Balacbacan Exposure Trip 2015

By Seyra Rico - 12:27 PM

I'm doing my thesis on solidarity travel, the kind of traveling to seek justice and equity, and it is another term for transnational activism. I went to Sitio Balacbacan in Laiya-Aplaya, San Juan, Batangas for the weekend for my data collection. Sitio Balacbacan used to be a striving fishing community but on July 2014, 22 buses of demolition trucks and hundreds of PNP and AFP forces were deployed to evict the 600 families living along the coastline for the development of resorts by Federico Campos III, the business man and a friend of the political entities in San Juan. It was overkill. The demolition was very inhumane. You take away local people's livelihood and homes for tourism and the state is the number 1 proponent of this. The congressman of Batangas owns a 7 storey hotel in the coastline, which you actually cannot do because the buildings in coastal areas should be just the same height as the tallest coconut tree. But it is not followed, naturally, because whoever yields economic powers possess political powers as well so no one ever gets prosecuted.
Seafood trade at 5am

Spectacular sunrise on the beach
The people used to live here. They weren't rich, but it they were sufficient. They have concrete houses before, with all the amenities, now they live in houses made of tarpaulins and spare woods. They are living in the streets as a sign of protest, for they are far from the shore and their livelihood. Haligi ng Batangenyong Anakdagat (HABAGAT) and Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas  (PAMALAKAYA – Pilipinas) and other national democratic organizations are one with their struggle. 
The displaced families put red flags on their homes as a symbol for fighting for their rights
Simple yet sumptuous lunch
We then went hiking and discussed the local issues at the summit 
With all these outright human rights violations, it is only justifiable that the people are fighting for what is truly theirs. It is the government's mandate to provide shelter and livelihood for its own citizens yet they are doing the exact opposite, committing violent acts of oppresion and exploitation to the people of Balacbacan. Support them! You can contact me for more details on how you can help. Thank you, People's Solidarity and Education Tours for organizing this, in proving that travel can be alternative and enriching, and providing us with a life changing experience. You can more about them here.

Read more about Sitio Balacbacan's case here.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


Thanks so much for your thoughts! Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @pavementsarerunways for daily updates.