Save Philippine Seas

IMMEDIATE HIRING: Social Media and Communications Officer

Save Philippine Seas (SPS) will be holding a series of youth-oriented marine conservation conferences in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao called the SEA (Sea and Earth Advocates) Camp. It aims to empower present and future generations of Filipinos to conserve, protect, and restore our rich but threatened seas. The SEA Camp will cater to 90 outstanding Filipino leaders ages 18-23.

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We are looking for a full-time, home-based Social Media and Communications Manager for the project, to be engaged from September 29, 2014 to August 31, 2015. S/he will work with SPS co-founder and SEA Camp Project Director Anna Oposa.

The Social Media and Communications Manager’s main task is to create and implement the communications plan of SPS for the SEA Camp.

Qualifications:

  • Must have at least 2-3 years of work experience in communications
  • Background in advocacy communications is preferred
  • Must be adept with social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr)
  • Must be adept with Facebook ads
  • Must have experience organizing press conferences and/or media events
  • Must be available to travel around the Philippines in November 2014 and April-June 2015
  • Must be fluent in English and Filipino, knowledge of Bisaya a bonus

Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • Manage SPS’s social media channels (Twitter, website, Facebook)
  • Create the SEA Camp communications plan, subject to review by Project Director, and lead in its implementation
  • Coordinate with media outlets and NGO partners to promote SEA Camps
  • Be present in all SEA Camps to write daily and overall documentation
  • Work closely with graphic designer, videographers, and photographers for collection of materials
  • Travel to SEA Camp sites with Operations Manager to do media rounds (i.e., meet with representatives of key media outlets)
  • Invite and confirm attendance of media prior to the SEA Camps
  • Coordinate with media during SEA Camps
  • Write pre- and post-event press releases for each SEA Camp
  • Lead the writing of post-event reports

Remuneration: PhP35,000/month for 11 months

In addition to professional fees, SPS will shoulder all expenses incurred related to the job, such as materials and travel expenses.

All interested applicants must email their cover letter, resume, and samples of written work (communication plan, blog entries, press releases, and the like) to Anna Oposa at anna[at]savephilippineseas[dot]org by September 22, 2014.

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Photos by Bench Talosig for SPS

Commendation for Cebu’s Bantay Dagat Team

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan

And other Concerned Officials

Province of Cebu and

Governors of the Visayan Sea

Re: Commendation for Cebu’s Bantay Dagat Team

Dear Sirs and Madames:

The Philippine Seas is known the world over as the “center of the center” of marine life on Earth. The Visayan Sea, surrounded by the littoral provinces of Northern Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Southern Masbate, lies at its geographic heart. However, after decades of illegal fishing and human abuse of its wealth, extensive underwater survey results show that it is on the brink of ecosystem collapse.

Together with ordinary fishermen and a handful of concerned law enforcement officials, we have been working to protect it from human abuse. Our success has been spotty at best, mostly because of the lackadaisical attitudes of some local and national government officials.

Lately, we have seen serious political will being exhibited by our leaders, among them the provincial governments of Iloilo and Cebu.

We are particularly impressed by the performance of the Cebu Provincial Bantay Dagat team headed by Mr. Loy Madrigal.  Mr. Madrigal has shown the seriousness of purpose, determined persistence, street-smart resourcefulness, and a sense of urgency that we have not seen in a long time.

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Mr. Madrigal and seized helmet shells, August 2014.

Photo from Cebu Daily News.

He and his team have scored major successes in their apprehensions, ranging from the arrest and impounding of commercial fishing boats engaged in illegal fishing in municipal waters to the arrest of culprits of blast fishing syndicates—even the apprehension of trade in sharks’ fin and other endangered products such as coral and shells.

What makes these accomplishments even more impressive is that they have been achieved with very little resources in terms of manpower, floating assets, and financial and legal support. Of particular note is Mr. Madrigal’s can-do spirit and the sense of urgency that he exhibits in the conduct of his work.

