Our Community: Wilfredo Alamilla Sr., "A charismatic and caring compadre on the caye"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 28            July 25, 2002

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Wil Alamilla Sr.

Over the years, the people of San Pedro have seen tremendous changes. One thing that has played a constant role in this evolution, though, has been the importance of the sea. At one time, the inhabitants of this small island depended on the coconut industry as their main source of income. In order to sell their products the sea served as the only transportation route to Belize City and other parts of the country. As this industry declined, the fishing industry flourished, followed by the current-day tourism industry. Without a doubt, the main factor in all these industries is the sea. This week The San Pedro Sun is pleased to feature a man who has made a living from the "gifts" he receives from the sea  Mr. Wilfredo Alamilla.

    On July 1st, 1944 Oralia and Octavio Alamilla (deceased) celebrated the birth of their first-born son Wilfredo Alamilla. Raised with a younger brother Miguel, Wilfredo attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School and enjoyed spending long hours swimming in the crystal waters surrounding the island. Wilfredo was known for his great pitching abilities during the many baseball games held on the island, and was recognized as a skilled accordion player. Wilfredo also had a passion for fishing and at the age of fourteen began to fish to help support his family. He started out scale fishing (a type of net fishing) and using fish traps, and graduated to lobster fishing one year later. Using canoes and sailboats he gathered fish, corned it (a form of curing), and sold it in Belize City and other parts of the country. In time, Wilfredo traded his canoe and sailboat for a skiff equipped with an outboard motor, increasing the amount of fish he could catch in a day's time. Forty-three years have passed since "Don Wil", as he is known, first started fishing, and today he continues to earn a living as a fisherman, and as a tour guide.

    Thirty-three years ago, Wilfredo married Wilema Ancona and started a family, who now consist of Eddie (32), Wil (31) and Wilema (28). "Don Wil" and Mrs. Wilema passed on their traditions and instilled strong family values in all their children, plus they taught their sons the art of fishing.

    Wilfredo Alamilla has also been instrumental in the growth of San Pedro. As one of the first three members to join the Belize Lions Club, Mr. Wil Alamilla was a founding father of Lionism in San Pedro. During his term as president of the Club, he started the Lions Clinic and was influential during the construction and completion of this project. "Don Wil" has supported the Lions Club since the beginning, and in his own way, continues to do so today.

    Always committed to the welfare of his community, Mr. Alamilla served as president of the Caribeña Fishing Cooperative when he was twenty-seven years old and currently holds the same position. He also served as local manager for the San Pedro Roman Catholic School for five consecutive years. A devout Christian, "Don Wil" became a Lay Minister of the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church twenty years ago. Through his ministry in the church he has performed many duties for this congregation, including marriage counseling and assisting in the Celebration of the Holy Mass. Because of his actions and interest in the betterment of San Pedro, Mr. Alamilla was rightfully appointed a Commissioner of the Supreme Court.   

    Today, Mr. Wilfredo Alamilla is a recognized tour guide and fisherman whose honest love for the sea has earned him a comfortable, yet humble, life. His commitment to his hometown and to the Christian population comes naturally to this devoted individual. A true example of a hardworking, caring and committed person, Mr. Wilfredo Alamilla is a true "catch" and real live portrait of what it means to be a respectable member of "Our Community."

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