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Date Posted: 11/04/09

Reaching Bantayan Island and School of the Seas Experience (October 22, 2009)

By: Arturo Valdez

On our way to Bantayan Island, we made a breakfast stop-over in Molocaboc Island, still a barangay of Sagay City. The fishermen directly took the catch coming from an artificial reef and cooked right in front of us. This is a project of the local government to teach the local fishermen on how to build and catch fish using artificial coral reef and a very practical and simple way of providing livelihood to fishing villages.

It was a leisurely trip to Bantayan Island. By 1PM we can already clearly see the outline of the port. This also gave enough time for the locals to meet us upon seeing the colorful Balangay sail approaching the town of Santa Fe. By 2pm we docked at a special area assigned by the local Phil. Port Authority easily accessible to the public.

On October 23, the seas start to get choppy forcing us to move the Balangay to a more settled area in front of the School of the Seas operated by 2009 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Antonio Oposa. Our host showed us the marine sanctuary they established 5years ago and the new growth of corals that gradually regenerated the area after the whole place was practically devastated by dynamite fishing. At night, we focused powerful lights into the sanctuary and fishes jump into the air attracted by the sudden flash of brightness-proof of teeming presence of marine life in the sanctuary. The Law of Nature Foundation of Tony Oposa hopes to have this replicated in 100 other marine sanctuaries in the Visayan Coral Triangle.

I suggested to Leo and Carina to keep our schedules leisurely to enable us to recharge and recuperate from almost 7 weeks of hectic schedules. For the first time, I luxuriously indulged myself in swimming and snorkeling and occupied myself in counting as many mother pearl shells or “taklobo” in the sanctuary under the relaxed atmosphere of the School of the Seas.  To this, I have to thank Tony Oposa.

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