The sunset at Apo Island (photo above), a marine protected area in Dumaguete City, Philippines is just breathtaking. Known for being a feeding ground of two sea turtle species in the Country, it caught the attention of a lot of local and foreign travelers. However, there’s more to Apo Island than what meets the eye.
For those who stayed in Apo Island for at least a night, you’ll get to experience a simple island life stripping you off of some luxuries you would normally enjoy in urban areas. One of which is very much relevant to what’s happening here in Metro Manila — the absence of running freshwater all-throughout the island.
Apo Island — where rainwater is life
The island relies on deep old-fashioned wells that catch rainwater which is their only source of freshwater. Village people would have to go to wells scattered around the island every single day to get water for cooking, taking a bath, washing clothes, and doing the dishes.
It is where I have experienced taking a bath with only a gallon (or so) of rainwater to my disposal, which drastically limited my showers to just 5 minutes (or even less). The humbling experience made me further realise the value of freshwater supply. Meanwhile, drinking water is regularly sourced from the mainland.
There are some bad days where some wells may contain murky or smelly water. But the people of Apo Island has learned to adapt to those daily challenges. They just shrugged it of, or better yet, search for another well that has a better water condition.
Putting premium to what we take for granted
There are so many areas on earth that still do not have an easy and convenient source of freshwater. And now, the metropolitan capital of the Philippines is one of them. There are several reasons, for sure: El Niño, Climate Change, illegal logging and deforestation, inefficiencies both in the public and private sectors, logistics, and of course dirty old politics.
However, regardless of the reason, I sincerely hope that this would be a wake-up call for everyone to cherish and protect the things we would normally take for granted.
I guess it’s one of the reasons why I love traveling so much. It opens our eyes to a lot of realities we won’t normally encounter in our comfortable daily lives.
Though this time around, it’s the reality itself that has decided to reach out to us.