My Adventure Partner (a photo essay)

This is an entry to Wanderlass Adventure Partner Contest

If I had to think of an actual physical adventure partner (as opposed to research skills and a Zen attitude), it would have to be my faithful Canon Powershot A80 camera.

Me and my trusty camera (2010)

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Please vote for me! :)

Hi everyone,

If it’s not too much to ask, please vote for me for the Upload Life 2010 photo essay contest. In celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity, UP ABM set up a photo essay contest with the theme “Unity in Biodiversity” to showcase the world’s biodiversity and how important it is to conserve it. This is my entry:

The photos come from El Nido, Palawan and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia ๐Ÿ™‚

“Audience impact” AKA text votes is 20% of the judging and I would greatly appreciate your support in this ๐Ÿ™‚

Please text “LIFE VOTE 1” to 2952 (Smart), 2982 (Globe), or 2982 (Sun). P2.50 per vote for Smart and Globe, P2.00 for Sun.

You can also vote by downloading logos, picture messages, MMS, and wallpapers.

Thank you very much!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Davao City wanderings

Went to Davao City last October 21-25, 2009 for the 10th Philippine Association of Marine Science Conference. Since the conference proper was on Oct 22-24, we decided to arrive a day early in order to explore the city. This was taken in the Philippine Eagle Center:

The Old Man of PEC

Meet Pag-asa. He was the first chick born in the center. He’s now 17 years old and still going strong. Thank you very much to Tatit (Communications and Fund-raising specialist for the Philippine Eagle Foundation) for the great tour ๐Ÿ™‚

A more coherent post when I get my thoughts in order! ^-^

My Adventure Partner (a short essay)

This is an entry to Wanderlass Adventure Partner Contest.

I have two complimentary yet contrasting partners whenever I travel: my kickass research and organization skills and my ability to just go with things.

Even though I love to travel, my first no-parents-allowed trip as an adult happened just last April 2010. My friend and I ended up in Australia โ€“ our first time in Cairns but my second time in Sydney. As Iโ€™d been there before and my friendโ€™s only stipulation was a budget cap, planning everything fell to me. I looked up all the places I went to and enjoyed, the best ways to get there, a good hostel located within walking distance from the attractions, and most important of all, possible ways to get discounted tickets. After all the research, I presented my friend with three possible itineraries complete with projected costs. Thanks to me (*pats myself on the back*), we made the most of our five days without breaking the bank. My only regret was being two weeks early for the John Mayer concert and not knowing โ€œWickedโ€ was staging just blocks away from the hostel.

However, just letting go and going along with what other people want to do has its upsides too. During my latest trip to Antique, Guimaras, and Iloilo, my friends did all of the planning. All I did was buy my ticket and contribute towards group expenses. Thanks to them and friends-of-friends, we visited a hacienda, went diving, island hopped, celebrated someoneโ€™s birthday, and ate tons of seafood in just four days!

/end essay

Notes: yay I’m writing again! Yes the impetus was winning a kickass backpack but I really have been meaning to get writing again. I have lots of adventures to document, most especially the trip to Antique, Guimaras, and Iloilo. I want school to be over ASAP!

getting dirty

Our (meaning me and my classmate Charles. LOL) Marine Pollution class had our field exercise this morning in Manila. The exercise is supposed to prepare us for the Manila Bay field work on Feb 22. Sampled dissolved oxygen (mg/L and %saturation), conductivity, specific conductivity, salinity, temperature, secchi depth, and total depth.

Our sampling sites:

near the FFCCCII building in Binondo

near the Sta. Cruz church along Escolta

underneath the Ongpin North Bridge in Chinatown
The winner among these sites is the one in Chinatown, with a DO of 0.16 mg/L, 2% saturation. For comparison purposes, the DENR lower limit for DO is 6 mg/L. We observed methane bubbling out of the water when we accidentally disturbed the estero sediment with the secchi disk (We figured it was methane because no way could that water support aerobic respiration.)
My classmate Charles:

And where we had lunch:

Right beside the Chinatown estero @_@ Made sure to order bottled softdrinks and didn’t use their ice.

Manila Bay field work on the 22nd: more sampling sites, more replicates, and more things to do (DO determination by titration, BOD, COD). And there are only two of us in the class @_@ Wahoo!

