Tuesday, 8 March 2011
I’m quite surprised that, of late , there has been a lot interest from my friends on Turtle Release. What’s surprising is that I have been posting pics and videos from my past escapades (since 07) but it’s only now that I get such overwhelming interest.
I am not sure what I did right but definitely am not complaining..=)
For those who plan to have a similar experience, I am writing down some here tips and info..
1. The Turtle Release site is in the Bantay Pawikan Hatchery Site in Brgy Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan. It’s a 3 to 4-hour drive from Manila depending on the traffic. It’s going to Balintawak or Mindanao exit part that sucks, the NLEX and SCTEX part is a breeze.
2. You can take 2 possible routes via SCTEX 1) Dinalupihan exit – turn right at Pilar or 2) Subic exit then pass by Morong gate of SBMA ( much preferred option)
3. The Bantay Pawikan Foundation increases the chance of survival of the marine turtles by transferring the eggs to their hatchery site. Temperature is tracked on a daily basis so they get to predict when the eggs will be hatched. For more info on their efforts visit this site http://www.oceanheritage.com.ph/pawikan-conservation-in-philippines/
4. For those who want to support their endeavors one can adopt a marine turtle at a price of PhP 250/ hatchling. This comes with a shirt and you can have the hands on experience of releasing the turtle to the sea.
5. Turtle release is normally done in the early morning (around 7 am) or late afternoon (around 5pm) to avoid the harsh rays of the sun which can have an adverse impact on turtle survival. If you plan for a day tour you would need to leave Manila around 3:30 am.
6. Call in advance (at least 3 days) to check if there are turtles due for release on the day you intend to visit . (You may call Ate Nida of Bantay Pawikan at 0928 718 5721).
7. Turtle hatching season happens from September to March.. There are still eggs being laid at this time so the hatching might still happen until the first week of April.
8. Sometimes one can get lucky (like what happened to us last visit). There are a hundred of hatchlings due for release and there are no sponsors so we get to release the whole lot !!!
9. Given that it’s a long ride, to make the most of the travel you can also opt to stay overnight. The Foundation offers accommodation. The aircon room ranges from 2500 (good for 5) to 4500 (good for 12). You can also opt to set up a tent for a much lower rate. The room accommodations are very basic so don’t expect anything fancy. Personally for the same quality, I think it’s a bit expensive compared to the rooms in Boracay and Puerto Galera. However I am consoled by the fact that what I pay helps in their endeavors.
10. For those staying overnight you can cook your food as the Foundation has cooking equipment. You can also hire one of their staff to do the preparation and cooking.
11. You can also opt to stay in Subic since Morong is only about 20 km away.
12. In order to maximize the trip plan to do other activities on the side…like Tree Top Adventure , Zoobic Safari or Ocean Adventure in Subic. You can also visit the Dambana ng Kagitingan in Pilar Bataan. ( highly recommended, I enjoy the scenic 6 km drive from the foot to the top of the hill)
13. Since the trip entails the use of gas, if you want to make the experience carbon-neutral, plan to offset the increase in the carbon footprint by planting some trees or reducing your electricity consumption. ( Haven’t computed the amount yet but will post once I have the numbers.. =) )
That’s all I have. Just let me know if you have other queries.