Thursday, January 12, 2017

Usapang "Tortol" (Turtle Talks) 2017


"Sea Turtles are like our link to the sea world. They are the ambassadors from the sea to the land and vice versa"

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-my pagnapagna-
(From time to time, this will be updated as stories unfold)
"Pawikan Patrol"- is the term I used for beach combing for turtle nests for relocating.
CURMA- Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions
(Pawikan Conservation and Protection Program)

Hatclings Release
(February 20, 2017 a Monday)

Hatchlings Release
(February 15, 2017 a Wednesday)

14th Pawikan Patrol
(February 1, 2017 a Wednesday)
I woke up almost late to go on patrol.
I made it at around few minutes past 3 o'clock in the morning at the beach and along my patrolling, there were no turtle tracks found.


13th Pawikan Patrol 
and another Hatchling Experience
(January 25, 2017 a Wednesday)
I patrolled along the beach that early morning. I was about to go back from the southern part of the beach when I saw a distant flashlight held by a man coming from the mainland going towards the sea. 
We met and i greeted him good morning.
He was manong "Rolly" a fisherman and a pawikan patroller. He is the one with the "know-how" with regards to the turtle nests in the area. In fact, he was the one who had found and given, if not all, most of the turtle eggs at the CURMA hatchery and for that we were all grateful.

With the master patroller himself, manong "Rolly"

We had a short chat and after him knowing that I had patrolled most of the area at that time, he decided to just go back to their house that we parted ways.
I kept walking along the shores and after which, I went back to the CURMA hatchery at around 4 o'clock in the morning to check on the turtle nest that had collapsed earlier that afternoon (a sign that the hatchlings were out of their shells and ready to come out). After around 30 minutes, I felt happy as there was movement on the sand and came out was a head of a hatchling. It was only at around 6 o'clock in the morning when the lone hatchling decided to move out from the sand.
At that time, "Carlos", the resident at CURMA came out to see me after I had texted him that I was at the hatchery. Along with his wife, they gave me coffee and "pandesal" (bread).
Few minutes more, and came out another hatchling.
"Tina", one of the "pawikan advocate" and does workshop lectures with CURMA also arrived at the hatchery.
Towards seven o'clock in the morning, I decided to leave and go back home for a needed rest.
I left with only two hatchlings out of the nest. 

In the afternoon, "Patrick" of CURMA informed and invited me through text to witness hatchling releasing as there were then around 30+ hatchling coming out of that same nest. But since I was still tired and needed much rest from my early morning patrolling, I decided not to go. Instead, I just informed my other co-artists to witness the releasing if they ever wanted to.


Night time Release
(January 23, 2017 a Monday Night)
The residents at CURMA had texted me that there were many hatchlings coming out at one of the nests and soon they will be releasing.
I hurriedly went to the place and witnessed the nighttime release.
Although there were some minor "oops" (the don'ts on handling sea turtle hatchlings) for it was not conducted by the hatchling expert of CURMA who is "Patrick", I say the experience was great.


My First Hatchlings
(January 23, 2017 a Monday afternoon)
It was around noontime when I found out that they were about to release sea turtle hatchlings at the CURMA hatchery (through ma'am Tina).
I hurriedly went to CURMA but unfortunately, they have released the hatchlings earlier.
Don't despair as they were waiting for more as the other two nests were due on those days.
They had invited a local media to witness the release but at that time there were no hatchlings on sight. It was a game of time and chance.
Later on, the media and other visitors arrived.
"Patrick" of CURMA also arrived and decided to dig the nest wherein its hatchlings (around 95% of them) had came out and were released the other day.
The crowd, including me, cheered as "Patrick" drew from the hole, cupped in his hand was a live hatchling. Two more hatchlings were drawn from the nest wherein one of them had a deformed carapace.
When the number of eggs were accounted for, It was time for the release.
The three hatchlings were then put on the sand near the shoreline and they raced towards the sea. Later on, the hatchlings were lost beneath the waves as they have reached their final destination which was the vast open sea.


