Nanay Merin and Rachelle

Nanay Merin prepares betel nut while her great granddaughter Rachelle tinkers with handmade soda tabs toy. The two had a brief conversation in Dumagat and then Rachelle ran off to play.

Nanay Merin was reunited to her family in Bulacan after spending years in another Dumagat community in Quezon. Her old age and sore legs hindered her mobility in the mountains. Rachelle’s mother decided to bring Nanay Merin in their shelter in Bulacan to take care of her. Nanay Merin recalled how health care is such a struggle in the mountains where Dumagat communities live. Living off from the land had become more challenging due to the intensifying effects of environmental degradation, climate change and settlement changes. Despite all the hardships she has exprienced, Nanay Merin still expressed her joy of growing old while seeing her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren live.

In celebration of Women’s Month, I am sharing Nanay Merin’s story as an indigenous woman in a changing climate and society.