The Philippines recently found itself at the upper consciousness of most of the civilized world, perhaps because it is one of the most disaster-stricken places on the planet. Last year alone, a killer earthquake shook a southern province called Bohol, only to be eclipsed a little over a month later by monster typhoon Haiyan, which, by most accounts, was apocalyptic in its wrath and intensity. The whole world watched as the ravaged province of Leyte, particularly Tacloban City, slowly revealed the extent of damage, destruction and death wrought by this mega typhoon. But as many also know, the Philippines is a beautiful paradise too.
While its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and proximity to the equator make it prone to earthquakes and typhoons, those same coordinates gives it an abundant and diverse amount of natural resources. As matter of fact it has some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. With 300,000 square kilometers, the Pearl of the Orient, a term once endeared to this archipelago of 7,107 islands, is ranked 64th largest as far as area is concerned. It does however have the 4th longest coastline in the entire world, with only behemoth countries like Canada, Indonesia and Russia being bigger.
The Philippines basically has three main geographical land masses: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It is in the Visayas that we find Danajon Bank. Not known to many, Danajon Bank is one of just six double-barrier reefs in the entire world, and one of the most significant marine ecosystems in the entire Pacific Ocean, bar none. Marine species that can be seen all over the Pacific are believed to have first evolved and emanated from here.
Not surprisingly, Danajon Bank today faces threats on many fronts. Uncontrolled and primitive fishing practices, overdevelopment and its attendant effect like pollution, and ominous climate change freak weather. The reef hosts at least 200 threatened animals, which includes the elusive Tiger-tail seahorse.
Pictures speak louder than words, and these photos were taken by Luciano Candisani, taken from a larger series by Project Seahorse and the international league of conservation photographers. They are striving to create marine protected areas along Danajon bank and help Philippine locals in the area find substitute and sustainable sources of livelihood.
A mother and her two children can be seen seeming innocently hunting nudibranch eggs and other things to put on the table for food. Sadly, it is activities like these that have to be prohibited for the sake of the area’s preservation. Hundreds of families live in coastal villages, deriving income, food and livelihood, such as this family. But nature can also be overwhelmed, as it has been for quite some time now in Danajon bank.
See the efforts being made to preserve this rich marine resource here and see how perhaps you can help in whatever way possible.