Dear World,

Food is one of the most vital factors in surviving the pandemic.


The Corona Virus pandemic has put most parts of the world in lockdown. Doctors, nurses and people in medical field as well as support personnel of hospitals are suddenly called to the front lines. Together with paramedics, police, military and volunteers, they are what we call these days as Frontliners.

Restrictions on people’s movements are strictly imposed and observed, public places have gone empty, social gatherings are prohibited and staying at home is encouraged. Because of these measures, life changed in an instant. Going to groceries and food markets are scheduled. Checkpoints sprout on the streets and reaching one’s destination is made harder as no public transport is allowed.

In all these difficulties, food is one of the most vital factors in surviving the pandemic. In the fishing village of Suba in the town of Argao in Cebu central Philippines, Jesse James Olarte, 27, a no-work-no-pay laborer, married with two kids takes charge of the only functioning fishing dragnet. He is the “kapitan” (captain), the one who determines the location to cast the net out to sea. Rain or shine, they go out to catch fish, mainly not to sell, but just to have a share for their daily sustenance.

When dragnet fishing is not allowed by authorities in observance of the “three days before and after the new moon rule”, Olarte goes spearfishing at night. This time selling what he could catch to middle class residents. His proceeds make him buy milk and diapers for his newborn daughter. At daytime he helps his cousin sell fish around the village. A financier entrusts to them kilos of fish bought from large fish carrier trucks coming from other islands. In return, they get a percentage of what they sold.

Since March 30, 2020, this has been his routine. To provide food to people. Asked if he had realized what his role during the pandemic, Olarte replied, “even if I had only finished second grade, I had helped people to have food. They see me as a joker because I always crack jokes around, but now they also see me as a backliner”.


I Am Poor, I Am Your Provider

Support this photographer: Victor Kintanar ︎  @victorkintanar     



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