I’m as dark as chocolate yet the moments like cruising through Tanon Strait with an amazing view, swimming with the dolphins, shopping in the palengke and cooking dinner for a hungry bunch were irreplaceable. ❤
Being in the 1st leg Dolphin Research/Survey 2012 in Bais, Negros Oriental was pretty much the highlight of my practicum. It was fun and of course, a great learning experience. Tanon Strait is the body of water which stretches between Negros and Cebu. It was such a privilege to be able to work with such brilliant people like that of Dr. Lem Aragones who has been doing this for 15 years yet he still feels like its the first time; other environmental heroes and champions who join this survey every now and then.
When I was a kid I took a particular liking with dolphins because I always thought that they were so cute and adorable. Years later, I still thought of them as such until I really realized their value during the said survey. The experience taught me that yes, they’re cute and adorable, but they’re more than that. They’re our equals and that we are part of the same circle of life where one action may affect the others. With this, I realized how important they are not only to the marine community but even to us mere mortals above the ground.
The survey was tiring and may get frustrating but as always and everyday of the days we were there, what we initially felt were compromised and surpassed by the ecstasy every time we see amazing views, witness dolphins so near yet so far from us and the company of people who nevertheless went beyond their personal needs to best promote the environment and the life we still have with the best possible ways that they can. I was inspired and I learned the value of patience. Like what they always say, GOOD THINGS TO THOSE WHO WAIT.
Enough about me and let’s go to the main star which is of course – TEN-TEN. Its the endearment we call our favorite dolphin basically derived from their scientific name Stinella Atenewatta. For those who are not that familiar, its what we also call Spotted Dolphins. If you may ask, why Ten-ten and why dolphins? A marine mammal like such, dolphins serves as the sentinel of our experience. They basically show us the conditions of their existence (and ours), their patterns, their movement and basically how the resources to which they habituate are being used through Photo Identification of their dorsal fins. The whole days of our survey we were taking pictures of dolphins but also making sure that proper protocols are observed and that they are not disturbed after all we were just visitors to their territories. Scaring them away is not we had in mind.
Hoping to see more than 3 species every time has not been faltered because we actually saw that number and many more. It’s amazing to see how the dolphins also have their own behaviors similar to ours like socializing, milling, feeding, travelling, and resting. Like us, they’re like a community – therefore they also have the same natural instincts to protect their community to survive. And because we live in the same food web its highly beneficial for us all to respect and protect each existence because we all roles to play in this world.
Being in Bais also made me realize a lot of things. Sometimes its the most abundant places who naturally exploit and misuse more of what they have. They take them for granted. And I’m afraid that it would be too late if this trend continues. Bais is one of the most resource-rich and abundant places I’ve seen, healthy vegetation and such deep blue waters. Its sad to see that not all residents see this the way i see it. Its really true that how at times we need an outsider’s point of view for us to appreciate what we already have.
We also have to think and reflect that this experience is not merely a scientific activity but is also political. The local government units of the place has a lot to do with what’s happening to Bais especially the bad ones. Sometimes the resources are used for profiteering and not for the sustainability and resiliency of the community. I’m not saying everyone’s in it though but those who matter and those who have the ability to create and affect change are. That’s why the simple fisherf olks who have the simplest thoughts of protecting the seas can’t be heard because they are not in power and if they do speak out, it might be the loss of their livelihood.
This does not only concern and cover Tanon Strait but this concern also spreads to Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City, Philippines and even to the whole world. I know this sounds really serious but atleast we also had fun. We swam the deep waters of Tanon Strait, ate such delicious and healthy food, saw breath-taking sunrise and sunsets and stayed at a very comfortable lodge that screams zen and peace. The experience was then amazing and we had fun! 😀
I’d love to do it again soon but have to master my swimming skills first. Till then – Ciao!
** Sorry for the late post guys cos we practically got disconnected because the errand girl was on Bais. You see? HAHAHA 😀
Lil’ Miss E.