I witnessed the recent launch of the first Goldilocks Kabuhayan Bakery in Lobo, Batangas. Goldilocks Foundation partnered with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc’s (ALKFls) Bantay Kalikasan and the Nutrition Center of the Philippines. This is to provide the locals a source of livelihood instead of going into mining.
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.
To further protect and help the coastal communities, the Lobo Marine Ecotourism Project was established to protect and rehabilitate Lagadlarin Mangrove Forest which we were able to explore. But let’s admit it, not everyone can rely on fishing all the time. The Goldilocks Kabuhayan Bakery is a good way to provide alternative livelihood.
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.
They are taught how to bake the bread and how to run the business from a managerial perspective. This is such a good idea. Aside from gaining the skills in baking, they also learn how to be an entrepreneur. The students can actually use their knowledge and setup their own business after graduating.
Honda Philippines, one of the program’s major partners, also helped in delivering the baked goods to its customers. Honda donated a motorcycle so the bakery’s products may be transported around the city. Pretty soon, an established delivery system will be in place for Kabuhayan Bakery. Also supporting the program are San Miguel Mills and the the local government of Lobo, led by Mayor Gaudioso Manalo.
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.
I do hope that mining would be totally eliminated in Lobo, Batangas. The place is truly beautiful to be wasted. Gold mining is truly enticing, but the entire population of the province shouldn’t suffer just so a few could profit. That’s a selfish act.
When I learned about the launch of Kabuhayan Bakery in Lobo, Batangas, I was looking forward to seeing the Malabrigo Lighthouse. But as we toured the province, I realized there’s more to enjoy at this province. We planted seedlings at the Mabisa Organic Farm, relaxed at Punta Verde Resort, and of course seeing the famed lighthouse in person.
The province deserves the attention from the government in protecting it. Kudos to organizations making efforts to help the locals, establishing projects such as the Goldilocks Kabuhayan Bakery. But everyone should be working together towards eliminating mining in the province. Nothing is impossible; we can make it happen if we work together as one.