Trouble in Paradise

HERE’S A STORY I wrote for the Philippine News Agency (PNA) about Coron, a beautiful island municipality in northern Palawan. It’s about a planned undersea park being proposed by Coral World Park (CWP), which claims to be ā€œthe largest Marine Reserve and Coral Reef Conservation program in Asia. ”

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Beautiful Kayangan Lake in Coron Island, Coron, northern Palawan.

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This photo of the small inlet that leads to Kayangan Lake was taken from a promontory where I stood for a while to take in the charming view.

The reason why it’s controversial is in the story.

Tagbanua tribes in Coron spurn Nickolodeon undersea park

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 27 — The Tagbanua indigenous peoples (IP) community in Coron and nearby islands gave the thumbs down Thursday morning to the propositioned 400-hectare Nickolodeon undersea park due to fears of irreversible negative environmental and cultural impacts.

Amil Abella, representative of the Tagbanua Tribes of Coron Island Association (TTCIA), said in a Greenpeace Philippines-hosted press conference here that the project will only displace them from their ancestral domains, and will spoil their traditional fishing grounds.

ā€œIf there are investments that will build structures that will cause destruction to our ancestral domains, our agreement is we will not accept them,ā€ Abella said, adding they live independently and are reliant on Calamianesā€™ beauty and blessings.

The Calamianes is an area in the northern part of Palawan that includes Busuanga, Coron, and Culion island towns, and the islands of Calauit, Malcapuya, Banana, Pass and Calumbuyan, and several minor islets.

ā€œThe legendary heroes of Coron will unite and defend the last ecological frontier of the country, where we live with freedom and abundance,ā€ he added.

Continue reading the story here: http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1003332

It’s really difficult to marry development with environment conservation, especially if it would have irreversible impacts on the lives of the indigenous peoples and their ancestral domains.

I am for development. The SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT kind. The one “that meets human developmentĀ goals while at the same timeĀ sustainingĀ the ability of natural systems to provide theĀ natural resourcesĀ andĀ ecosystem servicesĀ upon which theĀ economyĀ andĀ societyĀ depend.”

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You’ve never been to Coron if you haven’t been to Kayangan Lake.

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Sustainable development should not be compromised.

 

 

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Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle

Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle is said to beĀ some sort of mystical mountain in Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan. It was so named because of that “obelisk-like”Ā outcrop on its peak that always gets lucky to be kissed by the clouds.

My good friend Jonah Van Beijnen, who has been working for the protection of Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle, was excited to see it from so many thousand feet for the first time with me, Dempto (Philippine Daily InquirerĀ correspondent), JD (radio reporter), and another guy (a photographer too), when we flew over northern Palawan last Holy Thursday.

Members of theĀ Suakwal Mountaineers, who have scaled Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle saidĀ its “environment is extensively covered with forests and full of wildlife. At the summit, if the skies are clear, one will be offered a view of Honda Bay and Sulu Sea (East) as well as South China Sea (West); and of course, a panorama of the city proper (SE).”

I want that. Soon!

Earth Hour Celebration in Puerto Princesa

Imagine my disappointment after turning on the television, it’s one of those depressing Filipino films…Ā andĀ the high temperature is killing me.

March 29 was unforgettable. These photos were taken from my city’s commemoration of the Earth Hour at the People’s Amphitheater in Mendoza Park. At exactly 8:30 p.m., power in my city was turned off because ofĀ the celebration, and these fire dancers took over the darkness beautifully.

From nearly a hundred long exposure shots, I succeeded with only over 20 good ones. The rest of the photos, sigh… waste of effort. But I’m happy with what I have.

Sharing the shots! Good night šŸ™‚