The Verde Island Passage, between Luzon and Mindoro Islands, is known around the world for its dazzling marine life. Divers and snorkelers flock here to see abundant sharks and other fish, dolphins, sea turtles, and an enormous variety of nudibranchs and corals. Preserving this area is of the utmost importance; habitat destruction where so many species are concentrated would be an ecological disaster.
Tingloy Municipality, which comprises 15 villages (barangays), has committed to protecting a 50-acre marine area in the passage. The coral in the new MPA is diverse and in good shape.
The municipality will use a Seacology grant to build a Nature Conservation Center. The facility will serve as an environmental knowledge hub: a place to educate children and visitors about protecting the environment; a center for terrestrial and marine conservation programs, including solid waste management; and a base for local grassroots conservation organizations, including the fish wardens who patrol the protected area. Our nonprofit partner, Pusod, will work with the local tourism office and organizations to create a sustainable tourism plan.
Our partners will build the center near the pier where tourists arrive on the municipality’s main island, Maricaban. The first structures would be a covered orientation and ticketing area, and restrooms with a rainwater collection tank. (The municipality also plans to use non-Seacology funds, provided by the national or local government, to refurbish the pier itself.) The municipality will also build a materials recovery facility, to take recyclable and saleable materials out of the waste stream.