|Scouring the shallows for seashell at dusk • Oceana PH Tanon Strait Photo Safari|
Chatting with writer, Cris Yabes, Oceana's Communications Director, Yas Arquiza, and my friend and fellow photographer, Ferdz Decena, I shared my observation that considering its size and importance especially to the people along its 450 km coastline, Tañon Strait is not "mainstream popular" as it ought to be which comes as a surprise. That it was declared a protected seascape way back in 1998 in honor of the 14 species of whales and dolphins which inhabit this strait did not make it as well-known in the public's mind as say, Tubbataha. Nor did this prevent the prevalence of illegal fishing in the area.
|Day 1 Route Map by Oggie Ramos|
When I wasn't admiring the roadside scenery on the three-hour van ride, I was catching up on sleep. On the hour-long ferry ride, I momentarily escaped the confines of our van on the ro-ro to either scan the horizon, feel the sea breeze on my face or observe fellow passengers whiling away the time watching an action movie on the LED screen. I was feeling a bit feverish by nightfall when we settled in at Anika Resort though I had no inkling that this will keep me from taking a plunge into the strait for the duration of the trip.
Strolling by the beach at sunset, we found friendly dogs (hey, my kind of place) playing on the sands and some of the locals scouring the shallows for shellfish. We had dinner at the cabana by the beach where we were beguiled by a full moon that rendered the calm sea shimmering long after the sun faded. Perhaps, it was also the stimuli in getting groups of locals to sit on the beach and sing along to the accompaniment of a lonesome guitar and a makeshift beatbox. The next day, we found out that many houses on the eastern part of the beach were damaged by a typhoon and have yet to be repaired or rebuilt. But in the moonglow, somehow, we never really noticed.
|Full moon and shimmering sea • Image from the Oceana PH Tañon Strait Photo Safari|
About Oceana: Founded in 2001, Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation. It has recently established its satellite office in the country. Oceana Philippines seeks to restore the health, richness, and abundance of teh Philippines oceans. It will promote the use of sound science-based policies to help ensure sustainable fisheries and vibrant marine ecosystems. To learn more about Oceana, its mission and endeavors, vist ph.oceana.org
Attribution: Facts and figures culled from the publication, Love Letter to Tañon Strait by Stacy K. Baez, Charlotte Grubb, Margot L. Stiles, and Gloria Ramos • Map of Tañon Strait modified from the same publication by L. V. Aragones