Friday, April 29, 2016

Day of dolphins underwater in the Sulu Sea - 04-29-2016

Another amazing dolphin encounter. I can't believe my luck. Enjoy!
There are tour operators who can take you out. They start at 6:30 AM from Baywalk. We have our own boat so we can go out whenever we want and we only live minutes away from where they are.


I am not affiliated in the least with the people below. I just copied it from my Facebook wall. Give it a shot, it's so worth it to see dolphins in their own environment.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

10 things every tourist in El Nido should know

Pristing beaches by responsible tourists
Marimegmeg beach, Corong-corong, El Nido

Or how to be a responsible tourist to keep a sustainable Tourism industry for years to come! This is great information posted on Facebook by Art Café, El Nido. I thought it's good information to share.

1. El nido has 45 islands with over a hundred white sand beaches, many lagoons, limestone cliffs, caves and long stretches of fantastic beaches on the mainland.

2. There is beautiful marine life with a rich bio-diversity.

3. The reefs are very fragile and it requires no touch, no step on and no throwing of anchors. Underwater photography need to be extra careful, not to damage.

4. Some areas are difficult to get in and the conditions can be challenging. Sometimes rough seas can make it more difficult. Make sure you are able to cope with these challenges.

5. No one should leave trash behind and everyone should pick up washed up garbage. Don't leave lunch leftovers on the beach such as rice, meat bones, fish, and crabs.

6. The town is underdeveloped with no water system. Water is not safe. Stick to purified water available in containers and in restaurants.

7. There are no sidewalks and streets are narrow. Everything is in walking distance, so do not use Motorbikes or transports within the town when not really necessary.

8. There are no parking areas for motorbikes or other vehicles.

9. There is no commercial bank (yet) and the only 2 ATM's are often out of money.

10. Help avoiding excess Garbage, by refilling water bottles, avoiding take out food in styro/plastic boxes, don't use straw, bring a bag with you always and say no to plastic bags.

Thanks for helping to withstand the challenges El Nido is facing and keeping the paradise pristine.




The beach shack on Marimegmeg beach, Corong-corong, Palawan

Monday, January 25, 2016

Quezon mini underground River

I just recently saw a post on my Facebook wall about a new cave called the Mini Underground River, in Quezon province.

From what I could tell from the various blogs and articles about it, the trip is approximately 2 1\2 hours away from Puerto Princesa city. It really is like a mini Palawan underground river in Sabang. It's in the Tabon Caves complex National Park and apparently you have to take a banca ride to get to either. Head to Quezon National Museum. You have to pay P20.00 to enter the museum, then another P20.00 for the Tabon Caves. It's P 800.00 for the round trip boat ride to the caves cove.

Beautiful mineral formations, though a smaller scale abound. During rainy season, it cannot be reached as the waters are too deep, and running too fast to safely traverse.

The stalactites are within reach, and tourists have done selfies touching them. If they want to make this famous and a livelihood for the locals, someone needs to step in from Tourism to help them with guidelines, and rules for the cave to protect it from human damage, either intentional or unintentional. To preserve this cave and its eco system as it is, please keep your hands off the mineral formations though!

A permit can be purchased and guides hired at in Quezon town at the Quezon National Musem . Here is an extensive travel blog about the other caves in the area as well.  http://www.ambot-ah.com/tabon-cave-lipuun-quezon-palawan/
"The artifacts recovered belong to different periods ranging from 50,000 years ago to the 14th century A.D. The most celebrated archaeological find is the Tabon Man, one of the oldest known human skeletal remains in the Philippines dating back to 16,500 years (14,000 B.C.). The oldest human fossil so far recovered from the Tabon Cave, however, is a tibia (bone of the lower leg) that dates back to 47,000 years (45,000 B.C.).'

"There are approximately 215 caves in the reservation, 38 of which have been established to be of archaeological and anthropological significance. To date, only seven caves are accessible and open to the public. Between 1962 and 1966, an archaeological exploration was conducted by a team from the National Museum headed by anthropologist Dr. Robert Fox in the caves of Lipuun Point and its immediate vicinity. It brought to light an astonishing concentration of archaeological cave sites containing substantial cultural materials with an extensive time range unsurpassed in the Philippines, and possibly equaled only in a few sites in Southeast Asia (e.g. Sarawak and southern Thailand)." Excerpt from blog.

