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What Does It Take to Build Resilient Communities? Ask Beetle

Video | 24 April 2018

Young Rubysol Blasé, known to friends and family as Beetle, tells the story of how in Barangay Katipunan, a small village on Siargao Island in the Philippines, the entire community comes together to decide on what they need to protect and improve the environment they live in.

Beetle’s family is also one of many in the village to receive regular cash grants from the government to help them make ends meet in return for sending their children to school and taking them for regular health checkups.

The Asian Development Bank and its development partners are investing in hundreds of villages like Beetle’s across Asia and the Pacific, reducing poverty, expanding social protection, and promoting community-driven development to make communities stronger and more resilient.


Siargao, Philippine - It takes a village to raise a child. But what does it take to raise a village?

My name is Beetle.

I can run faster than any boy.

I can climb any tree quicker.

I can dive deeper.

I am stronger.

This is where I grew up. In Barangay Katipunan.

A small village on Siargao Island in the Philippines.

This is my family.

My dad is a crab fisherman.

I help him every day.

We also work together in the coconut plantation.

We are not just neighbors.

We live in each other’s pockets.

My schoolteacher even lives next door.

“Beetle have you done your homework?” shouts Beetle’s teacher.

When I was growing up we had no bridges.

We were living on our own little islands.

But with help from ADB, the bridge between my house and my friends was built and another to the school.

Suddenly we were connected by more than blood.

We were connected by bridges!

But because we live on stilts there was another problem.

At school, we talked about climate change.

We learned the mangrove forest was at risk, which for me is heartbreaking.

I am in tune with nature.

The mangrove forest is like my older brother.

The roots are like a protective arm around my family.

It keeps us safe from the sea and preserves our environment so we can provide for ourselves.

Here in the Barangay the tides are harder to predict.

The typhoons are stronger now and dangerous.

The older ones say the environment is changing.

So ADB helped our Barangay by paying for a sea wall to protect our homes from the rising tides.

After they built the seawall they began another project.

Giving my parents financial assistance to help send me and my siblings to school.

So my parents bought a motorbike to get us to high school.

The money they gave us also ensures we look after our health allowing our whole community to regularly visit the health station.

Growing up, my teachers tell me I talk too much.

But I actually listen, and I understand this: if we nurture our community, protect it, improve it, and invest in our health and education, we can become more resilient.

We can flourish.

But what do I know?

I am just a kid. Right?