Dying Paradises of the Philippines

The Philippine waters are usually full of beautiful fish and colorful, live corals. Taking a look back it can change your views on a lot of things. You could have discovered a variety of different colors, shapes, and sizes. There were such a great amount of schools (of fish) you could see as you swam around and had your sunset walks. Everything might have looked great on the outside with shimmering light blue water which seemed so perfect you couldn’t believe your eyes. But, the real story is within. You can’t always see what’s happening on the outside so we have to really dive in and find out. And, while there are many other beautiful utopias (^_~), we will be concentrating on the Philippines waters.

Philippines waters: Some are protected… Some aren’t

Because of the Philippines bountiful amount of marine life, 100 scientists have claimed it (the Philippines) to be the world’s “center of marine biodiversity”. That is a pretty great achievement. So that means 100 different people (that are scientist!!) have all agreed on the fact that the Philippines is full on boasting with underwater sea creature…… cool! And, if you go scuba diving, in some areas, you would feel like you were just transported into a new world. We need to learn to take care of this.

Intro to the Coral Triangle: Underwater heaven 

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Did you know that the Philippines is part of the Coral Triangle? This (the coral triangle) is a marine area stretching far across six countries which are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor – Leste and Solomon Islands. Others say that it’s nearly the size half of America.coral_triangle_map_final_081211_0Anyways, the Coral triangle is mostly famous for its astonishing amount of corals ranging from 500 to 600 different species of reef – building corals.But, that is not all! This (slightly broken) triangle supports, nurtures, and maintains more than 2000 species of reef fish!! It was on 2007 that the WWF started its Coral Triangle Program. The WWF has taken up the challenge to protect the Coral Triangle and develop sustainable solutions to help the inhabitants of the region. With the help of the USAID, the Conservation Internation, The Nature Conservancy, and the WWF are all working together on policy, fisheries management, marine protected areas and climate change adaption.

Donsol bay: Sneak peak of the biggest fish in the world

Also, the biggest fish swims within the 2000 species of reef fish.This fish is called the whale shark! If you haven’t heard of one or seen one you could watch (the awesome film) Finding Dory. 17-hang-out-with-the-gentle-giants-of-donsol-bay-whale-shark-divingAnd, yes, this type of fish is called a whale shark. If you want to see and swim with these big fishes, you could go on an adventure to Donsol bay which is also connected with the Coral Triangle. This is one of the many Paradises of the Philippines where you could go to enjoy the bar, hotel, restaurant and more! And, don’t worry….. Whale Sharks, the biggest fish in the world, eats the tiniest living organism in the ocean…. you are safe (most likely) just follow the rules and regulations of not touching them, riding them and chasing them (there is still more). Also, these creatures are very gentle and curious (so they will most likely try to approach you) but you should avoid making any physical contact with the oils on your skin may harm the Whale Shark. And, the good thing about this bay is that it is a marine protected area and that is why you could only snorkel with the Sharks (fish, remember they are fish). Although there is another place called Oslob (in Cebu) where you could find these fish but I advise not to go because it is a huge tourist attraction which has destroyed most of the forms of environmental awareness.

Also, if you are planning to visit, the beach is alluring.

Tubbataha Reef

The Tubbataha Reef is one of the 240 protected areas in the Philippines. It is located at the center of the Sulu Sea. This reef was once a very peaceful, filled with color and life area but it is currently suffering from overfishing, exploitation, and destruction. When other fishing grounds started declining of its fishes, sailors went to Tubbuataha in hopes of more fish in their motorized boats. Some of the problems that evolved over time (very quickly), was that the sailors started using (very, very bad) techniques for fishing like utilizing cyanide (extremely toxic salts that contain anion CN) and dynamite fishing (the practice of using explosives to kill schools of fish). Also, because the boats they (the sailors who started filling up the Tubbataha Reef) used were motorized which polluted the reef with a lot of oil.

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Dynamite fishing === Bad…. just bad

This was too much. Explosions?!? This is illegal.

The decision was made with the help of some scuba divers and environmentalists who campaigned to turn the Tubbataha Reef into a national marine park. On August 11, 1988, with the aid of the President, Corazon Aquino, the Proclamation no. 306 was signed, which helped the establishment of 2 (not 1 but 2) Tubbatha reefs into a national marine park of 82,000 acres. Because of this (big) step, Philippines had just done a first time for declaring a marine area into a national park. This national marine park was then being properly taken care of by rangers sent by the Presidential Task Force.