Recently, we visited the good Governor of Cebu to invite his attention to the commercial illegal fishing being done in the municipal waters of Sta. Fe in Bantayan Island, Cebu, which seems unable and/or unwilling to address the problem. In a matter of three days, with very few personnel, Mr. Madrigal and his team conducted seaborne operations in the municipal waters of Sta. Fe. This resulted in the arrest of three commercial fishing boats and in the filing of the appropriate cases against its officials and crew. 

As we congratulate and commend him and his team, we respectfully call on the concerned government officials of the Province of Cebu and Cebuanos from all walks of life to extend to him and his team the fullest protection and support.

We also take this opportunity to thank Governor Hilario Davide III for his leadership in and support for Cebu’s anti-illegal fishing campaign. We hope that other local government units will follow Cebu’s lead in marine protection.

On behalf of a grateful Filipino people, of the Visayan Sea Squadron, and of Save Philippine Seas, we thank Mr. Loy Madrigal most sincerely. He is a shining exemplar of a dedicated public servant who does his work without fear or favor, and without any thought of reward or credit for himself.

Sincerely yours,

 Antonio A. Oposa Jr.                                   Anna R. Oposa

Team Leader                                                 Co-Founder

Visayan Sea Squadron                                  Save Philippine Seas

Call for donations to rebuild Malapascua’s Elementary School: The PhP500k Challenge

UPDATED ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2014

We still need PhP383,829 to complete the rebuilding of Logon Elementary School in Malapascua Island (Barangay Logon).

MALAPASCUA AND SUPER TYPHOON YOLANDA

Malapascua is an island north of Cebu. It is known for its world-class dive sites and the regular presence of thresher sharks (Alopias pelagicus). Thresher sharks regularly visit Monad Shoal, a seamount 8.16 km due east from Malapascua, because of their significant relationship with resident Cleaner and Moon wrasses. The cleaning activity is known only to Malapascua Island, making this community valuable to Philippine tourism and the economy.

Malapascua was badly damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda. While it was fortunate enough not to have any casualties, an estimated 90% of the island was devastated, affecting approximately 7,000 people and 1,200 families. 

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Pre-Yolanda (Top) and Post-Yolanda (Bottom)

LOGON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Logon Elementary School is one of three schools on the island and is the largest one, catering to over 900 students and 22 teachers. There are approximately 50-60 students per classroom. Category 5 Typhoon Yolanda damaged 13 out of the 16 classrooms, including the principal’s office, library, and computer room.

SPS’s partner, Globe Telecom, donated two large tents for temporary classrooms. Donations coursed through Thresher Shark Divers enabled the rebuilding of kindergarten classrooms and the repair of a few more classrooms, while donations from an individual enabled the repair of two more classrooms.

SPS AND THE PROPOSED SCHOOL

SPS has been working with the school on various environmental initiatives since 2012, such as the Arts-Science Festival and waste management programs. SPS and the Global Shapers Manila Hub have raised enough funds to build a structure with three classrooms and two floors. For the design and structural plan, SPS partnered with Architect Sarah P. Canlas to build a well ventilated and well lit structure to decrease dependency on fossil fuel and create an environment that is conducive to learning—a contrast to the dark, crowded classrooms that the school has.

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STATUS 

As of September 2014, SPS and the Global Shapers have collectively raised P1,900,000. The foundation and structures of the first and second floors are already in place.

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May 2014

The project is approximately 60% finished. We still need to raise PhP380,000+ for materials, transport costs, and labor to complete the project.

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August 2014

The budget shortage is due to donors who will no longer be able to donate. One donor decided to use funds for much-needed sanitation facilities on the island, while another donor’s business unfortunately burned down.

All previous donors who have provided email addresses receive regular updates via e-mail, with photos and access to scanned copies of receipts and payrolls.

NEXT STEPS

We’re begging calling for more donations.

We need to raise P383,000+ in a month. We have no disposable funding to organize an event, so we’re just appealing to your hearts through this blog entry.

DONATION INSTRUCTIONS

There are two possible ways to donate:

Via PayPal

Account number: savephseas[at]gmail[dot]com

Via bank deposit

Account Name: Philippine Seatizens Inc.

