The Verde Island Passage (VIP) in Lobo, Batangas has the highest concentration of shorefish species in the world. This area is famous worldwide as the “Center of Global Shorefish Biodiversity.” It’s disheartening to learn that it’s in grave danger due to excessive mining.
Most of the residents in the surrounding barangays get their livelihood from small-scale mining and they gravitate towards said trade due to lack of other viable livelihood options. During our boat ride along the shores of Lobo, our guide shared that fishing is the primary source of living in the province. But that was gravely affected when mining took place as fishes were killed and driven away by the toxins dumped into the sea. It’s a good thing that the local government along with fishermen and other organizations took a stand against mining.
The bakery, located in Masaguitsit-Banalo High School, is the first of many planned for other locales around the VIP. It has already hired and trained locals, mostly students, to operate the bakery. Aside from a steady wage, each employee is getting some much needed experience and training so that they may operate and manage their own bakeries someday.
Goldilocks, the country’s number one bakeshop, intended to make the Kabuhayan Bakeshop an integral part of its Foundation’s advocacy. “Through the Kabuhayan Bakery project, we hope that lesser people around the VIP pursue other livelihood options,” Goldilocks Marketing Director Cherry Caluya said. “Keeping the populace from mining will definitely help in the conservation of the area,” she concluded.