|Chocolate hills of Batuan, Carmen, and Sagbayan Bohol. When there isn't enough rain, the grass on these limestone hills turn brown. Hence, the name Chocolate hills. These hills range from 40 to 120 meters high.|
- 1 Bohol guv scores marine resource protection, conservation
- 2 Bikers ride the waves for ‘Ocean Month’ celebration in Bohol
- 3 Beyond Chocolate Hills: 5 reasons to visit Bohol
- 4 Guidelines For Panglao Airport Readied; Tagbilaran Terminal Is Now Congested
- 5 Underwater in Bohol
- 6 P128 M Eyed For Bohol Projects
- 7 Feature: Shark slaughter photo in Balicasag earns criticism
Bohol guv scores marine resource protection, conservation
- Source: http://pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?menu=2&webregion=R07&article=1101336385356
- By: Rey Anthony H. Chiu
- Friday, May 11, 2012
(Key to sustainable eco-tourism)
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol- Bohol governor Edgar Chatto underscored the province’s resolve to protect and conserve its prime marine resources as key to sustainable eco-tourism program of Bohol by launching the “Coastal Restoration of Amazing Balicasag (CRAB) and Task Force Dolphin” programs.
In his speech during the opening of the Month of the Ocean in Bohol on May 2, Chatto called on Boholanos to get “passionately involved” in the daunting task of protecting, developing and giving focus on Bohol’s marine environment.
“Sustaining Bohol treasures in dolphins and the premier dive-sites in Balicasag Island assures communities of better seas and thus, better lives,” the governor said.
Chatto cited the huge premiums from the eco-tourism activity in the Pamilacan and Balicasag islands dolphin watching tours, Bohol also treasures other source of important revenues in Balicasag island dives.
“Both however are at the risk of being lost due to unsustainable practices as well as highly commercialized operations that threaten to kill them,” Chatto reminded the public.
The governor said that the participation of agencies and sectors from the Provincial Government, national government, Armed Forces, Navy, the DA, BFAR, and non government organizations including the municipalities represented by the Coastal Law Enforcement Councils (CLECs) is already a good sign.
Bikers ride the waves for ‘Ocean Month’ celebration in Bohol
- Source: http://pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?menu=2&webregion=R07&article=1101336384775
- By: Rey Anthony H. Chiu
- Wednesday, May 09, 2012
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol- Over 200 bikers composed of cops, civilians and organized bike racing groups covered more than 60 kilometers of coastal highways in towns near Tagbilaran City, to drum up community awareness on marine conservation during the opening launch for the Month of the Ocean in May.
Coming from three jumped off points, the bikers simultaneously took off at around 3:00 PM from Loon, Lila and Panglao town halls after a brief program and send-off activities at the Tagbilaran City Port.
The Bohol Coastal Resource Management Task Force (BCRMTF) also organized mobile public address systems that loop-broadcast information education communication (IEC) awareness messages to complement the massive show of pedal power during that day day. PNP Community Relations branch in Camp Dagohoy led by PO3 Ronnie Conarco said that the ‘Bike for the Ocean’ dubbed as “Pulis, Katawhan, Sikad alang sa Kadagatan” was initiated to advocate for the proper management of Bohol’s coastal and marine resources.
“Especially that Bohol largely profit from its marine eco-tourism activities,” Conarco added. Conarco said that it is the police that enforce coastal resources laws. He added that most of the violators they apprehended were unaware they have been using destructive fishing gears and methods and or they were already encroaching in municipal waters or in protected areas.
Bohol Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer Nestor Canda added that these people should be informed that while the sea sustains them, abusing the resource means killing the very source of food they have. The bike for the Ocean activity also started with a dialog among mayors and coastal law enforcement experts with police officers to thresh out issues in implementing coastal and marine laws.
Aside from the opening launch, May also brings province-wide Coastal Clean ups, mangrove planting, marine protected areas congress, Coastal law Enforcement Council meetings, MOA signing for cooperation among local governments, bike for the ocean, as well a dolphin festival on May 31 as the capping celebration for the Ocean Month.
Beyond Chocolate Hills: 5 reasons to visit Bohol
- Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/05/07/12/beyond-chocolate-hills-5-reasons-visit-bohol
- By: Karen Flores
- Monday, May 07, 2012
The island province of Bohol has long been known for the Chocolate Hills, a breathtaking sight of 1,268 hills which are colored brown during the summer.
There is also the Philippine tarsier, one of the country's smallest and oldest primates, as well as the white sand beaches of Panglao island.
The average traveler only knows this much against Bohol, which attracted over half a million tourists last year. But the its governor, Eduardo Chatto, argues that they have much more to offer -- thus the launch of Bohol's official tagline, "Heart of the Islands, Truly Philippines."
