Philippine nature’s wealth: Preserve and conserve through education

”The Philippines is jam-packed with diverse and threatened species —it's one of the most astounding regions of biodiversity on Earth.“

This is a simple yet meaningful statement from Terry Gosliner of the California Academy of Sciences who led the expedition on the Verde Island Passage, delivered at the 2015 celebration of the World Ocean’s Day. What he said about the country’s biodiversity is something that Filipinos can be proud of, but beyond his words, Filipinos should really be concerned.


Biodiversity Seminar

Photos we took during the talk of PUSOD Inc. Executive Director Ann Hazel Javier on the "Verde Island Passage Marine Biodiversity Expedition" on 24 June 2015

Education Outreach for the VIP Marine Biodiversity Expedition
of California Academy of Sciences

2015 VIP Education Outreach held in San Juan Batangas, April 29, 2015

2015 VIP Education Outreach held in Lobo Batangas, April 16, 2015

2015 VIP Education Outreach held in Batangas City, April 15, 2015

2015 VIP Education Outreach held in Brgy. San Andres,Isla Verde, April 14, 2015

2015 Verde Island Passage Marine Expedition in Puerto Galera,Or. April 13, 2015

Science teachers from the town of Baco,San Teodoro,Naujan and Puerto Galera attended the one day program

Lubang-Looc Education Outreach 2014 CAS VIP Expedition May 26, 2014
Taken at Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro The Education Outreach for Lubang-Looc was well attended by the Local Governments, Department of Education - Teachers and Students, Catholic Church Representatives, Kamagsasaka Cooperative, Bantay Dagat Members from both Municipalities, with a total of 94 participants. Drs. Terry Gosliner and Rich Mooi facilitated the activity. Education materials from Pusod, BFAR NFRDI and California Academy of Sciences were distributed. National Museum supported this activity as well.
Salamat Lubang at Looc!

Calatagan Outreach 2014 CAS VIP Expedition (May 14, 2014)
2014 Verde Island Passage Education Outreach for the Biodiversity Expedition in Calatagan. Department of Education Calatagan, Nasugbu Sea Scouts, Batangas Seaweeds Farmers Assoc,, E Zobel Foundation, and Municipality of Calatagan, 147 participants!
Thank you for the warm welcome!

Mabini Education Outreach - 2014 Verde Island Passage
Part of the Biodiversity Expedition in Verde Island Passage, an education outreach activity was held at the Sangguniang Bayan Sessionl Hall of Mabini, Batangas. A total of 89 participants attended. The Dep Ed Mabini District headed by Mr. Tony Ilagan, Science Teachers and students of the different elementary and high schools, together with Bantay Dagat, Batangas FARMC, Coastal Barangay Chairpersons, Ecofish representatives, members of the Local Govt Unit and private resort owners participated in the activity.
The next education outreach will be held on May 14, 9-11am at the Calatagan Central School, and on May 27, 9-11am at the Protacio Beach Resort in Lubang Island.
It is a beautiful busy summer for Pusod, Inc.!

Partnership with California Academy of Sciences

“We wanted to exhibit the most diverse marine ecosystem on earth – a Philippine reef. The New Academy ’s goal to reach a broad and diverse audience is the reason we have this wonderful evolution of interaction with Pusod and the Filipino community. ”
– Dr. Terry Gosliner, Director of Research, California Academy of Sciences

The partnership between PUSOD and the Californica Academy of Sciences (CAS) in San Francisco began when the Academy reached out to the Filipino American community to raise awareness about the newest, state of the art 212,000 gallon Aquarium featuring the most diverse marine ecosystem on earth – a Philippine reef.
Pusod ’s main role in the California Academy of Sciences partnership is twofold: To act as a bridge between the Academy and Filipino communities in the U.S. and the Philippines; and to provide real-life accounts of experiences of men, women and children practicing sustainable fishing and reef protection as the human angle for the Aquarium ’s worldwide audience.

Since 1996 in the Philippines,and 1999 in the U.S., Pusod has been working to educate Filipinos and Americans about the significance of Philippine ecosystems–renowned for some of the highest levels of endemic marine life in the world–and the need for their protection. Scientists have recently identified one square kilometer along the Verde Island Passage, at the mouth of Balayan Bay in Batangas Province, as the “center of the center” of marine shore-fish biodiversity for all the world's oceans. This is one of Pusod’s project sites.

One of Pusod’s tools for fulfilling our mission of protecting and enhancing the natural wealth of Philippine ecosystems is our 11-year running, award-winning Tagalog-language weekly newspaper, Balikas (a play on the words balik and likas which loosely translate as Return to Nature). Balikas is used by villages, schools, churches, local government units, women’s and other groups for environmental education on topics ranging from sustainable fishing and organic farming practices, to biodiversity monitoring, technology training for youth, health and more.

Balikas is also the source for on-going coverage of coastal residents leading their communities to protect and enhance their marine environments. One of these is Calatagan, Batangas fisherman and SAMMACA founder Ruperto /Ka Uper” Aleroza. “It’s good they’re not just showing our fish in the new museum,” Ka Uper muses. “Afterall, we live here too.”

With a 12-year history of operations not just in Batangas but throughout the Southern Tagalog region, Pusod also maintains a presence in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Prior to Philippine incorporation with the SEC, Pusod operated as a program of the Babilonia Wilner Foundation, or BWF, its 501-c3 parent and partner organization.) Since 1999, Pusod has been the only Philippine-based program to bring a steady stream of awareness of overall Philippine environmental issues - in all its triumphs and tragedies - to the United States. In doing so, Pusod highlights not only the magnitude of Philippine environmental (and therefore economic and cultural) concerns, but also how they affect and are affected by people’s actions and policies in the U.S.

Thus uniquely positioned to help the Academy achieve its mandate to “Reach a Broad and Diverse Audience”, Pusod has been building bridges between CAS and the Filipino community in the U.S., and local fisherfolk, scientific and other stakeholders in the Philippines.

The Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor

            In 2005, a study by Dr. Kent Carpenter, IUCN Global Marine Species Assessment coordinator, and Victor Springer of the Smithsonian Institute revealed that the Verde Island Passage, situated between the province of Batangas and the island of Mindoro, Philippines, contained a high concentration of marine species per unit area. The vErde Island Passage Marine Corridor (VIPMC) thus merited the distinction of being the center of the center of the world's marine shorefish diversity, having 1, 736 overlapping marine species over a 10-kilometer area, the highest concentration of marine life in the world.
            In response to this urgent call, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, during the National Biodiversity Conference held on November 8, 2006, issued Executive Order No. 578 establishing the national policy on biodiversity. This was to be implemented throughout the country, particularly in the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecosystem and highlighting and prescribing the policy implementation in the Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor.
            The VIPMC, which consists of the coasts, islands, and waters of the five provinces of Southern Luzon, namely, Batangas, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, and Romblon, is acritical marine corridor which facilitates exchange and migration of species and nutrients across corridor waters. As the center of the center of marine shorefish diversity, the VIPMC has a high concentration of species per unit area and indicates that a number of unique communities in the area support this multitude of species, some of which are endangered and threatened. Coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, fishes and charismatic marine species in the area confirm this fact.

Verde Island Passage Summit

Province Best Practices