In the wild setting of Southern Leyte where Scuba addicts are chasing whale sharks and other oceanic creatures, some natives still mine sub-aquatic gold for their day-to-day survival. It’s been centuries since the tiny village of Pinut-an has gotten on the explorers’ map as a hotspot for gold mining. Whereas harvesting gold-bearing quartz underwater with coconut shells and high-pressure hoses which supply oxygen into the laborers’ lungs is a relatively new and creative way to maintain a livelihood. Many of the small-scale mining families have set up their temporary homes and sluice boxes right at Pinut-an’s shoreline where they follow the gold vein extensions in search for the precious chemical element ever since. Having spent a third of their life underwater, the submarine gold diggers usually quit diving with about 40 years of age, passing down the well-aged and laborious mining tradition to the next generation. As the abundance of gold has been harvested and the high grades continue to decline, the roughly 300 miners of Pinut-an are facing an uncertain future.


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