By: Erwin Beleo
FISHERFOLKS IN THE CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - 28-year-old Kimberly Arcibal, wife of a fisherman, puts up a Christmas lantern on their shanty house in Barangay Ilocanos Sur, City of San Fernando, La Union. (Photo by: Erwin Beleo)
From the break of dawn to sundown, fishermen venture through the middle of the deepest seas to get a good catch despite the occasional bad weathers. Being a fisherman is no easy job, but one has to risk his own life and face challenges each day in order to provide a better life for his family.
Renato Arcibal is a fifty-year-old fisherman who lives in Ilocanos Sur, City of San Fernando. He shared that in spite of all the adversities, one of his sons will soon graduate to college. He manages to send his children to school because of his livelihood and unique mechanic skills.
“Kasama na sa buhay ko ang paghahanap buhay bilang mekaniko sa mga makinarya ng bilog, minsan binibigyan ako ng 500 to 700 pesos sa serbisyo, pero kadalasan kung mga kakilala o mga kapitbahay, binibigyan nalang ako ng pang meryenda at ayos na sa akin yun,” Renato said.
The daughter-in-law of Renato, Kimberly Arcibal is a wife of a fisherman and a mother of two children. According to her, her husband Raymark Arcibal only uses a rented fishing boat and earns Php 5,000.00 a month depending on how many kilos of fish he catches every day.
Despite the difficulties in life, Kimberly and Raymark plan to celebrate Christmas in a simple yet joyful way with their fellow fishermen. “Sa bisperas ng Pasko, lahat kami nagtitipon-tipon kasama ang pamilya dito sa kalapaw (shade). Pagkatapos mag simba, kanya-kanya kami ng mga bitbit na handa o pagkain tulad ng pansit, spaghetti, salad at rice cake para sa Noche Buena” she shared.
“Kapag Pasko, ang mga bata dito ay kadalasang lumalabas at nangangaroling, ang daming nanunuod at naaaliw sa kanila. Kaya’t sa tuwing sasapit na ang Pasko, kina-umagahan nito ay nagpapalaro kami” she also added, as she recalls that in every Christmas gathering, they always organize parlor games to bring fun entertainment to the children.
The Arcibal family is among the fishermen from Barangay Canaoy, Catbangen, Ilocanos Norte, Ilocanos Sur, Lingsat, Pagdaraoan, Pagudpud, San Francisco and San Vicente, who took part in the event entitled: “People’s Day: Family Day for Fisherfolks and their children” last December 7, 2017.
The City Government of San Fernando, led by Mayor Hermenegildo “Dong” Gualberto and Vice Mayor Alfredo Pablo Ortega, through the Office of the City Agriculturist, organized the event to spread Christmas love and happiness to our city’s noble fishermen and their families.
The event included various activities and parlor games that provided fun-filled recreation to families such as Tug-of-War, Beach Volleyball, 100-meter Dash, Sack Race, Videoke Singing Contest, and Paraisong Pambata fun games and learning activities for the children. Medical consultations, fishing vessel insurance and IEC on Marine Protection services were also availed.
At the end of the event, Mayor Dong Gualberto together with other City employees, gave out Noche Buena packs to the families.
Like the Arcibal family, they never dreamt of getting their feet on a carpet with a shining Christmas tree, according to them, as long as they were all together and gathered as a community to celebrate the Christmas Eve; they are all happy and contented.