Tubo Adventure, Part 3: The lone ferryman of Luba River

Categories photo essay

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Ennui got the better of us as we waited for the supposed backup vehicle that never arrived. The sun was high, although the slight breeze was cool, I was perspiring, seeking shelter on the disappearing umbrage of the four wheel drive. I scanned the horizon and the mountains across the Luba River and saw a lone longitudinal raft trying to cross the water, to the other side where two motorcycles were waiting.

There’s no bridge large enough for vehicles to cross the river from Manabo to Luba. Several meters away, a modern foot bridge is the only thing that connects the two banks. And this is the main problem in the remote municipalities of Abra. Wide rivers can be crossed only via a motorized platform on good weather days. If the river is raging, there are no trips. No transport.

But that raft, small as it may be, was persistent. Where there is a lack of infrastructure, there is always an opportunity for enterprise. And this young man was there, giving a service and at the same time earning an honest living ferrying motorcycles with his flimsy raft assembled from bamboo poles and pieces of wood. Crossing from the Luba river bank to the Manabo side and vice versa, from morning till afternoon, as long as the river permits him. Patience, in the long run, will pay off, and he can bring food to his family’s table.

I can’t help but just observe from a distance, taking photos and somewhat proud of his persistence.

Luba River raftmanLuba River raftman

Luba River raftman

Luba River raftman

Luba River raftman

Thanx to former Abra Vice Governor Chari Bersamin for making this trip possible. It was hard, it was unexpected but it was a beautiful and memorable experience!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Stan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London). His personal Photography work has been exhibited in Asia and Europe including Paris, Seoul and around the ASEAN regional capitals. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has been to all 81 Philippines provinces.

Open for work, collaboration and inquiry for site features. Check out his portfolio.

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