Butawanan island opens new school, receives support from province

“It takes a village to raise a child,” goes the famous proverb that means an entire community of people plays a big role in raising children of the future. It means that this community of people must provide for and interact positively with children for them to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.


Within the municipality of Siruma lies the island of Barangay Butawanan where its community takes this proverb by heart.


Barangay Butawanan, with its marvelous shoreline gaining the attention of tourism, is an island of simple means. The locals rely on fishing and farming of root crops and coconuts to support their families. With a lone school for elementary where children in grades 1 to 6 go to, it is the parents’ dream to have another opened for their children.


The Butawanan Elementary School has a total number of 327 students. Of its population, 150 students who live on the other side of the island have to walk every day for 1 to 2 hours crossing shorelines, unstable rivers, and improvised bridges, and climbing steep rocky roads and slippery paths before reaching the school. By the time they arrive in their classrooms, they are too exhausted to fully concentrate in their lessons.


“It’s really difficult because they are just kids, they are so little to be walking that risky path. As a parent, I am always worried and scared especially when I am unable to accompany them to school,” shared Marjoery Bongalos, parent of two. Both her kids go to Butawanan Elementary School. When she heard of the news that a new school will be opened within their zone, not only was she happy, she was also relieved.


Upon the request of the new school administration, parents, and teachers for materials for the makeshift classroom they are building, the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur has been efficient with their response. The province immediately delivered 50 pieces of yero to Butawanan and 20 sacks of rice to be given to the locals who will help in building the classroom.


The new school called Isla Berde Butawanan Elementary School is located in Zone 7 of the island and it will accommodate pupils in kindergarten to grades 1 to 3. With its opening, more than a hundred pupils will no longer have to wake up too early in the morning and walk almost 3 kilometers every day. They can now focus on their lessons and get the best of their education. While parents and teachers will no longer have to worry for the safety of their children.


Bongalos, who also went to Butawanan Elementary School in her childhood and endured the distance and possible risks of walking to school, is beyond thankful and relieved that her children will no longer have to go through what she went through just to get education.


“This has been a long dream for all of us and now, it is finally coming true. All thanks to the teachers and the locals, and of course, to the province for their unwavering support that made our dreams possible,” expressed Bongalos.


The entire community of Butawanan living in zones 5 to 7 worked together in building the classroom. From the locals and parents, to the teachers and barangay officials and the support of the provincial government, the barangay Butawanan are able to create a safer and healthier environment for the children and their future.