Account Number: 1430146735

Bank Name: Banco de Oro

Bank Branch: SM Pasig Branch 

G/F SM Supercenter Pasig, Frontera Verde, C5, Brgy. Ugong, Pasig City

SWIFT Code: BNORPHMM

Please send us a copy of the deposit slip so we can account for all donations and we can put you on the donors’ list!

Thank you!

NOW HIRING: Project Manager for Pawikan Watchers

Pawikan Watchers is a training program based in La Union where local and international volunteers will be trained on the biology and ecology of sea turtles and government-approved guidelines for handling sea turtles in various situations. It also aims to instil a sense of responsibility and stewardship among locals by actively participating in the conservation and protection of our marine resources.

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Pawikan Watchers was one of the 2013 winners of the British Council’s I Am A Changemaker competition. It is a collaboration between Route +63 and SPS. Project partners include CURMA and Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines.

SPS is looking a Project Manager to implement Pawikan Watchers with guidance from SPS co-founders.

Period of engagement: September 15-February 15, 2014 (5 months)

Type of engagement:

Home-based from September-October 2014 and February 2015

La Union-based November 2014-January 2015

Two-week break from December 22, 2014-January 4, 2015

The Project Manager must:

  • Be available to meet with consultants in Manila and conduct ocular inspections in La Union in September/October
  • Manage logistics
  • Lead in the selection of the Pawikan Watchers
  • Manage the volunteers on-site
  • Coordinate with local stakeholders, government agencies, SPS, and Route +63
  • Write monthly accomplishment reports
  • Oversee disbursements of funds
  • Coordinate with resource speakers for invitation and confirmation

Qualifications:

  • Passionate about education, marine conservation, and the Philippines
  • Prior knowledge on sea turtle biology and conservation issues is a plus
  • Possesses organization and presentation skills
  • Must have background on research
  • Detail-oriented and resourceful
  • Highly motivated and personable
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Experience in community organizing is a must
  • Speaking/understanding Ilocano is an added advantage

Remuneration: P81,000 for the entire duration of the project

In addition to professional fees, SPS will cover all expenses incurred for transportation, accommodations, food, and meetings.

Interested applicants may submit their resume and cover letter to savephseas[at]gmail[dot]com. Selected applicants may be interviewed over Skype.

Deadline for applications is on September 5, 2015.

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 Photos from Route +63.

Why visit Malampaya Sound?

By Carlo Roberto Felix 

1. You will be seeing the Irrawaddy dolphin, an endangered species. It is an animal that you might miss altogether if you don’t go see it now.

2. Responsible tourism in Malampaya Sound can benefit the dolphins significantly by encouraging fishermen to work harder at preventing dolphin deaths, because their income from tourism can match or even surpass their income from fishing.

3. The fishermen will benefit directly, too. Imagine, if they had tourists everyday during dolphin watching season, they will earn a day’s worth of fishing in only a few hours every morning.

4. Even if the dolphins don’t show up, you will be seeing a lot more than water. The trip starts early enough that there is still mist everywhere. If you combine the sun, the mist, the trees and the land masses around you, you can get pretty awesome results with your camera. At night, the mangroves are full of fireflies (or so I’ve heard).

5. The whole activity is like an educational ecosystem tour. Visitors will be seeing a whole stretch of mangroves on the way to and from the Inner Sound. Birds can be seen feeding on the riverbanks and on the mangrove canopy. You will be seeing first-hand all the activities that happen in a fishing ground.

Read more about Carlo’s visit to Malampaya Sound to see the Irrawaddy dolphins here.

Watch the video of his trip here.

The Irrawaddy Dolphins of Malampaya Sound

Text and photos by Carlo Roberto Felix

The municipality of Taytay was the first capital of Palawan during the Spanish era. It has great potential for tourism, but is still largely untapped. Many people visit Taytay en route to El Nido as a stopover from Puerto Princesa. They stay for a few hours, a night or two at most, only visiting one or two places in the area.

When my family and I were in Taytay, we stayed for two nights because I had been wanting to visit Taytay for one reason - the Irrawaddy dolphins of Malampaya Sound.

