26 April 2009

Many thanks to Boy Bonoan and Ofie Rondina of the Palawan Provincial Government, our land transport to Northern Palawan was all organized.

Once in Roxas, a scenic two-hour coastal ride north from Puerto Princesa, our guide Albert Ladica met us at our Pension.  Albert is the Fisheries Technician of the Department of Agriculture. His job is to catch and apprehend illegal fishermen fishing within the municipal waters of Roxas. When WWF Philippines still had a project here, Albert assisted the WWF project managers and staff with their work.

Upon hearing what it was we wanted, he quickly organized the three full days we planned to spend there. The Roxas Mayor Dennis Sabando generously lent us the local government’s big outrigger boat – it was the “Bantay Dagat” or patrol boat.

Albert our efficient fisheries guide.

Albert our efficient fisheries guide.

Our non-stop activity started with Samong or trocus niloticus that is CITES protected. Albert brought out a sack of confiscated Samong from his office and helped art direct our shot. This shell is used for making buttons. It is endangered and illegal fishermen travel all the way to Tubbataha Reefs to chance getting caught by the rangers to steal these shells from the marine park.

Yogi sneaking up on the fish catch.

Yogi sneaking up on the fish catch.

Then we photographed “Baling” or a local purse seine activity catching “dilis”, the Tagalog term for silversides or anchovies. The fishermen couldn’t believe we were not there to apprehend them seeing the mayor’s boat approaching. The Bantay Dagat jokingly told them they’d be caught next month!

No chance to get away.

No chance to get away.

Then we went to a four-manned Hulbot-Hulbot a smaller type of purse seine that catches all sorts of fish. Yogi with his dive tank, split fins massive camera definitely caused a spectacle.

There’s no such thing as Nintendo for this boy.

There’s no such thing as Nintendo for this boy.

A boy played with a bottle full of juvenile damselfish caught from his shirt/net.