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Treasures from the ocean

Treasures Camiguin, home of the island’s fine sea glass treasures

In the movie “Frozen 2”, Olaf the snowman has taught viewers that water has memory. If it really does, then if we do good to our seas, it will generously share with us its treasures.

Camiguin has always been known for its volcanoes, waterfalls, springs, lanzones and coral garden in a sunken cemetery. During my recent visit, I found out that nature has added another exquisite creation in the land born by fire.

“The sea glass is actually garbage, such as beverage bottles, window pane, perfume containers, old glass bouys – discarded by humans that were washed ashore,” said Treasures Camiguin staff Daniel Agnes, Jr who mans the old house turned store, mini museum and art gallery.

Women of Komunidad sa Baibai work together in crafting sea glass products

He said that the pieces of broken glass were weathered, smoothened and eventually frosted naturally by time and elements.

“They come in different colors, sizes and age. Some take 10 to 20, even 50 years or more to take shape and acquire its texture,” he said.

From sea trash to unique artwork

The store is owned by social entrepreneur Rene “Cocoy” M. Bajuyo, who was, unfortunately, out of town at the time of my visit. He is the president of Komunidad sa Baibai, a non-government organization that helps Camiguinons develop sustainability and entrepreneurship.

“The organization encourages locals, mostly women and children, to gather sea glass from the beaches, then teaches them how to craft them into jewelry, fashion accessories, home decors and even art pieces. It has since become a source of livelihood in our communities,” Agnes said.

Daniel Agnes, Jr of Treasures Camiguin

Once transformed from trash to treasure, the sea glass are then given value based on their color, shape, size and its material of origin.

“While amber, brown, green, grey and white are the most common, olive green, pink, cobalt blue, citron, teal and turquoise are considered rare and semi-rare, thus, given higher value,” he explained.

Sea glass pendants and home decors

The finished products then find home at Treasures Camiguin where they are sold – now embellished with wire, silver or charms – as anklets, pendants, earrings, rings, among other reinvented forms of the sea glass.

Another set of sea glass pieces that caught my attention in the store were the bracelets, which strings were taken from ghost nets. Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been left or lost in the ocean by fishermen that often entangle and eventually kill fishes, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, dugongs, seabirds and other creatures.

Discarded pieces of broken glass gathered from seashores

“Komunidad sa Baibai is not just all about livelihood. They also encourage responsible fishing and environmental awareness and collaboratep with divers in helping gather and upcycling the nets,” added Agnes.

I guess, the good that Camiguinons has done to its seas has rewarded them to enjoy not just its marine products and captivating seascapes and coral gardens but also its treasure of precious sea glass.

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