12th Pawikan Patrol
(January 18, 2017 a Wednesday)
I'm with a co-artist named "Lulu". She was with us on our previous "Pawikan" (Sea Turtle) workshop with CURMA last November of 2016.
The moon was reflecting light as we both went patrolling along the beach of San Juan that early morning.
As we went northward, I felt that she began to get tired and seems that her enthusiasm had lessen as we did not found any signs of sea turtles.
"Kastoy ti ag volunteer, maulit mo pay?" (This is to volunteer. will you do it again?), I asked her as there were no turtle nest as in zero -none most of the time.
She answered with a little laugh, "Siguro makalawang linggo na" (Maybe after two weeks).
We terminated our walk until the barangay of Taboc still in the municipality of San Juan. I should have gone until Baroro, Bacnotan but unfortunately my companion was tired already and seems has lost his enthusiasm to go on.

Note: Most of the time, the turtle nests were found by fishermen.
Note to mySelf and to all patrollers: Don't give up. 


11th Pawikan Patrol
(January 11, 2017 a Wednesday)
Still no signs of sea turtles coming ashore. I walked from San Juan until the Barangay Baroro area of Bacnotan. There were some rain showers towards dawn.

Look what I found. A not your ordinary Balloon.


A Star had landed ashore
(January 9, 2017 a Monday)
I consider them as "stars" like a "matinee idol" or a tourist coming to visit. That's why i want to see them in the "flesh". They live in "another world" yet they are with us. They have this mysterious life at least for me..... I'm talking about the sea turtles.
All the time, turtles were very elusive from me that I can't remember when I had seen one in the past. I was expecting also to witness the releasing of hatchlings but sadly I was not called (heeha!) that I must exert more effort than the usual.
When I heard of a stranded sea turtle from the radio particularly of Bombo Radyo, even I was having second thoughts as I was in the middle of cooking food for lunch at that time, I switched off the stove got a camera and rode two rides going to my one shot to see a wild sea turtle.
From the road, I had to walk some 3 to 8 minutes more. Upon reaching the sandy beach, I was at a smile seeing a small crowd knowing that that was where the sea turtle was. It looked like a romantic table for two along a white sandy wide open tropical beach on an island getaway (of course I was just romanticizing).
I was even surprised as to the size of the sea turtle. I thought it was just some juvenile in size.
They were stitching the small wounds of the sea turtle near the base of its front flippers (shoulders and back) . After they were done, they released it to swim back to its freedom and there goes the star of the show.
Thanks to Bombo Bernadette and company for the free ride I got going back to downtown where I got to go back to Home Sweet Home.

The video above was shot at Lingsat, San Fernando City, La Union. 
In the video were sir Rudan Garin of CENRO and company, Dr. Ernestine Estillore of the City Veterinarian
 and company, the officers from DENR and "Bantay Dagat" of Barangay Lingsat (LMPA)
who found the stranded sea turtle.
Also in the video was a portion of the interview of Bombo Bernadette (Bombo Radyo) with Dr. Estillore

CENRO - City Environment and Natural Resources Office.
CP # 0919996068
Barangay Lingsat "Bantay Dagat", San Fernando City, La Union.
LMPA - Lingsat Marine Protected Area. Enforcement, patrolling team and monitoring center.


10th Pawikan Patrol
(January 4, 2017 a Wednesday)

With the early morning stars are all lit-up in the sky and dogs were all alert as I passed by at some of the resorts and residences specially on the southern end of the coastline. They sometimes really get close as they barked at me, that's when my "poking/probing/walking-stick" comes in handy.

My poking/walking stick which I inherited from my late father. This is actually his cane.
This is also a great help in my walks along the sand and serves as 

my defense against dogs and the likes (armed with a wacker).
The upper handle is partially damaged but it is still the best so far.

I walked until Baroro, Bacnotan (La Union) that morning but unfortunately no signs of turtles coming-up on those shores. It must be that they were still "frightened" by the noise and fireworks of the recent New Year's eve.

The night along the shores of San Juan, La Union


-the pagnapagna will be continued-

For the 2016 (last year's) Usapang "Tortol":

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  1. how can i get in touch with CURMA there this weekend? thanks

    1. Hi Backpacking Philippines, you could contact them with this number 0923 832 2820 0r 09178257878 and 09399332833