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The April 4 fire that left 3,000 families homeless along Quezon Boulevard included 200 families belonging to the indigenous people called Badjaos.

The families lived in stilted houses along the shoreline of Purok 4B in Barangay 23-C Isla Verde, a predominantly Muslim settlement. All their homes perished in the fire that gutted Isla Verde and two other barangays.

The Badjaos were a seafaring group originally from Sulu, and were known as sea gypsies for travelling as far as Borneo and Indonesia. Because of commercial fishing and conflict, some gave up the sea like the families in Davao and lived now by begging and peddling goods in the city streets.

Local officials relocated the Badjao community inside Magsaysay Park. The families built their shelters from donated tents and collecting scraps of woods.

Local officials said all settlers will return to their barangays after rehabilitation would be done in the area. But for now, the Badjao families would be on the streets again, finding ways to survive.

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