“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Homonhon, the Island where Magellan first landed

The beach in Habag, Homonhon. (Photo courtesy of Msgr. Bernie Pantin)

By Msgr. Bernie Pantin

IN March 16, 1521 Ferdinand Magellan first landed in Homonhon when he discovered the Philippines. That event foerever earned Homonhon a place in history.
The island of Homonhon which is still a part of the town of Guiuan is a parish in itself under the titular of St. John the Baptist. It consists of 8 barangays of which Casugoran is the center where the parish church is situated. The other barangays to the north of Casugoran are Inapulangan, Habag, Kanawayon and Bitaugan. To the south are Culasi, Pagbabangnan and Cagusoan. There is a small island which is part of Inapulangan to the north-west part of Homonhon called Mantukonan.

(Photo courtesy of Msgr. Bernie Pantin)

Homonhon is not easily reached in some months during the year (usually December to April) because of the presence of treacherous currents called sibid which is found between the islands of Homonhon and Suluan. It was the first week of May when we went there and there was still the sibid. From afar we could see the swirling waves with its distinctive sound. The boatmen seeing this would make a long detour just to avoid the sibid otherwise if one is caught in the midst of this the boat would easily be torn to pieces.

This mining company operating in Homonhon was recently suspended by DENR Secretary Gina Lopez. (Photo courtesy of Msgr. Bernie Pantin)

There is a mining company present in Homonhon which is mining chromite. Three thousand hectares of forest were burned in order to start mining the chromite. The people of Homonhon are the ones hired to do the mining. The mining area is divided into the different barangays of Homonhon as their area for mining. The mining company would then buy from them the mines that have been dug up. As is usually the case with mining companies, the only benefit that the people of the place can get is that they get employed in mining the fields, but in terms of profit from the mine itself there is very little if there is at all. When the mining is over they are then left with barren and unproductive land coupled with the pollution from the tailings of the mines which goes into the sea.

(This article is lifted from the Blog of Msgr. Bernie Pantin, BEACHES AND CHURCHES, A travel blog of natural and religious sights in the Philippines and beyond. https://beachanatic.blogspot.com)

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