Here is another blog abut the Tabon cave complex.
http://www.visitpalawan.info/index.php/features/tabon-caves

Here is a TV report about the mini caves. It is in Tagalog.

Mini underground river, Quezon, Palawan


"The picture with the title Mini Underground river, Quezon, Palawan was taken by the photographer Che 22 on 13 April 2012 and published over Panoramio. Mini Underground river, Quezon, Palawan is next to Tabon and is located in Province of Palawan, Mimaropa, Philippines" From this weblink

Add caption

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Save Turtle Bay Marine Sanctuary

Click photo to enlarge.
Turtle bay is a one of a kind marine sanctuary. It is a mangrove nursery for fish and other sea life. It is home to the already vulnerable Asian Small clawed otter. Down one of the fresh water rivers running into the bay, is an old growth mangrove forest. It is a real gem of nature. The corals in the cove are just now recovering from past cyanide fishing. There will not even be enough food for the imported captive dolphins they propose to house in the bay. The bay is shallow and brackish and full of silt from the mangroves.

Now a large company, Seven Seas properties did not give full disclosure on the extent and scope of the development. They conned our city Government and local barangay officials into signing the permits for them to build a monstrosity which will totally disrupt, if not destroy this sanctuary.

The company has already started an Ocean park in Boracay on Puka beach, which has come under the scrutiny of environmental groups. There is nothing in their proposed design plan, accommodations, activities etc is environmentally sane or safe for the marine sanctuary, called Turtle Bay and Binunsalian Bay.  I believe the city of Puerto Princesa, and PCSD (Palawan Council for Sustainable Development) were mislead to the scope of the development. Nor made aware damage to the existing flora and fauna, the buildings touted on their website would do.

I believe, that since this bay is an important part of the native ecosystem of Palawan in general, a broader and larger participation by those living in Palawan and or wishing to visit its pristine nature, should be informed and encouraged. I believe the permits were given prematurely for the scope of the project and impact on the environment.

The corals in Turtle bay are in recovery mode from past cyanide fishing and perhaps, improper casting of anchors by fishermen seeking safe harbor from storms there. Yet it hosts a wide variety of sea life. Dugongs once fed on the sea grasses at the mouth of the cove, but are no more. Otters live along it's mangrove habitat and frolic in the moonlight, chattering away.



Pristine Binusalian akaTurtle Bay. Lined with mangroves that give life to fish, crabs and other sea life. Can you imagine Villas over this. Many of the mangroves will have to be cleared to give access to them. I know it sounds delightful...but no, leave it alone, Come visit it in a kayak and enjoy the peace and quiet.
This is one of the ATTRACTIONS ON SEVEN SEA WEBSITES; "Aviary Section

Meet formidable coastal raptors called Brahminy Kites and feed them by hand as they glide near you. Take a leisurely stroll in the Lorie Canopy Walk and let friendly lories rest on your shoulders while feeding."  Under the ACCOMMODATIONS they say, "Aviary Hotel
A bird paradise themed accommodation featuring a bird enclosure where you get the chance to see and feed brahminy kites in the comfort of your room's balcony." http://sevenseasproperties.com/properties/puerto-princesa/
Would you rather see the pristine mangroves or this hotel with captive wild birds to feed from your balcony? Although tempting, they don't need to be captured to for real bird watchers to see. They already ARE wild..DO NOT NET THEM IN.
This is Turtle bay as it is today. Pristine and peaceful.
This is the depiction of a room on Turtle/Kamia Bay as they propose. This bay is not deep enough without dredging!
This is the vision of Turtle Bay from their website for Turtle Bay. Which would you want to see?
 They offer an Oceanarium - "Witness the best of marine life with an awesome display of manta rays, whale sharks, dugongs and sun fishes." (There are no more dugongs in Turtle Bay. I am in that bay many times a week in our native banca and there are no dugongs there. Where will they get the dugongs? Sun fishes? Are you kidding me? The brackish water in the bay will kill them and it's certainly not deep enough, nor food naturally food occurring for it. WHALE SHARKS? Now they are dreaming and living in a fairy tale.Talk about hell on earth for any of the aforementioned sea creatures forced to live in that bay.)
Peaceful and important marine sanctuary, where fish go to lay eggs and otters frolic.
The resident Asian small clawed otters of Turtle/Kamia, Binunsalian Bay.
This baby otter was already a victim of human encroachment into Turtle bay. Dogs killed it's siblings. This little guy was only a day or two old, and although he gave it his best shot, he died after 5 days. Asian small clawed otters mate for life! The parents remain Alpha and each subsequent liter of pups raises each other until. They can form family groups up to 10 or 12 members. They do not leave the parents until one of the parents dies, up to 10 years, or is killed.

