Baclayan is located between 400 to 600 meters above sea level and 6 kilometres away from the town center of Puerto Galera on the Northern coast of Mindoro – an island 3 hours south of Manila. The climate is generally windy and cold throughout the year, with its cold season peaking between December and February. During this period, some settlers migrate to the lowlands where the weather is less hostile.
The road connecting town center to Baclayan is not well maintained. The road becomes muddy and slippery with rain and is dusty in the absence of rain. The commute from the town center is an hour and a half by foot. Pedestrians share the road with miniature jeeps and motorbikes. Water pipes lack regular maintenance and are exposed along the dirt road, making motorized transportation especially difficult during the rainy season.
The Iraya Mangyans of Baclayan:
Measured to be at 427 in 2007, the Baclayan population, the majority of which are Iraya Mangyans, has been steadily declining due to trends of migration out of the community, induced by the area’s lack of economic opportunity and hostile climate. Although the Irayas have a native dialect, of 43 families interviewed in a 2009 Family Mapping Study, only 10 continue to use their native language.
The predominant household structure of the Iraya is the nuclear family, consisting of parents and their children. Most members of the community are biological kin. Farming and basket-weaving are the two most substantial sources of income for Baclayan families.
The Tagalog ethnic group, the general population of Puerto Galera, perceives the Iraya as second-class citizens who are inherently inferior and are responsible for the community’s troubles. Crimes are unfortunately oftentimes attributed to the Iraya population as a consequence of this prejudice.
AAP has joined forces with Stairway (SFI) with the aim to lay the groundwork to establish a strong foundation for the Iraya Mangyan in Baclayan, working towards a healthy, thriving, self-sustaining community.
In short the project will focus on the following six goals:
The Program has already archeived good results; alone measured by the increased attendance of school kids it has been an enormous success.
For a detailed report end 2013 please refer below PDF file.