Maayong gabi-i from the Philippines!

I’ve been absent for the past couple weeks mostly due to a little lack of inspiration but here I am again. Another month has come and gone, namely March, and fortunately for me it was filled with diving and more adventures.

With March came the summer and that means not only excessive amounts of sweating and heat but also calmer seas and more diving. As of march, my office and Visayas State University started doing assessments at our artificial reefs. This meant going out on weekdays (or weekends) and getting to dive. The artificial reefs are cylindrical structures made of concrete that are strategically placed to aggregate fish. Some are placed in marine protected areas and some outside marine protected areas. The artificial reefs outside the marine protected areas are beneficial to fisherfolk as they have a place where they will most certainly find fish. Although the ones inside the marine protected areas are off limits, the fisherfolk benefit from the “spill over effect” in that when the fish in the marine protected area get to be too many they will inevitably have to seek refuge elsewhere outside the marine protected area.

An artificial reef structure in one of our towns

Anyways, that was a little technical, but needless to say I was pretty happy about the summer coming in as I had missed diving a great deal. Although I was not directly needed for the assessments, as the university staff are trained and I don’t know my species very well, I tagged along to get as much footage as possible so I can use that to show the members of the community in an Information, Education and Communication campaign that will motivate them to take ownership and to protect their resources. Starting assessments also motivated me to start learning species and I am on a schedule now were I learn a few fish a week in addition to some other creatures

Mid March my friends and I headed south again to Padre Burgos. My friends were doing their advanced open water certification most of the weekend while I lounged on the beach, went swimming and read. On Sunday I joined them on their dive to Napantau reef (this is the amazing reef I have raved about before) where I did two dives and saw once again an amazingly beautiful reef in addition to the bonus of a couple of white tip reef sharks sleeping under a ledge.

The end of March was marked by yet another trip this time to a tiny island south of us call Limasawa (which I learned later translates into “five husbands” (lima=five, asawa=husband)). Limasawa is where the first mass was held in the Philippines and coincidentally we were actually there on the 497th anniversary of the first mass. Because of this event, there was  trail run event set up consisting of 15km of beautiful views and scenery. Although it’s called a trail run, my friends and I walked all of it and we later realized it was definitely more than 15km (more like 20km). We were exhausted at the end and delirious and were even escorted by one of the police men to the finish line but nevertheless it was all worth it. The night before the trail run, when we arrived to the island, we realized the hostel we were staying at was booked up so we roughed it up and slept in a kubo on the first night (the second night we were more civilized and slept in a cottage). The rest of our time consisted of snorkeling in Limasawa and then on Sunday we snorkeled at my friend’s site outside her marine protected area (which is ranked as the third best in the country!) The weekend was rounded off by some pizza and a long van ride back home.

Those are some of the highlights of my month! I hope you enjoyed and thanks again for reading,