Where It Happens

Any accommodation or resort in Taytay can point you in the right direction if you ask about dolphin watching in Malampaya Sound. They require at least a day’s notice. Dolphin watching is only done in the morning. On the night before the trip, they advise guests if the dolphin watching will push through, depending on weather conditions. On the day itself, they pick up guests at 5am via a tricycle to go to the takeoff point for dolphin watching, Barangay Poblacion.

What You Will See

Guests are accompanied by only one guide/spotter, who is also the boatman. The boats, also owned by the fishermen, are small, only able to seat two people comfortably aside from the boatman. The ride starts from the river, which lined by mangroves. It is also possible to spot birds. 

Malampaya Sound is well known as a fishing ground, although its richness has seemingly dwindled over the years. As such, there are fish traps everywhere, for fishes and crustaceans, and bigger fishing boats can be seen farther out.

When the boatman spots dolphins, he directs the boat towards them and tries to get as near as possible without driving them away. As the boat gets closer to the dolphins, he turns the engine off, so as not to scare them. Once they swim off, he looks for them again.

The dolphin watching trip lasts for 2-3 hours, and the boat is usually back to the takeoff point by around 10am.

Where the Money Goes

The dolphin watching fee is P1,800 per boat, and up to 2 people can share a boat. The payment is collected by the accommodation’s representative (who may also be one of the tricycle drivers) after the trip. The boatman gets around P1,000 from that payment, while the remainder (~P800) goes to the resort for arranging the trip.

The boatmen are all fishermen, who take turns accompanying guests as an alternate source of income. On days when they go fishing, they can take home anywhere from a few hundred pesos to close to a thousand per day, depending on how good the day’s catch is.

On days when they go dolphin watching, each boatman usually spends around P180 to P200 for fuel per trip, which means that they can earn up to P820 for only a few hours of dolphin watching, compared to a whole day (or night) of fishing. 

Difference with Other Dolphin Watching Sites

The Irrawaddy dolphins eat the same animals that the fishermen catch. They are often spotted near the fish traps. The waters of Malampaya’s Inner Sound are relatively shallow—in some places only several meters deep. The water is turbid because the sand is mixed with mud and sediments coming from the river and the mangroves. It can be hard to spot a dolphin even if it’s swimming right under or beside your boat, unless it breaks the surface. 

Irrawaddy dolphins are not as “active” or “acrobatic” as other dolphins; they don’t swim as fast, jump as high, and bow-ride, unlike Spinners or Bottlenoses, for example. (They do spit, however.)

Visitors cannot expect the same level of dolphin activity, excitement, or the same kind of experience that they can expect to find in Bohol, for instance, because Malampaya Sound has a different kind of dolphin and a different environment. Irrawaddy dolphins are critically endangered in the Philippines, so there are only a few dolphins to see. They also tend to form smaller pods, usually no more than 10 dolphins in a pod.

Recent estimates put Irrawaddy dolphin numbers in Malampaya Sound at around 50 individuals. They have a high mortality rate caused by entanglement in fishing gear, pollution, and habitat degradation.

As with other wildlife watching activities, sightings can never be guaranteed. It is very important for weather conditions to be right when you go looking for dolphins, but it’s even more crucial when you’re in the Sound, because of the way the dolphins live and behave. If you really want to have a lot of sightings, it will be better to allot at least two days. 

It’s also more costly to go dolphin watching in Malampaya than in other provinces, with the rate being at least P900 per head. This is because the boats are smaller, and the number of tourists has not yet reached a point where the rates can be sustainably lowered. The fishermen are also not yet formally trained to be tour guides; they don’t deliver spiels and share bits of trivia. They simply drive the boat and spot dolphins.

My Dream

I would like to see Irrawaddy dolphins again, as often as I possibly can, in my lifetime. This will only happen if Malampaya Sound is preserved, and if the dolphins stop becoming by-catch. Malampaya Sound is a very beautiful place, with great ecological and economic importance. Seeing it is definitely worth the price of an expensive boat ride, whether the dolphins appear or not. And if dolphins show up, then that’s a very big bonus! 

About Us

An independent movement organized by individuals from different fields of expertise, united by the passion to stop the abuse & destruction of our precious marine resources thru legal discourse & social media.

Contact Us

savephseas@gmail.com

http://savephseas.tumblr.com