Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes

by - July 06, 2020

Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes

This is the story of Anselm, a Welshman living in the Philippines, and how he persevered amid harsh living conditions and business woes during the quarantine.

In Kyle 'Kulas' Jennermann's Facebook post (@becomingfilipino), he shared the inspiring story of Anselm, a 28-year-old Welshman living in Davao City, Philippines, and how he persevered amid harsh living conditions during the quarantine and how he continued to have hope for his local fishpond business despite recent huge losses.



'A broken-down house in a small Filipino Barangay, the coronavirus lockdown, and a local fishpond business'

Kulas writes that Anselm recently opened a local fishpond business in one of the most remote barangays in Cateel, Davao Oriental.

As a foreign national living in the city, Anselm had to start from scratch: he had no background in the fishpond industry nor had any local connections, save for his Filipino wife.

Anselm taught himself how to drive a little boat, spent months preparing his fishpond near a river, and immersed himself among the locals in Barangay Baybay.

Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes
Anselm's fishpond in Baybay, Cateel, Davao Oriental, proudly showing the flags of Wales and the Philippines 

As Kulas reports, the area had no foreign national living among them right until Anselm decided to build his business there.

When asked how his immersion with the locals went, Anselm answered:

"Well, there were good people, people who did bad things, people who helped me...and people who took advantage of me."

After launching his fishpond business last October 2019, some of the locals he hired and worked with were dishonest. This led to his first harvest becoming a huge failure. 

However, despite that, Anselm continued to believe in his business and, quite surprisingly, in the goodness of the hearts of the locals.

Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes
The site of Anselm's fishpond by the river


Coronavirus quarantine and three and a half months of harsh living conditions

Early this year in February, Anselm yet again persevered in his business.

"He was determined to be successful, and provide locals with work," Kulas writes in his post.

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country around that same time and community quarantines and border controls were enforced, Anselm was forced to live on-site to continue working on his fishpond.

Prior to that, Anselm commuted back and forth from Davao City to Cateel, so that he could be with his family. Knowing that the hut by the river was far from comfortable to live in, he had no choice but to leave his family behind during the quarantine—for three and a half months!

Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes
Anselm's living quarters—and the only provision for a toilet. To get water, he had to use the hand pump outside.

Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes
Anslem lived alone here with no light

He calls it his little 'bodega' (warehouse) house, and humbly lived here without any light (but he has a small freezer) and makes do with what he has.

Kulas further shares:

"If he stayed in Davao City, it meant he couldn't leave...his pond couldn't be looked after and would certainly go out of business. 

"And he was too ashamed to even think of having his wife stay with him in such a difficult living condition. It is unbelievable, really."

Watch Kulas' video of Anselm's day-to-day life in his bodega house and fishpond:



In the video, we learn that Anselm just finished building the new hut near the fishpond, which is way better and cleaner than his run-down bodega house.

In a follow-up video, Anselm and Kulas spent the night sleeping in hammocks in the former's new fishpond house, as well as enjoying some local grilled food.



Staying at the heart of the barangay and believing in the locals

But here's the amazing thing: despite the harsh living conditions and his previous bad experience with the locals, Anselm loves it there!

He even made an effort to learn and speak the locals' dialect, Bisaya. When asked why Anselm insists on speaking Bisaya to his staff and not English, Anselm says:

"Well, it would be tough for them if I just spoke English, so it is only right that being here, I take the hit, and try doing everything in Bisaya."

Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes
Anselm's huge milkfish (bangus) haul on his second attempt for his fishpond business

Anselm also believed that if he 'stuck out' with the community, he would eventually find honest and trustworthy people he could work with—and that he certainly did!

However, with the quarantines still ongoing, his second attempt at rebuilding his business failed yet again: fish prices plummeted and there were myriads of trucking and logistic issues.

Watch Kulas and Anselm's bangus harvest video here:


"Grabe. Three and a half months of leaving your wife and living in a little shack in a small community...all the hardships and work...only to lose a lot of money again," Kulas laments.

A surreal yet inspiring story of hard work and perseverance

Anselm's story is far from reaching its happy ending, but it's one that is full of hope—a story that we can expect to still be a happy one because of Anselm's sheer determination to look on the bright side in spite of everything.

Welshman Perseveres Amid Harsh Philippine Quarantine Living Conditions, Business Woes
Mad respect to Anselm for his humility, determination, and hard work!

Kulas shares:

"It is a surreal story. And one would think that after two losses and everything he went through...it would be 'game over.' 

"But nope, Anselm is going to give it one more go. The guy believes enough in the local community, and feels now that he has the right people working with him.

"He won't quit."

Kulas further prompts readers to show Anselm a 'little love' if they happen to see him around the area.

Images courtesy of Becoming Filipino/Facebook

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