Karen: July 2008 Archives

Report from the Philippines

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I recently returned from the Philippines, where I visited a total of five Seacology projects with our Philippines Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo.  Sadly, we missed one site visit - to the ram pump project and forest protection project at the Municipality of Murcia, Negros Occidental.  This was due to Typhoon Fengshun, which started as a tropical depression east of the islands then intensified.  It was the first time I had experienced the power of these storms that batter the Philippines so frequently.  My hotel in Manila never lost power, and it was strange to see coverage on cable TV of the wildfires ravaging parts of California while the Philippines was hit so hard by high winds and relentless rains. 

Our first site visit was to the community of San Pedro, on Biri Island in Samar Province.  Seacology has funded the construction of a community-managed medical dispensary in exchange for a 25-acre marine reserve, to be protected for a duration of 20 years. 

The community is accessible only by boat, and we we fortunate to visit during the barangay (community) fiesta.  The small dispensary is situated on the barangay's plaza, right next to the day care.  The structure is nearly complete; wiring will be completed soon. 

san_pedro.jpgShown in the photo is Jhoanne Culo of our local partner project organization Center for Empowerment and Resource Development, Inc. (second from left) and Seacology Philippines Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo (third from left), flanked by two local women who will serve as health care workers once the dispensary opens.  The community is respecting the marine protected area, where we snorkeled to observe the regenerating marine life.

Our second site visit was to Barangay Manamoc, Northern Palawan.  This village has a population of 1,900.  With the assistance of Seacology Germany, Seacology has funded a solar energy system to provide power to the community's schools, barangay hall and medical clinic in exchange for an agreement to protect a 267-acre marine area.