The Maluso Experience: Of Bravehearts and Green Warriors

21 March 2024

A four-part series on Synergeia’s  Solid Waste Management  Project with the Coca Cola Foundation

Part 1:  Bravehearts, Here We Go

The sea was not as calm. It was exciting enough to rock the cradle boat of these Bravehearts of Synergeia men and women for 35 minutes from Zamboanga City Port to Isabela City Port and welcome them to the province of Basilan.

Bravehearts brought them to Basilan where indeed most say only the brave hearts live as people there are perceived to eat bullets for breakfast and bombs for supper.

But Synergeia saw and felt differently. While the irreverent waves kept the team’s hands clasped in prayer and their hair blown in great force, their eyes were lulled in sights of calmness and peace with the long stretch of rubber and coconut trees that seem to hug Basilan in its raw beauty.

It was an awesome teaser to Maluso, geographically situated in the southwestern part of Basilan, in close vicinity to the Sulu group and Banguingui Isles, and the character and grace of its less than 50,000 people, who come from different ethnolinguistic tribes such as Yakan, Iranun, Banguingui and Tausug. They warmly opened their doors to Synergeia with their feet and hands moving in a symphony of rhythm and power.

It was also a rich preview to Maluso’s courageous and committed local leadership and its communities which are ready to embark on a noble initiative to make their hubs clean and green, transform their behavior and values toward more environmentally sustainable practices and create a better future for its populace.

The mission of Synergeia’s team, led by Dr.  Nene  Guevara,  Bongao Mayor Jimuel Que,  and former  Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, was clear and straightforward.

Together with two other municipalities in BARMM, namely Marantao in Lanao Del Sur and Mangundadatu in Maguindanao, Maluso in Basilan is expected to have an improved solid waste management system through this partnership program of Synergeia and Coca-Cola Foundation.

Specifically,  the program aims to : (1) Foster a community-wide commitment to improved waste management practices. (2) Build the capacities of barangays and schools to develop and implement an Ecological Waste Management Plan for the municipality; and (3) Facilitate the transfer of technology on how to  reduce  and  recycle  waste into reusable materials.

It was not easy to rest. Mind asks, What makes a braveheart thrive in a far-away land like Maluso?

Read next: Part 2: Braver Hearts Reveal

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