Masbate is known as the home of the “Cowboys of the East.” It is said that the tradition dates back hundreds of years to Spanish rule. Others believe it was the U.S. who reintroduced cattle ranching as part of post-World War 2 reparations. In all cases, the cowboy culture and practices run deep and strong here. Dotting the vast green grazing landscape are small villages where cowhands live.
The cattle branding and farming places like the Kho-Ranch, Jadeco Farm and Crown B traces its roots to the Manila-Acapulco trade from the 16th to 19th centuries when cattle was imported from Mexico.
But Masbate isn’t just cowboy country. It’s also a melting pot of different cultures. Locals speak Minasbate — a mix of the Ilonggo, Cebuano, Bicolano and Hiligaynon dialects. (http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/masbate/)
Liter of Light teamed up with the Cowboys of Rodeo Masbateno Inc. headed by Mr. Leo Trece Gozum. Together, we shared the gift of light by teaching the locals how to assemble their own street lights and providing house lights to illuminate the town, which lies off of the grid.
After teaching the locals, Liter of Light team stayed at Milagros – a first-class municipality in the province of Masbate in the Philippines, facing the Asid Gulf. Milagros is also the epicenter of the cattle ranches that Masbate has become famous for. The team cooked food, relaxed for a while, and of coarse enjoyed the breathtaking view before moving to their next destination.
Before nightfall, the team installed lights in the villages and houses of the cowhands – the people who help to herd and raise the cattle on the vast grazing fields of Masbate. We trained the families on how to build and install their own solar lanterns and street lights. The team also installed solar mobile charging stations in the Church and Clinic, both of which were operating without electricity and which serve as evacuation centers during harsh storms.
Liter of Light gave 30 street lights, 100 gasera (lamps), and 30 house lights to Masbateno families. These lights gave 2,150 lives a new beginning and a brighter day ahead; not just during day light but also at night.
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” -Lao Tsu
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