I said to Raden “could you arrange me to stay in Rio Hondo?” he said yes, “there’s a guesthouse just outside before the bridge.”, “but I want to stay in the floating village!” I said, Raden didn’t expect that one coming, was then thinking for a few seconds “let me see.”
Rio Hondo is an area where floating houses were built on a shallow bay, at the East of Zamboanga city, very West of Mindanao, South of Philippines. Here lives 100% Muslim, most are Tausug from the Sulu archipelago, mostly fishermen, many unemployed, is a place considered no go for outsider, even locals of Zamboanga city don’t wanna set foot on here. But I have this rare chance of knowing someone who’s rather respectable in this special place, so don’t I get the most out of it? Eventually Raden took me home and I had lived there 3 joyous days.
It was school holiday and abundance of children were playing outside, in the water just beneath their houses, on the boardwalk connecting these houses, or around their school or market where they would find their friends.
They played a lot of games with creativity, like turning a 5-gallon water container into a sledge to drag on boardwalk; a few of them would sit on the floor and spread their legs, made a W shape for a challenger to walk through and not stepping on them whilst not looking; then there was this fence jumping by stacking up hands in the air. They might be poor and lack of materials, but they’re the happiest bunch of kids I’d seen in a long time. The creativity, fun and laughters, made those who’re playing with their phones or tablets seem boring, after all, great fun needs no toys.
*This photo was the most voted in the Lonely Planet Photo Challenge “Play” (link below), but sadly it was disqualified because this photo contains nudity, regardless of his age.