For a Living Ocean

Skillful 74 Year Old Sama Woman Dives for Coins Every Day

Lola Maria is 74 years old but still she paddles to the harbour of Lucena, Queszon, and wait for boat passengers to toss her coins which she’ll dive for – every day. She exhibits great diving skills reaching several meters on her hunt for coins and  she can get approximately 100 pesos daily, some of which goes to send her grand children to school.

Like most Sama people in Luzon in northern Philippines, Lola Maria orginally came from Zamboanga. She tells us a story that we have heard many times before: a lot of Sama people lead a difficult life on the run, in a world with less fish and more tensions, yet surviving by cooperating closely over generations and taking advantage of their inherited skills.

in August 2016, Lola Maria, was featured in a GMA News’ Front Row documentary titled “Mga Barya ni Lola Maria” (The Coins of Grandma Maria).

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