A one or two day old Asian small clawed otter of Turtle bay.
Poor one or two day old Asian small clawed otter pup.
The photo below shows this Ocean Park in Boracay and how much damage they have done to the last green and pristine areas. Only now the residents are finding out AFTER they have already done great damage to the mangroves and pristine areas.  Environment groups are now questioning this move. Are we to trust them not to destroy Turtle/Kamia Bay as well?
The author of this post on Facebook said about this; "The beginning of the end of our beloved Puka Beach. This aerial photo was taken by Mar Schönenberger last may 13, 2015. Its the on going construction of Ocean Park 426 rooms Resort at the entrance of Puka beach in Yapak. . Do Boracay really need another resort at the expense of last remaining untouched Puka Beach? We have been sleeping while they sneaked in. Wake up LGU of Malay. No more Greed more Green (not the color of money). To all Puka Beach lovers, pls Share this post!"
This is obviously a developer who thinks he can do what he wants for profit. Although the words on their website sound good, they seem to not have one care for the environment or nature.

This is a photo of Puka beach in Boracay, BEFORE the Ocean park development. Too late, it is being scrutinized by environmental groups.

The photo below shows Kamia Bay Resort, the original developer as it stands today. How can all the buildings Seven Seas is touting on their website without destroying the whole little peninsula Kamia Resort is on. The roads are narrow and so steep, they made people park at the entrance, and had their own vans take people to the restaurant shown below. At the bottom of the hill, there is only parking for two or three vans, with a tight space to turn around.

Where will they put the shopping malls, world class marina, croc viewing area, dolphin cages, large 400 room hotel with balconies that face and are open to a huge area with captive native raptors?

Why put up a FAKE ocean park when nature in Turtle bay is already a NATURAL MARVEL. I say leave the bay alone.
The sad part is that Kamia Bay Resort as it stands was just lovely and not invasive to the environment. I feel it was not properly marketed or managed.
http://www.mypuertoprincesa.net/2013/03/kamia-bay-resort-luzviminda.html

The little peninsula that Kamia Resort is on, is quite small. The roads, steep and and narrow. Try to Imagine a shopping mall, world class marina, captive dolphins viewed from guest rooms. A 400 Room hotel with caged in aviary. It all just simply won't fit without completely redoing nature as it is.

Let's just say, PCSD did not give permits for CAPTIVE imported dolphins, whale sharks, sun fish and dugongs. THEN WHY does Seven Seas property have photos of such on their website? Isn't that FALSE ADVERTISING in the least?

The Life in Turtle Bay


Otters of Turtle bay
The mangroves around Turtle/Kamia bay are habitat for Asian small clawed otters which are already vulnerable from human encroachment.
 Click the link to read about the rescued otters from this bay: http://otters-of-palawan.blogspot.com
Turtle bay/Kamia bay marine sanctuary, is rife with life.
A stylish fiddler crab on the opposite shore of proposed development, in the mangroves.

This is one of the great trees in the mangroves on the Kamia Bay resort property.

This was a very big blue jelly fish in the mangrove area.
Another pretty jellyfish in the mangroves.
Mangroves dotting all the shores of Turtle bay serve as nurseries for fish and other sea life.
A huge monitor lizard in the old growth mangrove forest in Turtle bay.

This is a photo from Seven Seas Properties for the Kamia bay Ocean Park.

Oceanarium -  according to Seven Seas, "Witness the best of marine life with an awesome display of manta rays, whale sharks, dugongs and sun fishes." (There are no more dugongs in Turtle Bay. I am in that bay many times a week in our native banca and there are no dugongs there. Where will they get the dugongs? Sun fishes? Are you kidding me? The brackish water in the bay will kill them and it's certainly not deep enough, nor food naturally food occurring for it.

