Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Congratulations Doc, May this be the start of fire you've lit for the conservation of our marine resources.

Hi Doc,
Great news that there are now two sanctuaries established! Our poster is being printed and I should receive it tomorrow for presentation on Saturday at the conference. I'll send you the full text and let you know how things go.
Best wishes

this is great news! congrats :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


All in the same breath, Shangrila Marine Sanctuary (SMS) was declared along with Dakit-Dakit Marine Sanctuary via a 1-2 legislative action at the Lapu-Lapu City Sangguniang Panlunsod (City Council) session last Wednesday, December 1, 2006.

The SMS stewardship group members are: Shangri-la's Mactan Island Resort and Spa (represented by Mr. Timothy Wright), Scotty's Sports Action Network and Dive Centre (Mr. Scott Livingston), and Amores Charities Inc. (Doc Amores).

After full buoy delineation of the area, the sanctuary will be closed to the public for approximately 6 months, allowing for some recovery from the unregulated day-to-day human-activities stresses.

SMS promises to be one busy attraction in Mactan, considering the popularity of Shangri-la among the international tropical-tourists and the activity of Scotty's Dive Centre.

[Further posts on SMS are forthcoming as the rehabilitation processes continue - Mactanman]

Saturday, December 02, 2006


The Dakit-Dakit Marine Sanctuary (DDMS) holds the distinction of being the very first on record to be declared under Lapu-Lapu City's Community-Based Marine Sanctuary Stewardship Program (CBMSSP). It and Shangrila Marine Sanctuary set the processes and protocols under which all the coming dozen or so sanctuaries will be established.

CBMSSP could be the first of its kind in the world. I am awaiting for responses from the poster presentation regarding the program at this year's Reef Conservation Convention in London this month. The poster, titled "Engagement of the Private Sector Under a New Legislative Framework for the Protection of the Coral Reefs of Mactan Island, Philippines", is co-authored by Draper, Amores, et al.

The DDMS stewardship group is composed of ScubaStar Dive Services (represented by Mr. Eslao Ompad), ScubaStar Underwater Photo Services (Mr. Dino Ompad), and Amores Charities, Inc (Doc Amores). Eslao and Dino are my long-time dive buddies here in Mactan Island. A few years back, I have both of them interested in underwater photography. After pooling our resources together, we now have the most extensive collection of underwater photographs in and around Mactan.

We found unique properties in the reefs of Dakit-Dakit Island right off Buyong Beach where ScubaStar Dive Services is located - after a few years of diving around and away from Mactan through many dive safaris! The place is replete with photography subjects through the full range of camera lens angle - macro, close-up, normal-angle and wide-angle. In addition, we have Mactan's first akelp (artificial kelp) "forest" which promises to be a unique macro photography site.

DDMS will be closed to the public for approximately 6 months, allowing for the habitat to recover from human-activities stress. (For more on the human-activities stress issue, follow the Dakit-Dakit posts).

Thursday, November 30, 2006


November 29, 2006 (112906) - At today's session, the two sanctuaries (marine protected area, MPA), Dakit-Dakit Marine Sanctuary and Shangrila Marine Sanctuary, passed the intense scrutiny of the Sangguniang Panlunsod (City Council) via a 1-2 legislative action. Action #1 is an ordinance creating the two sanctuaries and action #2 is a resolution authorizing the Hon. City Mayor Arturo O. Radaza to enter into an agreement with the sanctuary groups.

This is all possible following passage of City Ordinance No. 238-2005, the Community-Based Marine Sanctuary Stewardship Program (CBMSSP), in July/August of last year.

CBMSSP allows for Barangay (the village local government unit) and/or private interest groups to band together and apply for a stewardship agreement with the city to create and maintain MPA's within the municipal waters.

The Dakit-Dakit Marine Sanctuary and the Shangri-la Marine Sanctuary are the test projects for CBMSSP. Up to twelve (12) others are close behind, awaiting the "birth processes" of the two. We expect that within 12 months, most of Mactan and Olango coastlines and parts of the vast Caubian Reef of the Danajon Bank will be a series of interconnecting MPA's.


