It was in mid-June when Ramir and I went to an Aeta community in Pampanga, specifically in Sitio Target, Angeles City, for a two-day immersion. We were doing a project for UCA News, a Catholic website, which shall focus on the community’s healthcare needs, livelihood, and education. It was Ramir’s first time in the place and I was excited for him to meet the people I have previously visited. But as for me, though it was my fourth time, there are still a lot of things I learned after the immersion–things that gave me more enlightenment, and a better and concrete understanding on their plight and how we, people in the urban area, can be of great help.

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*All photos from RAMIR G. CAMBIADO

Sitio Target is the farthest sitio in Angeles City, and is mostly dominated by Aeta. About 700 people are living in the area, which was formerly the American’s shooting range, thus the name.

When one would go around the place, you will see some unfinished houses–which were started by Gawad Kalinga, but was eventually halted due to some reasons. Some of the houses were  made of cement while others remained made of light materials.

Read Also: Birthday Solo Travel: Ocular Visit at Sitio Target

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Children, mostly are malnourished according to the sitio’s social worker Ate Rhea, can be seen playing by the school’s playground or receiving candies from Korean visitors from the nearby Puning Hot Springs.

It was also interesting to note that there a a couple of Christian churches there, though the community is actually divided into different religions aside from Christianity–Catholic, Baptist, Iglesia ni Cristo, and Protestant.

Majority of the fathers there are working for the hot spring resort. The resort’s employees are 90 percent consisted of Aetas–which is considered as the main source of income for the community. Some would tend to their farm in the mountains, and sell their crops on Sundays in Sapang Bato where they were given a small area to sell.

Read Also: Aeta Community Outreach at Sitio Target, Angeles City, Pampanga

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The females are mostly at home, tending to household chores while taking care of their kids. The families there are mostly consisting of 4-7 kids. Some, meanwhile, make accessories out of bangkal and binggala seeds which they get in the mountains. I interviewed Ate Merlyn, who has been creating nice pieces even when Mt. Pinatubo erupted. Sometimes, Sister Angela of Holy Family Academy would order rosaries from her, which they will exhibit and sell during Buwan ng Wika. This adds to her daily income from her little sari-sari store, of which she got a capital from the government’s Pantawid Pamilya Project.

In my third visit in the community last year, I met Ate Jonalyn Abloy. She is a 25-year-old mother-of-five. She lost her two children last year and the year before due to complications. In our recent visit, I was not able to see her because her son was confined in the hospital due to high fever and consistent vomiting.

I remember she told me before that she wanted to be a teacher. But because she married at a young age, and got pregnant with her first child after, she was discouraged by her mother to pursue schooling. That is, for Ate Jonalyn, is the dream she might not achieve anymore.

Read Also: Aeta Outreach at Sitio Target Itinerary and Program

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During our immersion, we met Aries de Vera. He is the first to graduate with a college degree among his fellows in Sitio Target. His education was funded under the Benedictine Student Assistance Program of Holy Family Academy. He is now a teacher and the sitio’s purok leader.

For years, he had struggled with discrimination in the city–from people looking at him while mumbling derogatory words, to the challenge he has to face in dealing with a computer.

He says that what he aspires for his fellow Aetas is the same education that he also attained.

While he knows that Sitio Target still has a long way to go when it comes to being at par with other sitio’s in Angeles City, Aries believes that one day, they will get there.

Would like to visit this Aeta community in Pampanga and conduct an outreach or immersion there? You may see the details of conducting the outreach in this PAGE or better yet, e-mail at gelykaruthdumaraos@gmail.com.

34 thoughts on “Aeta Community in Pampanga: An Immersion in Sitio Target, Angeles City”

  1. Ph government really need to do something for the poor. There should be equal opportunity for everyone to have a source of income. I believe, the first step for them is to have a proper education. Next is for businesses to come and invest so that there will be job openings for them to get work experience. If only we can provide something to help them, that would be great.

    Andi | http://www.wizardandi.com

    1. Hi Andi,

      Yes, education is the key. And it is great that a lot of people are going in this area to help Aetas on their education.

    1. Hi Erica,

      What we really hope is that people will no longer discriminate them because it really hurts their feelings which makes them have low self-esteem.

  2. It is fulfilling to be able to mingle with the locals when we travel. Aside from learning about their culture, we also hear stories about their daily lives and how do they survive. Thanks for this post and sharing to us how do our bro Aeta brothers and sisters live, hope more help will come to them.

    1. Hi Louiela,

      Immersion is really one way to get to know them more, more than the place and the sights it offer. Thanks for dropping by!

    1. Hi Indrani,

      Yes, this is absolutely correct. We hope people in high ranks will come to realize that the poor should be the priority more than staging wars.

  3. This is quite a project to take on and hope that it is very successful, it must be difficult and frustrating to not find work. It would be helpful to find some other resources, 90% of income coming from one place is really scary since if something happens and the doors close than that will have a huge impact!

    1. Hello Jimmy and Tina,

      Offering them other source of livelihood would be great than having only one source which may affect them if the business suddenly closes or what. Thankyou for dropping by. 🙂

  4. HI Gelyka,

    I hope you will continue to see and visit our fellow Aeta countrymen. Your article, sharing their stories and voices online are helpful to set an awareness that there are still communities here in the Philippines that are still left behind and these Filipinos are not being fully invited to the bounty on the table.

    Bring more friends and let your voices be heard until our Government will listen and give them more attention.

    1. Hi Trisha,

      I am hoping my regular visits there as well as the people who reads this blog and gets information from me how to get there will help our fellow Aetas in the Pampanga. I will continue to write stories about them and their plight and encourage people to help them in any way, as long as I can because they are really close to my heart. We hope the local government can also see their situation. Thankyou for dropping by, Trisha.

  5. It is sad how some places and people get passed by and stay in the shadows, while the world moves forward. All the stakeholdes including governmenta and non-governmental agencies and indidviduals need to join hands to lend a helping hand.

    1. Hello Vijay,

      Yes, what is heartbreaking is that the Aetas are the original inhabitants of the land and yet they are being pushed away in the mountains because they are “different.”

  6. I’ve voluntarily worked with an International NGO company before for almost two years and we usually conduct a medical mission for Aeta people in Naga, Cebu which we likewise provide a livelihood program for them. It is really sad knowing that our Government seemed to disregard the need of those that are really in need in our country. I hope this post of yours will be an inspiration to everyone as well that we can always help even starting from a small deed.

    I always do immersion whenever I visit to one place and its always the best experience ever.

    LaiAriel

    1. Hello!

      True, immersion is really one experience that would make us know how the locals live. I didn’t know that there are Aetas in Naga and Cebu too. Thanks for sharing the info! Let me know if you also wanted to have immersion in Sitio Target and I would be glad to give you the details in going there. God bless!

  7. Gelyka! This is such an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing your story and your voice be heard. Hope you could invite more people (including me) on your next visit. Let our government know that there are a lot of Filipinos who still need help.

    1. Hi Ferna,

      Thankyou for your encouraging words. Let me know if you want to visit the place, I’ll give you details. God bless!

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  10. Hi,
    Do you have upcoming outreach programs in this community.
    We want to conduct one, but now we would want to join to some group so we can have idea on how to do it productively.

    Thanks so much

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