Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Olive Ridley Turtle, Tagged and Released

 We just released an Olive Ridley marine turtle this morning. She got tagged and happily left. We expect she'll be back tonight to lay.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thoughts from the year past and the new beginning

 What a crazy, hectic year 2011 was. 

Since September, we've been walking on the beach every morning looking for marine turtle nests. So far we found 9. It's amazing how, with a little patience, these: 


Turn into this:

It's been a whole year and 4 days since the first time I ever saw marine turtle hatchlings in my life. 400 hatchlings later, I'm hungry to see more, and make sure they get to the water safely. 

Waking up every morning has not been that enjoyable. The stars, the moon, the sea are all beautiful on most days no matter what time of month. But there are also risks. People who sleep on the beach, other people who are out looking for marine turtle eggs to sell, sometimes, big groups of men who are doing who-knows-what on the beach. It really isn't about trying to gain popularity. It's not just about trying to save the turtles. What I'd really like to do is for people to realize that, hey- it's time to start seeing reality for what it is, especially on the environmental side. It's time to wake up and stop being so selfish. It's time to live RESPONSIBLY and with concern not just for oneself, but for others- down to the crabs, sharks, birds, anemones, snakes, and what not.

Never before has the world seen so many species (be they plant or animal/insect etc) go extinct in such a short period of time as they have in the past 20-50 years. 

It is horrifying to me to think that I will see the ocean DIE within my lifetime. What will be left for the future generations? Tons of garbage, a dead ocean, polluted air and water, and a whole, long list of problems and diseases left by their grandparents or great grand parents who didn't care enough to think further than the next 10, 20, 70 or even 100 years?
 Watching turtle hatchlings crawling towards brings about so many thoughts, concerns, and emotions. It is amazing to think that one day, 15-30 years from now (assuming the hatchlings are female), this tiny thing will make it back here to lay her own eggs. Our seas and oceans are becoming so much more polluted. Seeing the state of our beaches here - despite our regular coastal cleanups, is an easy testament to that. Just from this small town, we get so much trash. The fish, whales, and other big and small animals - including marine turtles are eating plastics, mistaking them to be natural food like jellyfish. As a result, they're dying. 

Then of course- I can't help but think and feel, "Can't I do more to help this little guy out? Such a vast ocean out there, such a tiny, tiny hatchling." I can only marvel at Mother Nature's wonders and hope and pray to the Supreme Father to help the little one along. Adios, we wave goodbye- have a safe journey. We hope to see you here again when you are ready to return. 

And so here's a nest, after the hatchlings hatch and leave, we dig up the nests and count the hatched and unhatched egg shells, and see if there are any dead ones left. On December 30, in the first nest that hatched, there were so many dead hatchlings. I asked the local marine turtle experts and they said that it's most likely because the tides reached the nest (all the dead hatchlings / eggs were on the bottom). 
Btw, the first nest that hatched, the numbers were: 78 were alive and made it to the sea safely, 38 hatchlings were formed but dead, and 5 eggs didn't hatch. That's right, the mother turtle laid a total of 121 eggs.

The second nest had 88 eggs. 77 of them made it to the water safely, 1 hatchling died, and the rest were eggs that - for some reason or other, didn't hatch.

Nature has to fight against the greatest adversary she's ever yet faced before- humanity. But we can also be her friend and greatest ally. 

Having said all that, I want to clarify that I am not blind to the fact that people need help too. Many of the egg collectors or poachers in this area harvest the eggs to sell as a seasonal extra-income. We're trying to work with them to turn their egg-collecting to a positive light- e.g. collect eggs for conservation and not for the illegal sale and for eating. We're also looking for alternative livelihood training programs they can do instead of looking for turtle eggs, as well as looking into sanitation and proper sewage options as many people who live by rivers/the sea don't have proper sewage systems set up. It's definitely not that easy nor flattering to deal with, but it's a must.

That's it for now. Busy year ahead. :) Best wishing to all. 

-A treefrog in Banyan Grove

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Joyful times. I LOVE Christmas- especially the carols and the nativity scenes. I'd like to share this beautiful Christmas card my cousin sent me:

Let's not forget the real reason for CHRISTmas.

Wishing you all the best,

Tree Frog

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Going with the flow: 2011

December 11? It was almost a struggle to just keep afloat with all the changes and how fast time's gone by this year. It has been a year of great changes for many. 

Early in the year Japan faced devastation with the earthquake and Tsunami.  Bin Laden and Gaddafi- killed. Natural disasters of all types- flood, disease, etcetera all throughout the world. The Euro's in trouble, the Arab Spring revolts continue, and now anti-Putin protests in Russia. Of course, there were many nice events too. 

The All Blacks finally won, quenching the thirst of fans. There's been some progress on the environmental side of things, and also some downsides. GMA is now under arrest. How things change! 

On a personal level, it was quite a year too. I married my fiance of 3 years in June and July (we had two weddings) after not seeing each other personally for well- almost 3 years? Big changes in both of our lives- and most of them, for the better. Not that I'm saying we haven't had any rough spots. We've had many. But we work through them and become better, stronger people and a couple for it. 

We had a monster invasion of hairy, extremely itchy, black caterpillars on our Talisay trees here a month and a half ago. By invasion I mean by the thousands. I didn't take photos because: 
1. I've always hated worms of all kinds except earth worms.If some people have roach shivers, I get worm/caterpillar shivers. 
2. I didn't want to have any photos of caterpillars or worms lying around. Even those make me queasy.
3. It was such a horrible sight to behold anyway! 

