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Super fathers of the Binangonan, Rizal

a feature story of a great fisherman and a father

By Camille DellosaPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Photo by: Camille Dellosa

Despite several fish kills, undeniably numerous challenging experiences at Laguna Lake and the constant increase in fuel prices, Tatay Romuloz remains unwavering in continuing to go fishing in the fish port of Binangonan, Rizal.

After more than forty years of being a fisherman, Tatay Romuloz Ernero, 88, has learned everything he needs to know from Laguna Lake. And because of this, he was able to support and provide for his three children’s education until their college years.

“May araw na marami, ngayon marami kaming huli ngayon, ay may araw na mahina ganun. Hindi pare-pareho ang panghuhuli. Sa dagat kasi hindi mo matanysa,” Tatay Romoloz explained.

When fishing gets especially bad, according to Taytay Romuloz, the money that they earn is sometimes solely used and just goes for diesel. Despite the constant rise in commodities and petroleum prices, they are still losing money.

“Pero may panahon namang… Gaya ngayon, yung huli namin ay mahigit dalawang libo, malalaki kasi yung bigay o huli na isda ngayon,” he shared.

However, with the help of Tatay Salvador, 62, who has been fishing for ten years, it becomes easier and faster than usual for them to catch fish whenever they are together. Some of the fish raised from Binangonan are Tilapia, Karpa, Milkfish, Big Head, and Shrimp which are brought to Malabon, Navotas.

Tatay Romuloz was immensely appreciative of the fish and the Laguna Lake since they had made his exhaustion and his gamble at the Laguna Lake experience worthwhile. Of his three children, two—an engineer and a teacher—have finished their college education with the support of his fishing at the Laguna Lake.

“Isipin mo noh, napag-aral ko silang lahat sa pamamagitan lang sa pangignisda dahil sa lawa lang ng Laguna, dahil noong araw mas maganda ang panghuhuli sa lawa kumpara ngayon, mahina ngayon, matumal bigay ng lawa ‘di gaya sa dati,” Tatay Romuloz happily shared.

Despite Taytay Romuloz's senior years, not a single thought in stopping or to give up his fishing life. He explained with a smile, that fishing in Laguna Lake appeared like an early-morning exercise for him and that it was difficult to find other things or distractions to do these days.

“Lalong mahirap kapag walang ginagawa, ay ito nakakalibang ito medyo maginhawa ang pakiramdam sa lawa,” as Taytay Romuloz described his ordinary day spent at the Laguna Lake.

He also added, “Pagkaaalis kami sa madaling araw, alas-quatro, ay maginhawang pumalaot nakakasagap pa - ng masimoy na hangin at paaraw pa.”

Unbeknownst to the customers who purchase his caught fish, a great fisherman believes that “Mahirap na maginhawa ang pangingisda.”

“Kasi ang palakaya sa lawa kapag hindi mo inaasikaso, kailangan din kasing meron kang pang-maintenance o pangpuhunan, dahil syempre papalitan mo kapag nabali mga kawayan, bibili ka ng kawayan, ang lambat papalitan mo kapag marupok na tapos yung bangka syempre importante yan paano ka lalayag,” he continued.

In spite of the danger and the maintenance needed for all this hard work, his children and the life in the lake keep him inspired which makes him stay.

By nine o'clock in the morning, they were off to their second job since fishing is not Tatay Romuloz's and Tatay Salvador's sole occupation in the day. Tatay Salvador worked as a carpenter to add up to their income, whereas Tatay Romuloz right after worked as a councilor in the barangay.

In recent decades, Laguna Lake continues to bring life - from fish and the life of the great fisherman Tatay Romuloz and his partner Tatay Salvador. They may not be Superman, not having superpowers, but a super father lies in helping the community and is willing to support the life of their families

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Camille Dellosa

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    Camille DellosaWritten by Camille Dellosa

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