Ants and Ambulong

I finishing the bamboo hut, I wanted to fill in some low places on the patio and someone left a nice pile of dirt near the hut so I took a shovel and began to try to move it. It had a bit of a crust on it but I broke through and was getting a nice sandy loam, unusual as the soil here is clay. Suddenly, about two inches in, I ran into a chamber of small ants with eggs and larvae. I decided then to go to the top of the pile and when I took a big shovelful from there I ran into a chamber of large ants with structures that looked like corals. I decided then that maybe the pile should not be disturbed lest I degrade their home and mine looks inviting.
The next day, however, I noticed that new earth had been brought up so was going to try again. Almost as soon as I struck the ant pile with the shovel, I was stung twice on the legs. The ants had posted sentries after they repaired the damage!

I will go with my friend Brother Jong to Ambulong Island, off the west coast of Mindoro, in less than two weeks. The ducklings will be eleven days old and my comrades at the farm will care for them. I visited Ambulong last year but did not write about it. It is a small island with white sand beaches, few tourists go there, preferring Boracay or Puerto Galera instead. Brother Jong's family has a place on the beach there. There is a coconut grove next to his place that is for sale for about ten thousand US dollars, several acres of beach front, but locals have harvested the coconuts for many years and use the property as a path. I think it would not be for a foreigner to fence it. In the past an American group built a water system on the island so that fresh drinking water came by pipe to the main settlements from a spring. Many of the locals had earned their living transporting that water by boat to the many settlements along the coastline. Those after locals broke up the pipes to preserve their livelihood. Another story was about an American that lived on the island that and had a Filipina wife. The fishermen were dynamiting the reefs for fish, killing everything and destroying the coral. The American turned them in to the national police and the fishermen ambushed him and his wife on the beach and killed them.

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