"We want to highlight the other aspects of Bohol such as its culture and heritage. We're more than just the Chocolate Hills, the beaches and the tarsier," Chatto said in an interview during the launch of the new campaign on Monday.
"Heart of the Islands, Truly Philippines" supports the country's tourism slogan, "It's more fun in the Philippines," which was launched in January.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., who also graced the launch of Bohol's official tagline, said the province has always been "one of the Philippines' most prized tourist destinations."
'It's all in Bohol'
Amor Maclang of public relations firm GeiserMaclang, which helped develop the campaign, noted that Bohol "has the most complete portfolio of what it means to be in the Philippines."
The only thing left to do, she said, is to get the word out about the island-province.
"We started working on the campaign last year," Maclang said. "We want to bring Bohol in the same radar as Boracay during the summer. Every time of the year, there should be a reason to go to Bohol."
"The objective is not just to bring in foreign tourists, but also local tourists," she added.
Bohol, located in Central Visayas, literally sits at the heart of the Philippine archipelago. Maclang gave five reasons why tourists need to visit the island province:
1. Strong sense of spirituality. Bohol has a mix of Catholic and animistic cultures, with the island-province popular for its manghihilot (traditional healers) and tawas (aluminum potassium sulfate, a substance commonly used as a deodorant or as alternative medicine). Maclang said it is a great place to learn more about Filipino culture. "Bohol is like Peru, if not better," she said.
2. Unique architecture. Bohol is home to centuries-old stone churches, ancestral houses and other historical sites. Among them are the Immaculate Conception Parish Church in Baclayon, the Assumption of Our Lady Shrine in Dauis, and the Clarin Ancestral House in Loay.
3. Arts and crafts. Bohol also lets its visitors experience its culture through the arts, from creations of National Artist Napoleon Abueva to the performances of the world-renowned Loboc Children's Choir, a group of young Boholanos. Centuries-old crafts such as pots, brooms and jewelry are also sold all over the province.
4. Boholano cuisine. Bohol is also known for its rich seafood selection, as well as delicacies such as polvoron (a pastry made from compressed toasted flour), and aromatic ube (purple yam). Every July, the province celebrates a festival where locals and tourists can eat food from at least ten houses for free, Maclang shared.
5. Sense of vibrancy. Aside from the beaches and wildlife, Bohol also offers different attractions to thrill-seekers such as the Danao Adventure Park. The place offers a range of activities such as rappelling, spelunking, kayaking, trekking, river tubing, root climbing, wall climbing, and zip lines. Visitors can also explore caves in Anda, paddle through the Abatan river, or have an all-purpose terrain vehicle tour in Carmen and Baclayon. The Balicasag island, meanwhile, is said to be one of the world's top diving spots.
Maclang hopes that Bohol will be the preferred eco-cultural tourist destination in the country over the next 12 months -- and in Southeast Asia in three to four years -- with the help of their newest campaign.
"We want tourists to visit Bohol even if they only had seven days to visit the Philippines," she said.
Chatto, meanwhile, said they are expecting tourist numbers to rise after the construction of the Panglao airport, which was recently approved by President Benigno Aquino III.
"The DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communication) has already sent consultants," he said, adding that P7 billion has been allotted for the project. "By then, a million tourists would be easy to reach."
Chatto also noted that there is a growing number of visitors from nearby provinces.
"They usually go on day trips, that's why they are not recorded in the DOT (Department of Tourism) figures, which get data from resorts and hotels," he explained.
Guidelines For Panglao Airport Readied; Tagbilaran Terminal Is Now Congested
- Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/358840/guidelines-for-panglao-airport-readied-tagbilaran-terminal-is-now-congested
- By: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
- Saturday, May 05, 2012
While the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has yet to complete in 2 to 3 weeks the guidelines and modality for the new airport project in Panglao, Bohol, the province, has to turn down requests from new and existing airlines to add more flights and intra-regional flights as the existing Tagbilaran airport terminal is already heavily congested.
Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto reported at the forum on Tomorrow’s Tourism: Harnessing the Growth Potentials of Tourism Sector at SMX as part of the Philippine programs for the 45th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that DOTC Undersecretary Josie Limcaoco has updated him on the progress of the project.
According to Chatto, the DOTC expects to complete in two to three weeks this process. There have been recommendations to use ODA (offi¬cial development assistance) funds or undertake the project under the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) scheme or a combination of both.
There are also proposals to use ODA financing for the runway project while the airport terminal can be done through PPP. Chatto said they have already acquired 93 percent of the planned 230 hectare airport site while the remaining lots are under barter or expropriation proceedings.
