Keep in Touch

Subscribe to stay up to date on Seacology’s events, trips, and projects.

  • Email Address
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
top-cap-white

Philippines

Lobo Municipality

top-cap-bluetop-cap-white

Conservation benefit: Protection of 118 acres of forest for 10 years, support of three fish reserves (78 acres total)

Community benefit: Solar-powered visitors center, guest huts, and gear for ecotourism initiative

Date Approved: 06.2018

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Ocean

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

The central Philippines, where the narrow Verde Island Passage separates the islands of Luzon and Mindoro, is home to huge numbers of fish species, whale sharks, several kinds of sea turtles, and an enormous variety of corals. But precisely because so many endemic species are concentrated in such a small area, habitat destruction there would be disastrous.

Lobo Municipality, which borders the Verde Island Passage, will protect 118 acres of forest that drain into the passage. The forest, dominated by tropical hardwoods, is home to the Philippine long-tailed macaque and wild boar. The community will also continue to support three local fish sanctuaries, Sawang, Malabrigo, and Biga. Many people in the village are fish wardens, who help enforce the use restrictions.

The community will use Seacology’s help to foster ecotourism based on the spectacular Nalayag peaks of nearby Mt. Masalakot. The community will build a solar-powered visitors center and improve the Nalayag Ecotrail with guardrails and a campsite with huts and restrooms. Community members will train as guides. About 1,100 visitors went to Mt. Nalayag last year; the target is to increase this number to 7,600, being careful not to overwhelm the trails and campsites. The community will impose a daily limit on the number of hikers, and will close the trail each Monday.

Bantay Kalikasan and the Lobo Municipal Tourism Office will provide guide training for community members, many of whom now make a living by fishing. The new guides will have a way to support themselves without fishing, reducing pressure on fish stocks. They will also be deputized as forest rangers and will be on the lookout for illegal clearing of trees.

Project Updates

May 2020

The travel ban instituted in response to the covid-19 pandemic has had a big effect on tourism—and incomes—in Lobo. Most activities are on hold. (Some members of our nonprofit partner live within walking distance of the plant nursery, so they can still look after the seedlings.) People have turned to backyard farming to grow food, and have received some aid from the national and local governments. Bantay Kalikasan, the organization founded by late activist and Seacology Prize recipient Gina Lopez, is also expected to give money to buy food and household staples.
Looking ahead, the community is planning for two years of impact from the pandemic. They are discussing options for attracting tourists again by instituting physical distancing and by working with other tourist sites to build exciting trips. They are also exploring ways to diversify their sources of income.

Read more

December 2019

The Lobo community came together to conserve their forest, pursue ecologically sustainable tourism, and provide good livelihoods to their members. This project exemplifies Seacology’s goal of empowering local people to control and protect their environment and, as a result, prosper economically. Community members and tourists (supervised by the mountain guides) have planted about 2,000 endemic tree seedlings.

Read more

May 2019

The visitors center has been built; guardrails, nipa huts, and restrooms are still under construction. Tour guides are using the center to teach hikers about keeping the Nalayag Ecotrail healthy, and community members sell snacks there. The new local people’s organization, which works to promote tourism and protect the environment, also holds its meetings there. They have declared Monday a “rest day” for the mountain; no climbers are allowed, and the guides do a weekly survey and clean-up.

Read more

December 2018

Duane Silverstein and field representative Ferdie Marcelo visited this project site and saw the partially built visitors’ center. Duane talked to one trail guide—a former miner—who now earns as much money leading one group of hikers on the trail as he did working 12 hours in the mine.

Read more
- +
top-cap-bluetop-cap-white