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Alabat Municipality


Conservation benefit: Protection of 277-acre marine area and 47 acres of mangroves for 20 years

Community benefit: Community center, boardwalk for ecotourism and environmental education

Date Approved: 06.2020


This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.


This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

This project will protect both coral reef and mangrove forest.

The reef is the “fringing” type, close to shore, and contains both soft and hard corals. It teems with fish, including grouper, snapper, threadfin bream, rabbitfish, parrotfish, trevally, jack, barracuda, mackerel, and anchovy. Whale sharks, giant clams, and green sea turtles also live there. Spinner and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, as well as humpback whales—species that have been declining elsewhere in the Philippines—are found nearby.

Illegal fishing, however, threatens the health of the reef. Fishers scoop up everything in their path and damage the sea floor. To combat this threat, the barangays (villages) of Alabat Municipality will set aside 277 acres of reef as a no-take marine reserve. Community members who have been trained as fish wardens, along with army and police officers, will patrol the area.

The mangrove forest, which contains at least five species of mangrove, protects the villages from storm damage and provides a nursery for reef fish. But illegal settlers have cut down trees to build houses and make charcoal. To protect it, the municipal government will  enforce a no-construction rule in 47 acres of mangrove forest.

Working with our nonprofit partner the Tambuyog Development Center, the villages will use a Seacology grant to build a community center and 250-meter boardwalk. Local schools and youth groups will use these facilities for environmental education and ecotourism. Villagers will also use the boardwalk to keep an eye on the mangrove forest and tidal flats.

This project came about because Alabat officials were impressed by the environmental and ecotourism benefits of the Seacology project in Agdangan, on Luzon Island. The Agdangan community is protecting a marine area and mangroves, and used a Seacology grant to build an environmental center and boardwalk.

Project Updates

February 2022

In July, community members got training on mangrove management. They finished construction of the community center and boardwalk in October. Community members are now planning improvements to those structures and are meeting with our project partner in an ongoing effort to develop local wildlife-based tourism.

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June 2021

In February, members of the fisherfolk organization and government officials attended a three-day training on fisheries management. Construction of the community center started in March and is nearly finished. Next, they will build the boardwalk, and community members will get training on mangrove management.

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February 2021

When we approved this project, a strict lockdown in the Philippines forbade internal travel. By August, our project partners were able to go to Alabat Island to sign the Seacology conservation agreement with officials there—but had to meet on a pier, because going onshore would have required a 14-day quarantine. Finally, in November, they were able to go to the project site to plan with local people. A groundbreaking for the community center, and fisheries training, are scheduled for February.

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