Despite earlier misgivings on the Panglao airport project, which was hatched during the Arroyo adminis¬tration with an indicative cost of P8 billion, Chatto stressed, “It has to be Panglao” noting that studies have shown there is not enough space for expansion of the Tagbilaran airport and it would be risky to add more flights to its short runway.
Meantime, Chatto said airlines have requested to add flights to Bohol while new airlines would like to fly in to the province. There are also requests for intra-regional direct flights from Davao, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.
To date, there are 10 daily flights to the island province in Central Visayas.
Chatto said they have to expand the existing terminal to make room for overflowing number of visitors.
To open other gateways for Bohol, Chatto said they have constructed a cruise seaport in Loon, another coastal town.
Bohol is now the country’s number one tourist destination because of its diverse attractions from the beaches, cultural heritage, natural scenery, religious, adventures, among others.
Underwater in Bohol
- Source: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/46293/underwater-in-bohol
- By: Antonio M. Claparols
- Friday, May 04, 2012
It’s been a long while since I returned to the ocean, my “home,” so to speak, second to the forests. To see and marvel at the richness of the seas! The biodiversity is indeed unmatched!
This story begins in Bohol, an island in Central Visayas, rich in culture and, if I am not mistaken, one of the two provinces declared as a cantonal republic after the war for independence from Spain (the other is Negros).
We went to Loboc, viewing the rich and clean Loboc River along the way. Eventually, we also met with the smallest primates in the world, the tarsiers. These mammals sleep in the daytime and are awake at night, like bats. They gestate for six months and give birth to only one offspring.
The wonders that are the tarsier will go on forever as long as they are protected, conserved and treated with respect, even in their sleep. After all, they are mammals like us.
Then off we went to Balicasag Island, world-famous for its marine biodiversity, along with Pamilacan and other areas in Bohol.
We saw gigantic turtles, many of them just swimming freely, as well as schools of jackfish. The coral reefs are considered among the most diverse on the planet, and are said to be even richer than the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Our being part of the “coral triangle” explains why we host the most diverse marine species in the world. We should take pride in that!
It was sheer joy to be back in the water. It was while scuba-diving long ago, in the 1970s, that we were educated and exposed to the environment and its crucial role in our lives. It was our “baptism of water” to the advocacy now being pursued for a lifetime.
I remember when Presidential Decree No. 1219, known as the “Coral Resources Development and Conservation Decree,” was issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos. We immediately went to Washington with Tom Garrett of the Animal Welfare Institute and lobbied with US Sen. Warren Magnuson to have Philippine corals included in the Lacey and Black Bass Act. It was amended and signed into law by US President Ronald Reagan in 1980, thus leading to the ban on Philippine corals from entering the United States.
In those days, one could find Philippine corals being sold as decor everywhere, from Paris to London to New York.
Unknown to many, this was one of our greatest achievements: Saving our corals and having them included as well in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (or CITES), with the help of Dr. Ed Gomez of the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Center, which today is an institute of great relevance.
Coral reefs, like mangrove swamps and estuaries, are vital ecosystems in the marine environment. Without them we will have no chain of life.
I am happy with the way Bohol has managed its environment, and hope that other provinces will follow in its footsteps.
I am proud to have gone back to our roots, our underwater classrooms, and to know that our marine species are thriving.
Let us protect and conserve our environment! This commitment has to be as deep as the sea.
Antonio M. Claparols is the president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines.
P128 M Eyed For Bohol Projects
- Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/358653/p128-m-eyed-for-bohol-projects
- By: Mars W. Mosqueda Jr.
- Thursday, May 03, 2012
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol – Bohol is expected to get some P128 million in funds from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for the province’s community-driven development (CDD) projects.
Former Commission on Audit Commissioner Silvestre Sarmiento, who is also a member of the Millennium Challenge Account-PHL, said the MCC has expressed interest to grant funds for development projects in Bohol.
The funds eyed for Bohol will be part of the MCC’s overall $434-million grant to the country as aid to anti-poverty and human development milestone projects.
Lined up for said grant will be people beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) in Ubay, Carmen, Carlos P. Garcia, Buenavista, Danao, Pilar, San Miguel, Mabini, Trinidad, Getafe, Talibon and Bien Unido towns.
The MCC grants foreign aid to fund projects aimed at poverty alle¬viation through sustainable economic growth, promoting growth opportunities, elevating living standards and pushing for better communities by impacting on goals set by the United Nations, and all these with consider¬ation to environmental protection and conservation.
Said MCC fund is set to augment local funds in prioritized projects including the opening up or rehabili¬tation of key farm-to-market access roads, bridges, water systems, and rain water collection systems.
