This is my second time to Bataan with my Travel Factor group buddies. I’ve been to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar and Mt. Samat in out last trip. But what engaged me to join for another trip to Bataan (almost the same itinerary) is the Pawikan Festival.
The 2010 Pawikan Festival (Sea Turtles Festival) is an annual celebration, that celebrates the locals united effort to save, protect and preserve the Pawikan species of our country.
Fact: Did you know that the Sea Turtle eat Jelly Fish. Yes, they are immune to the deadly sting of the Jelly Fish.
The Pawikan Festival
It was a busy day for the locals of Morong, Bataan. It should because today their day of festivities. Today is the Pawikan Festival!
Our group woke up early to join in the fun. As we were walking our way to the registration table. We can see Street dancers are getting ready and warming up while others are relaxing for the big day.
One thing that catch my eye is a very long wall being painted. Why on all of days they would be painting it on this special day. Well, people are really painting it. But with purpose, it is one of the activities they had prepared to have a community involvement.
Here you can see people of all ages and status are strutting their brushes to beautify the wall. Even their very own Rev. Fr. Fernando A. Loreto had joined in the fun.
I have a pleasure of talking with him that day. He was very pleased to see that his community is very involve in the preservation and protection of the Pawikan. He is also pleased for tourist not only enjoying their stay at Bataan, but also learning on how to care for their environment.
The Bantay Pawikan Inc.
The Bantay Pawikan Inc. is a community based organization which protects and defends the Pawikan. Started last 1991 to protect the pawikan and their habitat and also to educate the communitites of the importance of the Pawikan. Here, the community is the back bone of this project, unlike other places which the government would be the one to imposed policy to protect the turtles.
Headed by Chairman Manolo Ibias, and a group of volunteer have started something that every Filipino can be proud of. I had a chance to talks with Wendell Acena the Project Coordinator.
“The Olive Ridley is the specific species that migrate tot he shore of Morong, Bataan. It is the smallest of the seven sea turtle species of the world. ” according to Wendell Acena, project coordinator.
I was very amaze with Wendell when I talking with him. He is really very passionate about the Pawikan protection and very patient to educate everyone in the Festival. Giving information like a piece of plastic may not be a big deal for you in the southern part of the country. But if that plastic somehow get to the sea, there is a large possibility that that plastic can affect the lives of the sea turtle.
Facts: The Bantay Pawikan Inc. volunteers are actually composed of fisherfolk-poachers turned conservationists. The one who hunt them before now are the ones protecting them.
How I wish I brought my kids in this trip. They would have learned a lot about the turtles. How a small community have impacted the world by their sacrifice and vigilance.
This small community of volunteer have really spark a light that have given hope for our marine friends. Not only the sea turtle but all living thing in our neighboring body of water.
The Pawikan Festival: Releasing of the Turtle to the sea
The Pawikan Festival is an annual festivities for the province of Bataan. Conceptualize in the year 1999 to promote the conservation center and how to educate the locals and the whole nation. Then the The Pawikan Festival was born. Started on 2001, now after 9 years the people of Bataan is proud to say that they are the new defender of the environment.
The sun was up and the mass are getting anxious on what time the program was going to start. It was only pass 9 but the place was already crowded. Guest, tourist, locals and participants for the street dancing competition were getting anxious for the presentation to start.
Everyone was actually waiting for the special guest to come.
Headed by Chairman Manolos Ibias, The celebration was started. The guest were then invited to come up the stage. First to appear was our very own hip nature encyclopedia Kuya Kim Atienza with hi sloving wife and 3 kids. One of the special guest is Karen Davila (ABS-CBN News Anchor & Correspondent) with her kids as well.
The Festival was a roaring start as all of the guest have arrived and went to seat at their designated places. Mayors of the different municipalities of Bataan, Gov and Councilor also graces the affair.
With different local organization also present to show their support to a very important festivities tot he lives of the Bataan communities.
As all of the guest have shared their thoughts on the service and dedication of the community in protecting, preserving and cleaning up the beach shore in order to not disturb the migratory pattern of the Sea Turtles or the Pawikan.
Then the moment of truth have arrive. It is now time to release 100 hatch-ling turtles to the open seas. I also was told that a distance of 3-5 meters from the water (depending how hot the temperature is)is the desirable length to release the hatch-ling. This is not to disturb the actual process of the turtles migration pattern. So placing the turtle directly to the water is a big NO – NO!
Here the our guest are given their own turtle to release. Everyone was so excited to have one of the hundred turtles.
It was truly a sight to see, a whole community helping together to protect their environment by protecting the turtles.
Facts: The migratory pattern of the Pawikan are embedded as early in the incubating stage. The embryo is already absorbing and storing the magnetic field in the area to their magnetite pockets in the brain.
As the last turtle reach the wet open arms of the sea. The celebration kick up a notch as the street competition is about to start. Well that is a whole new post. You will have to wait for it.
Could not pass the chance to have our picture taken.