Throughout their (the rangers) early years of protecting the park, they had a few problems. One of their struggles were that in 1996, sliding and shifting sand caused the unstableness of the rangers wooden structure tents. They overcame their problems (yay!) and the marine park rangers are now settled in a styrofoam-reinforced concrete structure. Their location is found on the Southeast Islet on the Tubbataha’s North Atoll. And, they have got their cool equipment with them such as patrol boats, utility boats, radars, radio communications, geo-positioning system (GPS) units, and basic research equipment. 24 hours/7 days a week is the times that the natural park is being guarded by (armed) rangers.

There are plans made by the World Wildlife Fund (or WWF) to make a modernized ranger station that was announced during the 25th anniversary of the Tubbataha’s Reef’s national park declaration in 2013. And, as the WWF says, legendary heroes need great hideouts – Batman had his Batcave, Darth Vader had two Death Stars and Voltes V had Camp Big Falcon.WWF, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park boasts of unparalleled biodiversity levels. Over 360 hard coral and 600 fish species inhabit the park, which continuously seeds the Sulu Sea with life!!! And, this reef is also a UNESCO World Heritage.This means that this park was listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a special cultural or physical significance.

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Future “bat cave” envisioned by the WWF

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just wanted to say thank you to the rangers that are helping guard the Tubataha Reef against exploitation. Thank you for caring about our environment here in the Philippines. Because of the rangers that make it their job to watch on a daily basis, the Tubataha Reef is properly being taken care of. Also, thank you to the strong campaign composed of scuba divers and environmentalist (people who really cared and spent time in the ocean) who made it possible for this reef to be protected and noticed, more!

Trivia: Did you know that on the back of the 1000 pesos bill you could spot the Tubbataha? Now you know!

 

Going there: “Are we there (the national water park) yet?” 

If you are planning to visit this heaven, you will have to take a plane ride to Puerto Princesa. Then from there, it will take about 10 hours to get to the park from Puerto Princesa. That’s a pretty long time but I am absolutely sure that it will be worth the time that was taken. Maybe you could bring some board games or books on your 10-hour trip. Also, the best times to go there would be around mid-March until mid-June…. the waters are calmer at those times. You could also check this, http://www.gopalawan.travel/travel-info/tubbataha-reefs-natural-park, website for more info to book.

Coron: Almost got destroyed by Nickelodeon

“Excitement is something that could blind people from seeing the true about how it could destroy life.” ~ L.O.A.S.H

This was a direct quote from me ^_~. When I wrote “Excitements” I was referring to the one that Nickelodeon was planning to set up. Just recently, Nickelodeon made the plan and announced that they were going to make an underwater theme park in Coron. For me, this sounded so fun I mean I love theme parks but what it also sounded like was that this park was going to be the very thing that would destroy Coron.

In case you haven’t heard of Coron I will be giving you guys a “short” introduction about it. In Palawan, Coron is a first class municipality (a city or town that has corporate status and local government). It’s beach and waters are usually quite and calm. The view is spectacular and the water seems to be crystal clear. After 742 steps of hard – earned sweat, you could watch the sunset in a beautiful angle.

Anyways, proceeding about the theme park. There was a report on January 13-14 where Nickelodeon retracted from building the park because…

 

That was all just a glimpse of what is happening here in the Philippines. There so many people and netizens who are trying to bring a change and help. The Philippines has helped countless people in providing them food and livelihood. But, recently due to the overheating and climate change, more and more fish are dying and more and more people are having a difficult time. Before, if you were to be catching fish you would just take a few hours and barely exert any hard work and your boat would be overflowing with fish. But now, the workload would be longer, harder and less fish would be brought home. This affects all of us. For example, in the market, since it’s become more difficult to catch seafood, the prices will be raised.  We all have a chance to change this. We are all in this together. If you want to help and make a change you can. When you go swimming or have a casual afternoon stroll, you could help by picking up trash. You could teach your local neighborhood more about this. You don’t need millions to help. You. Can. Make. A. Big. Change.

We all have a chance to change this. We are all in this together. If you want to help and make a change you can. When you go swimming or have a casual afternoon stroll, you could help by picking up trash. You could teach your local neighborhood more about this. You don’t need millions to help. You. Can. Make. A. Big. Change.

Yours truly,

L.O.A.S.H

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