Sarmiento also said other community development projects for MCC funding include farm infrastructure, water impounding systems, community health and edu¬cation facilities, birthing centers, school buildings, day-care centers, post harvest facilities and key com¬munity infrastructure.
Feature: Shark slaughter photo in Balicasag earns criticism
- Source: http://pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?article=1101335769359
- By: Rey Anthony H. Chiu
- Tuesday, May 01, 2012
TAGBILARAN CITY- A stirring photograph of fishermen hauling off a thresher shark into a boat near Balicasag found its way to a social network and spawned enough criticisms for Bohol, a day before the province launches a new eco-tourism campaign slogan.
The photo has been featured in a national television while it has had 39 shares and has generated 80 comments since it was posted last Wednesday (April 25).
A female marine researcher from the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project (TSRCP) Aisah Velaso, who has been tracking thresher sharks in the Visayan seas and Tanon strait took the stunning shot, but not after being scolded by the fishermen for her taking the pictures.
A kind of shark named for its easily recognized and exceptionally long, thresher-like caudal fins or tail, thresher sharks are active predators and its tail is actually used as a weapon to stun prey, marine biologist sources said.
Although the Philippines does not ban fishing most of the sharks, according to marine biologist Dr. Alessandro Ponzo, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) name the thresher sharks as vulnerable to extinction across the world’s tropical seas.
Thresher sharks have been thought to be almost extinct in the Visayan seas and the Tanon Strait. The sharks are prized for their high quality meat which is used fresh, frozen, smoked and dried-salted, Velasco said.
The shark fins, which at times can be more than half its body length, are prized for shark-fin soup, the livers for vitamin extraction and their hides in the production of leather goods makes the animal one of the most over-fished sharks.
According to Velaso, a shark that fetches some 150 kg of meat also gives around 1000 kg dried fins, and citing another research, added that 80% of the shark populations have been lost to fishing pressure in the last decade and a half.
Velasco said, TSRCP has also pushed for the protection of the species for ecological balance and tourism purposes in Malapascua, Cebu following revenues raised at about 6,000,000 per annum for one daily observation of a live thresher shark by an average of 3 SCUBA divers visiting Malapascua Island.
But, in her Bohol experience, the TSRCP female researcher Velasco was all too saddened seeing the slaughter.
In her blog, Velasco wrote: "I've been missing you so badly since the last day I left Malapascua island. I never expected in my entire life to see you in Balicasag island being killed by the fishermen."
“Today is my saddest day in the ocean. I felt stabbed as you were stabbed to death with tears in my eyes falling. If only could tell them to stop and buy you so that they can set you free, I was just to late, I was trembling to see you up close wounded and struggling for your life. No words can ever describe[d] my frustrations,” she wrote.
Rubbing salt to her pain, Velasco was shocked to hear from mooring fee collectors, who were supposed to be protectors of Balicasag Island ask for a share in the shark.
Velasco said the incident happened just some few meters from Rico’s Wall Dive Point, located southwest of the island.
Velasco’s facebook wall’s image generated enough stir that user Medel Silvosa added she thinks Balicasag is an established Marine Protected Area (MPA).
World Wildlife Fund Chief Executive Officer and respected book author about the Philippine environment Ma. Lorenzo Tan, who commented on the Velasco post said “Bohol shoots itself in the foot” with what happened.
Tan also said “some Boholanos continue to hunt and kill large marine animals. They wiped out manta birostris, then went after manta mobula. They wiped out most of the whale sharks after wiping most of the brydes whales.”
“There used to be a phenomenal dive site just off Cabilao, featuring hundreds of hammerheads. That was wiped out too. And local leaders are not ready to stop it,” Tan added.
Another social network user Edwin San Nicolas, seeing the picture suggested somebody in authority has to find him and his companions and be penalized.
Kalle Epp also shared that a local fisherman in Moalboal speared a thresher and was arrested to spend some time in the town jail.
After that, everybody got the message and the sharks were left alone, he claimed.
Only drastic measures, combined with education can have an impact, everything else will be ignored, Epp said.
Joining the discussion, Arvin Avergonzado claimed he has friends in Balicasag who are born poor and raised in the sea all their lives. He said fishing is their means of survival, and it provides food for their families.
Avergonzado urged everyone instead to help in raising awareness about the importance of sharks in the ecosystem and the tasks of local government units.
“These people most probably do not know the harm that they’re doing,” Bloggie Robillo stated.
“There should be more focus on educational campaigns aimed at local fishing communities. As much resources are being poured into thresher shark research, so there should be resources made available to marine environment awareness and educational campaigns,” Robillo suggested.