Passage of these ordinances-resolutions would not have been possible without the intense and passionate lobbying efforts of the following:

  • Mr. Ted Ybanez - Lapu-Lapu City Administrator
  • Atty. James Abadia - City Attorney's Office
  • Mr. Lando Duero - Secretary of the Hon. Mayor Arturo O. Radaza
  • Mr. Andy Berame - Operations Director of Lapu-Lapu City Coastal Law Enforcement Task Force (Task Force Neptune)
  • Mr. Pepe Berido - Chairman of CFARMC (City Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council)

We express our wholehearted gratitude to Hon. Councilor Ed Cuizon, the primary sponsor of these historical pieces of legislation, and to Hon. Councilor Cornelio Pajang, MD for expertly running these through the legislative processes.

[In the next posts: The Dakit-Dakit Marine Sanctuary and The Shangrila Marine Sanctuary]


Wednesday, September 27, 2006


This morning, I received an urgent message from the Green Team of Shangri-la's Mactan Island Hotel and Resort that an oil slick is sighted at the north opening of Gilutongan Channel.

I passed the message on to the higher ups of Task Force Neptune and Mr. Andy Berame, Operations Officer of the task force was dispatched post haste by City Administrator Teddy Ybanez. Andy's report: an oil slick more than 100 meters wide and a few 100 meters long sitting right on the Tingo side of Gilutongan Channel entrance.

This finding was forwarded to the Cebu Coast Guard Station. Later in the day, Philippine Coast Guard Auxilliary 202nd Squadron interceded.
Call this a test - I for one, wanted to see what the response capability of the community is to this type of emergency. Here it is:
  • When the report was forwarded to the Coast Guard Station around 10 AM, they were stomped because they are "not familiar with the place". Finally, word came through from the Coast Guard Auxilliary that CG is going to "monitor the situation". Asked if CG has oil spill containment capabilities, the answer: " No, but Petron and Shell have, but CG first have to verify the spill before calling the oil companies."
  • Soon as I came out of surgery at the clinic, I made a series of calls and eventually asked Scotty's Dive Center to send a speed boat out to check the slick since it was nearing ebb tide. Scotty's had a team out in no time.
  • Considering that the tide shifts to ebb at 1:10 PM and expected to flush down the channel, an emergency meeting was convened by Task Force Neptune around noon time.
  • The Mayor's office immediately released PHP30,000 earmarked for purchase of bamboo poles for use as surface booms if needed.
  • TF Neptune went to survey the area, and while waiting for the LLC sea ambulance at the Punta Engano pier, the three coast guard personnel chanced upon us 3 HOURS AFTER THE INITIAL CALL...with no boat of their own! (I wondered how they were going to check the spill if we were not there).

As it turned out, there was but a small trace of oil sheen a few hundered meters down current (probably the rain, waves and wind broke the slick up, or the northeasterly blew the slick out to Camotes Sea). If this was anywhere near the magnitude of Guimaras, the precious tourism coast of Mactan where lies Coral Point Resort, Cebu Hilton, Shangri-la, Vistamar, Portofino, Tambuli, Costabella, the island hopping and scuba diving businesses of Buyong Beach, Maribago Bluewaters, Plantation Bay, Pacific Cebu Resort, etc. - all would have been wiped out.

Lessons learned:

  • At its current state, don't count on the Coast Guard to handle MARPOL emergencies.
  • Alert Task Force Neptune immediately.
  • Alert the private sector immediately.
  • Consider closing Gilutongan Channel to shipping traffic - there's plenty of room and depth in Olango Channel on the other side of Olango Island. Presently, the community cannot handle a major oil spill inside Gilutongan Channel effectively.

The oil spill up close. 9/26/06 (Photos by Andy Berame, Task Force Neptune)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Thanks for the pictures.

It is refreshing to see how people responded to call for help in cleaning and reinvigorating the shoreline."Citizenship" is still in everyone's heart it just need to come out.

Now if these effortscould be duplicated to the rest of the province and the country;ecology/tourism/economy would predictably be the byproduct.

Kudos to you all!!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


City Administrator, Teddy Ybanez overall-supervising on the surface (top), on the water (middle), underwater (bottom)

Few of the fleet of government and private sector boats

Group pictures at the surface interval/lunch

Underwater bagmen