. They're presence out there on the sea is not for everybody to laugh at after all. It was really degrading when people has to treat them like they're one of those animals in the zoo.
What extreme poverty can do to people in order to survive. These poor people chose to risk their lives for a few coins.