We recently had a visitor from Sibuyan Island, located near the Philippine province of Romblon.
The small island has not one but two mountains, both covered in lush forests. A river so clear that you could see pebbles ten feet below the surface. Hundreds of species of trees and plants. Bats, mammals, fish, birds. It’s hard to keep accurate counts, since biologists keep stumbling on new species.
Unfortunately, the island is also rich in minerals like iron and nickel. And since the passage of the Mining Act of 1995, foreign-owned mining corporations have been hard at work turning the “Galapagos of Asia” to a wasteland.
But Sibuyan has two things going for it. First, said our visitor, residents love their island. They are challenging the mining corporations, seeking legal blocks to the extraction, protesting the environmental damage. And they do so at great risk to themselves. Armin Marin, an engineer and lifelong Sibuyan resident, was killed because of this fight.
And second,as everyone in Romblon knows, Sibuyan Island is enchanted.