We have a lot of Talisay/Indian Almond/Umbrella trees all over our yard. They're beautiful, fast growing trees which grow well even on sand. Of all the years I've lived here, we never encountered a caterpillar problem until this year, so I was rather adamant about not cutting the trees as my husband wanted to. Anyhow, to make a long story short, we cleared all the shrubs and shrubs which were growing at the base of our Talisay trees as to make them less ideal for moths to breed and got some rocks instead. Here's are some of the spots we changed:

 We bought 7 sacks (full size) of assorted rocks for $16.00. Pretty good eh?

Other noteworthy events of the year:
We've found 4 olive ridley nests on our beach since November. Here's to hoping they all hatch so we have this again:

We're making some progress talking to the poachers here. The municipal councilors are even working on a municipal ordinance to protect the marine turtles.

That's it for now. Life's speeding past and so are my deadlines. Oh well. I'm just going with the flow.

All the best,
Sachi of Banyangrove

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving thanks

I'm so tired tonight. But relieved, satisfied, and very thankful. Our little municipality is a coastal town. Much of our natural resources are being used up without much notice. Some of the marine turtles who come around here get eaten, while others who are more fortunate to get to lay their eggs- have their eggs stolen by most poachers.

Today, we had a very nice discussion withe some of the town's stakeholders- the municipal agricultural office, fishery department, barangay captains, and councilors. We all agreed that we need to move forward and act- prevent problems from happening to our little town. We need to work to do what we can for the future generations and for the planet. We are responsible for our world. Our initial meetings on topics like the marine turtles etc., were met with some apprehension or doubt that what we were doing made sense. But now that things are clearer, I do believe we are all thankful.

I offer my thanks again to those who've helped us get here. We're all in this together. We all do what we can to move forward together. And of course, I offer my thanks to the Supreme Father, who in unseen ways, pave a way for us which at times seem so treacherous and difficult it seems it's the totally wrong way to be walking through until later, when a turn in the road reveals a smoother path. Whatever road I may get to, let me walk it with You.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On relationships

I was talking to my good friend, Richard a few days ago about relationships. As a teenager I went through a lot of time wondering why we bothered with relationships. I mean, sooner or later - they end. Sooner or later they leave, move on or die. What was the point? I was thinking a sense of Buddhism was the answer- less relationships, less pain. It took me a while to realize some things (I can be really slow!).

The first thing is, real relationships or lasting relationships - be they one of friendship or more intimate - e.g. boyfriend/girlfriend or marriage- really can't be based on, "I love you IF". It's really just a, "I love you for who you are no matter what." And the best relationships go deeper than that, "I love you in your uniqueness and our relationship is based in the common knowledge that God is the center of this relationship." I don't mean that in a corny or preachy kind of way either. It's a real, straightforward thing.

Second thing is- as you get older, and the less you see certain people who you called "friends" before, you realize who your real friends are. After years of not seeing each other, even without communicating, you're still friends. It's like starting off just where you left off, as if no time had passed. And oh, what a beautiful feeling it is. :)

Third, which is especially true for marriage is- we're all in this world for a certain period of time. We don't know how long. We don't know when we're suddenly going to get pulled out. So we live our lives in a way where we do what we can and learn what we need to and help others and ourselves while developing our relationship with the Supreme Person. We are all totally unique and know all others to be equally unique with their own quirks, skills, and talents. We respect each other. So in whatever short or long time we're in this world, married or in a similar relationship, it's really quite nice to live knowing that, "Just as I'm living my life and walking my own path and developing my relationship with the Supreme Person, my spouse/partner is living his/her life in the same way." In other words, marriage or similar relationships really shouldn't be one of sucking each other dry and trying to see what and how that other person can satisfy my own desires, but one of being there for each other while knowing we're both on our way back to the Supreme Person. We both have faults and what not- but that's not what we focus on. It's not always easy to not see the faults of the other person, but relationships are just so much nicer when you're both not looking at each others faults but instead look at each other's good qualities. It's definitely not going to come instantly either, but all things take time and work. It's all a learning experience.

And yes- belated Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you Lord, for everything.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Learning Process

What a busy month it's been and it's not even over!

I've learned a lot about marine protected areas, coastal resource management, and other similarly related topics in the past few months since we started trying to formulate a program for protecting the marine turtles (pawikan) who lay here, and there's so much more to learn.

Today marks the end of the event - "Water for Life, Tubig At Buhay". It was a pleasure to meet the Chris and Julie from the French Embassy, the staff and life of the Marine Science Institute , and the other people who attended the first symposium and round table event of the "Water for Life, Tubig at Buhay". I wonder how the rest of it went. I'm sure it was educational and interesting, as was the first day.

Ever since I started looking at what can be done to protect, rehabilitate, and conserve the coastal environment (in particular), I've been faced with almost unbelievable resistance. Generally speaking I find that people who have either received enough education or who are just simple folk who wish others no harm are much easier to deal with. They easily grasp the importance of caring for the environment and endangered animals without much explanation or downright arguing to get a point across. For those people who did not receive much education, they find the idea of having to pick up other people's trash - or stop throwing their own trash anywhere they please, what more, do something to protect the environment or an endangered species simply too much. I don't mean to put these people down. I am just stating the truth. It is the sad reality, but almost expected in a place where most people don't even finish high school.

I am a nobody but I believe I can bring about changes to this world- whether good or bad. I choose to do what I can for the betterment of society. Why? Because I know I can, and I am fueled by knowing that I can do something, however small.

Ever since I started trying to save the pawikan and doing other things for the Coastal Underwater Resource Management program, I've been faced with so much adversity. Why stop and go against the flow when it's so much easier to just go along with everyone else? Well sometimes it's good to stop and think about where everyone else is headed. Look at the problems as they are and look for solutions rather than turn a blind eye to them.

Life is a continuous learning process. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open and listen well. Sometimes the softest whispers are the most important ones in life.

All the best from