PROFILE: Punta Tarawal
Punta Tarawal is the smallest village of Calabanga (population: 408) town in Camarines Sur. It has 75 small houses made of light materials or a combination of concrete and galvanized iron sheets built around a 1.5-hectare area at the mouth of the Bicol River facing San Miguel Bay.
It is bounded on the north by Bicol River, San Miguel Bay on the east side, two tributaries on the west, and marshes with nipa palms and mangroves on the south.
According to the book, “Calabanga,” by Jaime T. Malanyaon, the word Punta in Spanish means point or tip or at the point of the Bicol River that opens to the San Miguel Bay. “The former site was at the northwestern position named Tarawal but due to erosion, people had to move to a safer site—(to a place called) Punta,” Malanyaon wrote.
He described Punta Tarawal as a place popular for its “crabs, prawns and other fishes that abound in most seasons of the year.”
There is no access road that connects the village to Calabanga’s road network. Commuters take tricycles and habal-habal (passenger motorcycles) to a port in the village of Balongay, 7 kilometers from the town center. They then take a kilometer-long boat ride on the Bicol River, overlooking the town of Cabusao.
Punta Tarawal receives only P1 million from the national government as its Internal Revenue Allotment share. The people subsist on fishing, gathering firewood and nipa leaves, and doing odd jobs. Several young adults work in Naga City and other urban centers of Camarines Sur and in Metro Manila to help feed their families.
Typhoon “Sining” devastated Punta Tarawal on Oct. 13, 1970, leaving eight people dead and 38 of 40 houses destroyed. Juan Escandor Jr.
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