Latest Stories

Badjao beggars on her mind


WOMAN TALK Salud, aka Nanay Nursing, serves as DSWD’s point person extending aid and counsel to fellow Badjao women who ended up homeless in Ermita, Manila, after leaving their native provinces in Mindanao. DSWD

Troubled by the rising number of Badjao tribesmen flocking to the cities to beg for alms especially during Christmas, Nursida Salud vowed to do something about it.

“It’s as if they have lost all hope,” said Salud, herself a Badjao who hails from Campo Islam, Zamboanga City. “Our people have no sense of direction.”

“Nanay Nursing” is a facilitator of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for its various programs for the migrant Badjao. Over the past few weeks, for example, she has been visiting “transient areas” where members of the scattered ethnic group can be found in large numbers.

According to the DSWD’s National Capital Region office, about 80 percent of the mendicant Badjao find refuge in Moonwalk, Bulaong and San Dionisio in Paranaque City; Maharlika and Marantao in Taguig City; and Barangay (village) 704 in Ermita, Manila. They fan out during the day to go begging as far as Monumento in Caloocan City in the north and Pasay City in the south.


‘Sea gypsies’ avoiding conflict

Salud and five other facilitators wear many hats—as monitors, counselors, educators, coordinators—to link up with local governments, civic groups and nongovernment organizations that could offer short- or long-term assistance to the estimated 225 Badjao families identified by DSWD-NCR this year.

Described as “sea gypsies” in their home provinces of Zamboanga, Jolo, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the Badjao people have been leaving their ancestral land in waves over the past decade to look for better opportunities and to avoid the armed conflict, according to DSWD-NCR coordinator Rosecindy Larrobis.

These “victims of circumstance,” she said, arrive in urban areas with little or no working skills, hence they mostly end up begging in the streets. Their numbers swell toward the Christmas season, as early as October, then taper off after the holidays as they trickle back to the provinces.

Salud noted that, in the past, the majority of Badjao migrants would rather take jobs as vendors, street sweepers or domestic helpers than go panhandling. “I myself sold vegetables and accepted laundry jobs. But begging? I haven’t done that.”

SALUD: ‘‘Together we can do this.’’ DSWD

Before joining the DSWD, Salud worked for the nongovernment organization Sun for All Children Inc. Her income helped support her son’s studies.

Today, under a DSWD program dubbed Liberating Indigenous People from Indignity (Lipi), she tries to spread hope and encouragement among her people. “I keep telling them: ‘Go find real work.’”

She said she is most concerned about the Badjao children, telling their parents to enroll them in school.


Through Lipi, a number of Badjao migrants have found work in Metro Manila as street sweepers, laborers and park attendants. “Our cash-for-work programs hire the Badjao to help maintain the cleanliness in the barangays where they stay, something which is appreciated by the other residents,” Larrobis said.

At least 130 Badjao men and women benefited from the cash-for-work program in the NCR in 2011.

Dozens more attended livelihood seminars on soap-making and pillow-making, for example. Lipi’s education program also helped improve their personal hygiene.

In a tie-up between the DSWD and Teatro Filipino Integrated, some Badjao women also found themselves “sharing their culture and telling the story of their lives” through dance and were invited to perform in schools and other government events, Larrobis added.

Ammisia Adjarani, thanked Salud and the DSWD on behalf of her fellow Lipi benefeciaries: “Thanks to them, our condition has been recognized and addressed. With their help, I learned new skills that could keep me off the streets and make me proud again as a Badjao.”

Another beneficiary, Alkiya Tamsilami, added: “We deeply appreciate their assistance especially in sending our children to school.”

Indeed, that’s precisely Nanay Nursing’s mission: “I want them to have something to be proud of. Together we can do this. It’s all for us Badjao.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Badjao tribesmen , beggars , Metro , News , Paskong pinoy

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap


  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Marketplace