2017 Saving Philippine Reefs Expedition targets Siquijor

 
Participants of the 2017 Saving Philippine Reefs Expedition (SPR) take a pose to culminate the end of this year’s exercise.
Michiko Je Bito-on | December 02, 2016

The 9-day expedition to Siquijor was staffed by a much more diverse team than past expeditions. The team included five foreign volunteers, 10 CCEF staff, three Silliman University marine science graduate students, six volunteers from the Siquijor Provincial Monitoring Team (PROMOTE), as well as 11 military from the Philippine Armed Forces. The foreign volunteers were from the U.S. and Australia; of the six, four were seasoned SPR attendees and two were first-time attendees.

Siquijor Province
Siquijor Province is an island province in Region 7 (Central Visayas) and the smallest island province in the Philippines. Its sanctuaries vary in management arrangement and age, from newly established in 2016, to 30 years old. All are either managed by a local fishers’ association, barangay council, or marine management council, in cooperation with the corresponding municipal government.
The 9-day expedition to Siquijor was staffed by a much more diverse team than past expeditions. The team included five foreign volunteers, 10 CCEF staff, three Silliman University marine science graduate students, six volunteers from the Siquijor Provincial Monitoring Team (PROMOTE), as well as 11 military from the Philippine Armed Forces. The foreign volunteers were from the U.S. and Australia; of the six, four were seasoned SPR attendees and two were first-time attendees.

Agenda
The following Protected Areas (MPAs) were visited by the 2017 SPR team:
Tubod, Maite, Olang, Paliton, Bino-ongan, Cangmunag, Nonoc, Cangbagsa and Caticugan. Activities involved snorkeling and diving in order to lay down transects for assessment and to transplant coral fragments for rehabilitation. Five of the aforementioned MPAs were Best MPA awardees namely Paliton, Bino-ongan, Maite, Caticugan, and Tulapos.

Another Year of Success
Despite a high security alert being issued due to rebel sightings in nearby provinces and several challenges underwater, the SPR volunteers managed to accomplish their goals for the Expedition. On the last day of the 2017 SPR, certificates of appreciation were presented to our military escorts and provincial monitoring team volunteers (PROMOTE), as well as to SPR volunteers for their contribution to coral restoration efforts. The group shifted attention to the long-held tradition of voting for the top five photos during the 2017 expedition. The voting was mediated by SPR veteran Alistair Pennycook, and yielded energetic battles for five ‘Best of’ categories. The winners included Ae Sabonsolin, Mitch Baird, Mark Copley, AJ Lozada.