Getting aboard a raft made out of discarded wood and styrofoam and paddling on the sea water with bare hands for an hour-long journey is not what everyone is willing to do but not for this teenage boy.
At the age of 13 years old, Reymark Cavesirano only has one option to earn enough to feed his family and that involves him paddling to the fishing boats far in the sea every weekend day.
The fishing boat where he works is not that far from Manila Bay but the boy has to leave before dawn to get on time.
Then, he will take the makeshift raft he borrowed and paddle to the fishing boat.
At the boat, Reymark works alongside men twice his age to remove fish stuck in the gear.
In spite of working long hours on the boat, Reymark never gets paid for his labor-intensive job.
But he gets to keep the fish that he removes as the payment.
After his task on the boat is completed, he will paddle back to the land and sell the catch to buy food and medicine for his family.
He earns roughly between PHP 100 (US$ 1.92) and PHP 150 (US$2.88) from the fish sale.
The money usually goes to pay for his grandfather’s tuberculosis medicine and the school allowance for the next week.
Reymark knew that it was tough to make a living on the fishing boat while taking care of his sick grandfather but the teenage boy said that he did not have any other options.
“My back usually aches from paddling but I cannot stop. I have to continue because we need to eat,” Reymark told AFP.
“I want to reciprocate my grandparents’ kindness. I want them to have a three-storey house made from concrete.”