Samal Island’s Coral Gardens Need Coral Wardens: Diving in The Coral Reefs of Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos), Davao Del Norte
The beautiful and stunning sanctuary of Samal Island. The perfect spot for diving and swimming and spend your vacation with your family and love one. Experience the real paradise of Samal Island.
Samal Island’s Coral Gardens Need Coral Wardens: Diving in the Coral Reefs of Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), Davao del Norte.
Abner A. Bucol
Upon the request of the Honorable Congressman Antonio F. Lagdameo of the 2nd Congressional District of Davao del Norte thru Ms. Gene-rose Tecson, the Chief of Staff, a reconnaissance survey was conducted to assess the functional status of selected marine reserves (also called Marine Protected Areas or MPAs) in IGACOS last February 26-27, 2012.
Ms. Gene-rose Tecson provided me, Miles Roberts (a volunteer from the US) and another researcher from Dumaguete (Manric Barillo who was tasked to interview reserve managers) a very kind welcome and a hospitable stay in her own beach resort in front of the Tagbaobo Marine Reserve (or the Marine Protected Area No. 4 according to a map provided by the local government).
During the first day, at about 9:00 A.M., a brief dive was made in Tagbaobo Marine Protected Area by myself and buddy Mr. Russ Pascual. Large schools of fusiliers near the drop-off was comforting not to mention the countless damselfishes and Pseduoanthias over large coral colonies. Deep down to about 80 feet, foliose corals still abound. The corals were found from the shallow (2-6 feet) to the base of the reef (to about 60-80 feet, during low tide). I remember that such features plus the strong current, cooler and clear water, lack of sea weeds, and presence of parrotfishes make this site one of the resilient marine protected areas. This means that whenever there is an certain extreme environmental disturbance such as during El Niño when most of the coral reefs will undergo bleaching (whitening of the coral colonies as a result of increased water temperature), this MPA will recover easily. Right before I consumed all my air in the SCUBA tank, a Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), a Critically Endangered marine turtle appeared right in my right side, about 2m only. I was a bit busy photographing a small damsel fish (Pomacentrus auriventris) which I was pretty sure an unreported fish for the Philippines, having known as localized in Indonesia. It was my buddy Russ who grabbed my right fin and pointed the turtle. While snorkeling in the shallow, about 5-6 large sweetlips (Plectoricnhus lessoni) and another Lapu-lapu or grouper (Epinephelus argus) were found roaming around large coral colonies.