This is the view of Turtle/Kamia bay from the south highway.
Turtle bay is a small shallow marine sanctuary under threat.
Kiss this lovely view goodbye. Just imagine all their buildings replacing the green mangroves and habitat. Imagine yachts and motor boats on a "WORLD CLASS MARINA" instead of this. A "PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN". What? Who cares...go away.
At the mouth of Turtle bay.
HERE IS A FULL LIST OF ACCOMMODATIONS THEY WANT TO BUILD IN THE tiny, shallow cove of Turtle bay.
http://sevenseasproperties.com/properties/puerto-princesa/
Aviary Hotel
A bird paradise themed accommodation featuring a bird enclosure where you get the chance to see and feed brahminy kites in the comfort of your room's balcony. (Why do that when beautiful birds already live in the mangroves?)

Copper throated sun bird by Rommel Cruz



Oceanarium Villas
Surrounded with azure crystal waters, these deluxe accommodations make a truly vibrant island feel to your vacation.

Shark Villas
A two level elegant room with lagoon views on the upper floor and a breathtaking underwater view on the lower floor

Hillside Villas
Have a scenic view on top with hillside detached villas fronting the bay.

Mangrove Hotel
Bask in exceptional views of the sea and mangrove forests in this opulent set of rooms

Mangrove of Turtle/Kamia bay
Click to enlarge
Mangrove Villas
Elegant rooms on stilts provide a perfect holiday charm to your stay.





PROPOSED ATTRACTIONS

Croc viewing in Turtle bay? Please, no!
Croc Cage"Immerse in an exhilarating crocodile diving experience with some the largest saltwater reptiles in the world. An acrylic, cylindrical shaped cage will let you have an up close session with crocodiles in a 360 degree clear view. See these prehistoric creatures like no other."http://sevenseasproperties.com/properties/puerto-princesa/

No Thanks! We already have the Crocodile farm in Irawan. No need to destroy a marine sanctuary which should be left as a natural park for tourists to enjoy, as is.

Oceanarium
"Witness the best of marine life with an awesome display of manta rays, whale sharks, dugongs and sun fishes."
View captive wild dolphins from your guest room.
View captive imported dolphins? From your guest room?
http://sevenseasproperties.com/properties/puerto-princesa/

Mangrove Exhibit
Forest mangroves are one of the most productive and complex ecosystems in the world. Known to have originated from Southeast Asia, these biological marvels are home to a diverse array of flora and fauna.
Aviary Section
Meet formidable coastal raptors called Brahminy Kites and feed them by hand as they glide near you. Take a leisurely stroll in the Lorie Canopy Walk and let friendly lories rest on your shoulders while feeding.
Croc Cage
Immerse in an exhilarating crocodile diving experience with some the largest saltwater reptiles in the world. An acrylic, cylindrical shaped cage will let you have an up close session with crocodiles in a 360 degree clear view. See these prehistoric creatures like no other.

Dolphin Cove
"Swim with these lovable marine mammals in the open sea. Take a photo and have a memorable time together." ( Yes there are dolphins OUTSIDE of Turtle/Kamia bay. It's a seasonal thing, but they ARE NOT held captive!)


Stingray Cove
Go beyond the waves and as you touch and take a dip with friendly stingrays in an engaging and cool attraction.


WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR TURTLE BAY

1.  Write to Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and ask to see the permits given to Seven Seas. They are public documents. Ask them to reconsider the scope of the project and keep Turtle bay protected from large motorized yachts and boats.
  • Here is there official website http://pcsd.gov.ph/
  • Write on to PCSD there is a contact form on their website. Tell them what a bad idea is and to learn Turtle bay as a natural marine sanctuary and park.

2.  Write on the contact page of Seven Seas Property and tell them you don't want this type of development in Turtle/Kamia bay.  http://sevenseasproperties.com/properties/puerto-princesa/


3.  SHARE THE LINK  TO MY BLOG on your social media pages.

4. Share this with any media, or environmental organization and ask them to help stop this.


I cannot say whether is infographic is true, but it is indeed alarming for such a developer to be remotely associated with a habit of capturing dolphins for his developments. It was posted by Sea Shephard Singapore