Small in size, Barangay Calag-itan in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte is known for something big.
Through sheer bayanihan spirit, the entire barangay of Calag-itan, Hinunangan, Southern Leyte established the Calag-itan marine sanctuary with a core area of 15.5 hectares.
In 2002 and 2003, the barangay spent just P15,000 and P9,000 respectively, to run the program. The funding went to the planting of guso (seaweed) on 16 hectares of land in 2003.
This became, not just an alternative source of income, but a native exportable delicacy unique to the town. Residents have come up with 16 delectable guso recipes, including pickles and maja, a dessert.
“Even neighboring barangays don’t have guso, and they come to us for their needs,” said Barangay Captain Ausebio Gabut.
Nowadays, the Calag-itan Guso Producers Association produces an average of five metric tons of fresh and dried seaweed over 100 months which sell for more than P100,000.
Household monthly income rose 46% from three to five hours of working in the seaweed farms.
The small barangay of a mere 256 households has proven it does not need a heavy dose of funding to protect its marine resources and ensure its survival.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2005 Galing Pook Awards.