Bara Village offers you an authentic village experience and a complete digital detox. It is located in one of the most remote barangays in Masbate province. For centuries, the people in Bara lived in complete harmony, mainly depending on fishing, farming, and animal raising as a source of income. Bara has only a total of 1800 inhabitants, majority are Catholics. The dialects spoken are Masbateño (75%), Cebuano (5%), and Hiligaynon or Ilonggo (20%). Most of the people of Bara are able to speak and understand English.
The villagestay is situated in between the village primary and secondary schools. The neighborhood is composed of majority of teachers with their families from the nearby schools. It is also 10-minute walk from the main walking road situated on a beautiful green rice field.
The owner, Janice, have always wanted to do something with the few square meters of the land that she purchased back in her college years. It is connected to her parents’ house where she grow up and so she saved a few months school allowance to own that piece of land.
The birth of Bara Villagestay originated from the last year’s visit to her village. Being away from my hometown to seek for a greener pasture overseas since year 2006, she and her siblings make it a point to visit their parents and re-unite with our relatives and old friends back home. The idea of building a traditional nipa hut on stilts which will serve as the first accommodation for guests visiting Bara was born.
The history of “BARA” name
During the World War II in 1942 under the Japanese occupation, a Japanese cargo ship took the wrong route causing the cargo ship to get stuck between Bara shore and Piña (another small island close to Bara). That gave the US airplane bombers the opportunity to hit the stuck ship. Several merchandise such as kitchen wares, electronic devices, fabrics, and the likes got lost with the sunken ship. The origin of the name “Bara” comes from the “stuck” ship of the Japanese soldiers that got sunk in the shallow waters. Bara means “stuck” in English.
The Village and the People
Electricity in the village is limited and a public generator runs only 5 hours a day and operates at night. There is no transportation in the village except for some bicycles and a few motorbikes. Walking is generally the means of transportation so be prepared for a wholesome fitness when visiting friends and families in the village.
The lack of comfort a modern world offers does not stop the people of Bara from being happy and warm people. Karaoke is available in most of the houses and everyone in the village loves to sing. People anticipate a yearly Bara fiesta where people wear their new clothes, prepare special foods at home for guests, and show off their cha-cha-cha skills at a place called “plaza” where everyone gathers once a year for 3 consecutive nights. The fiesta is full of local entertainment usually taking place from 15-18 of January every year.
The Baranians (natives of Bara) are mostly Catholics and the yearly fiesta is being celebrated in honor of Bara’s Saint Patron, Nuestra Señora delos Remedios who is believed to have shown miracles and have saved lives during a very strong typhoon in Bara.
Giving back to the community and developing awareness on eco-living
The lack of awareness on maintaining an earth-friendly community is one of the critical issues in the village. If nothing gets done soon, there is an immanent risk that beaches of Bara are slowly getting contaminated due to lack of sewage, toilet in every household, people throwing plastics and other wastes into the body of water. Majority of the families are depending on fishing as their source of income but due to the eventual destruction of the beach, less and less fishes and seafood are left in the sea.
Some of their aims are to serve as an example to people of Bara on how to be self-sustainable, start small-scale organic farming, to raise awareness on how to take care of our planet by showing the people the benefit of an eco-lifestyle, and to contribute to kids’ development of knowledge. Bara Village plans to “slowly” start the following with the help of the local officials and local schools.
- Creation of a mini-library stocked with used books. This will encourage young and old people alike to read and further their knowledge.
- Project “Clean your own beach” for those living in the coastal areas
- Project “Compost Pile” for every family who does not have proper garbage disposal
- Project “Recycling” and proper disposal of waste
- Enforcement of the “clean and green” motto of Bara
Activities in and surrounding Bara
- An option for wind and kite surfing during the monsoon season
- Mountain biking / Horseback riding to the nearby hills and mountains
- Boat trips to the amazing island nearby