Enchanting El Nido episode 9 – Palawan hornbill

Enchanting El Nido episode 09 – Palawan hornbill
El Nido Resorts
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

The Palawan hornbill, scientific name Anthracoceros marchei, is locally called a kalaw. It’s a medium-sized hornbill thats black all over except for the white tail. Males are larger and have reddish-brown eyes, while females are smaller and have dark gray-brown eyes. The Palawan hornbill is a noisy bird that can be found in all forest storeys, secondary growth, mangroves, cultivated land, and bushlands close to forests. It is a Palawan endemic, found only in mainland Palawan, the Calamian island group, and the Balabac island group. If you’re staying in Lagen Island Resort, the Palawan hornbills loud calls will serve as your own personal wakeup call as this bird begins its day at first light.

Palawan hornbills mainly eat fruit, but insects and lizards are also sometimes eaten. Pairs live in large tree holes well above the forest floor. During breeding season, the male locks the female inside the tree hole by blocking the entrance with feces and mud, leaving only a small opening for the females beak. During this time, the female is fully dependent on the male to feed her while she sits on the eggs full-time.

Sadly, the Palawan hornbill is now classified as vulnerable its numbers are decreasing because of logging and forest clearing, hunting for food and sport, and trapping for the pet trade. Hornbills are particularly affected during breeding season as capturing the males and cutting down large trees kills the females and chicks trapped inside tree holes.

Despite this alarming trend, there is still hope. We can all help in saving the Palawan hornbill in our own way. Don’t buy souvenirs such as hornbill feathers. Report pet shops that sell these birds. Its when we work together that we achieve something great.

Hornbill footage shot in Lagen Island Resort, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Kring Soriano
Environmental Officer

Opening animation:
Stompworks Studios

Created by:
El Nido Resorts

Enchanting El Nido episode 8 – giant trevally, scad, and bumphead parrotfish

Enchanting El Nido episode 8 – giant trevally, scad, and bumphead parrotfish

A voracious predator of fishes, the giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) is the largest species of jackfish, growing to over a meter in length and prized as an angling fish for its fighting ability. They are supersonic swimmers of the open ocean and outer reefs, and are primarily pelagic. The Miniloc Resort House Reef is actually one of the only places in the Indo-Pacific where you can be assured of seeing these amazing animals on a regular basis.

At dusk, the giant trevally can usually be seen making rapid swimming passes through the school of ox-eye scads (Selar crumenophthalmus) at the Miniloc Resort House Reef, attempting to eat individuals. Though not a particularly colorful fish, the ox-eye scad is nonetheless very impressive when encountered in large schools of hundreds to thousands of individuals, including the resident school off the Miniloc Resort lagoon. They may not look it, and they may not particularly act it, but the giant trevally and the ox-eye scad are actually relatives, belonging to the same family Carangidae.

They may have the name of a bird, but parrotfishes most certainly belong in the sea. They got their name from their teeth, which have been fused into powerful beaks for rasping filamentous algae from the external skeletons of dead corals. The bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) is the largest among the parrotfishes and is actually one of the largest reef fishes around, growing to a maximum size of over one a half meters in length. As with other parrotfishes, the bumphead parrotfish begins its adult life as a female, then later grows into a mature male with the characteristic bony protuberance on its forehead. Bumpheads can usually be found in large, noisy herds of 10 to 100 individuals that graze on algae on coral rock. While feeding, they ingest large amounts of calcium carbonate which they later defecate as crushed, white coral sand. In one year, a single parrotfish can convert as much as five tons of coral into sand, generating most of the sand associated with tropical reefs and beaches.



Rima de Dios
Environmental Officer

Fish footage:
University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute
(shot in South Miniloc and Miniloc Front dive sites)

Opening animation:
Stompworks Studios

Created by:
El Nido Resorts
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

well what do you know?

Some members of The Reef Tank, a site devoted to everything a saltwater aquarist needs to know, suggested to their moderator that this blog be added to their “Recommended Reading” list. Considering that this isn’t really a saltwater aquarist blog – the members were interested in the marine environment and diving aspects of this blog – I’m touched and honored ๐Ÿ™‚ And look! I even have a pretty badge for the sidebar ^-^


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