Every day, for as long as the sea isn’t very rough, 74-year-old Maria Tequillo goes to the port in Dalahican, Lucena in the Philippines to dive for coins thrown by passengers who either take pity on their condition or actually want to see them dive and search for the coins in the water.
Just like many other Badjaos, an ethnic group who hails from southern Philippines, Lola Maria learned how to swim and dive as a very young kid – she might have even learned how to dive even before she could walk!
And just like many Badjaos, she would go to one of the ports in the country (the one in Lucena is nearest to her home) so she could ask for coins from the passengers. At 74, she’s already too old for this kind of “job” yet she continues to do it to feed her family.
She was the subject of a documentary by Front Row where she could be seen expertly diving into the waters to go after coins – it does not matter if it is just a P1 coin because at the end of the day, this is still money. In fact, she doesn’t really earn that much from a dive but the P109 ($2.30) she earned on that day was already enough for 3 kg of rice for her brood.
Her old husband no longer dives with her for coins but when the seas are rough and too dangerous for Lola Maria to dive, it is her husband’s turn to look for money. He would go out and beg in the streets.
Their grandkids help during weekends but thankfully don’t dive during weekdays because they all go to school so they can, hopefully, get a job someday – to have another way of earning money aside from just diving for a few measly coins at the port…
Excerpt: Mga Barya ni Lola MariaKilalanin ang dahilan kung bakit patuloy na sumisisid si Lola Maria sa malalim na karagatan para manguha ng mga barya. Panoorin ang ilang eksena ng dokumentaryong ‘Mga Barya ni Lola Maria’ sa video na ito!
Posted by Front Row on Tuesday, August 2, 2016