Visayas Tree Seed Center opens in Cebu

BY BEN KRITZ, TMT ON FEBRUARY 16, 2017,     Manila Times                                    

THE government has opened a tree seed center within the 123-hectare Cebu Experimental Forest in Minglanilla as part of a goal to sustain reforestation efforts through 2028.

The tree seed center is the first in the Visayas and is similar to an earlier center established in Bislig, Surigao del Sur. The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), established both centers.

“The prospect of reforestation in Visayas region is bright because the tree seed center will not only be for Region 7 (Cebu) but for the whole Visayas,” said ERDB Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado.

The focus of the tree seed center is to cultivate germplasms, a source of breeding material from a wild species or a pre-selected breeding line selected for characteristics suitable for mass cultivation and planting. The TSC in the Visayas will serve as the repository for germplasm material to be used in reforestation projects.


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ALL ABOUT SEEDS Dozens of seedlings fill a nursery at the seed center.

“These shall primarily serve as depository banks for seeds from the identified and delineated seed production areas (SPAs),” said ERDB.

The tree seed center will certify the quality of seeds to be distributed to other regions and will test seed samples for the government, non-government organizations, and private enterprises and plantations.

The development of seed material registry and certification systems should upgrade seed quality of tree species, ERCB said.

The availability of a variety of tree species will also be enhanced through seed exchange, said Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, who heads the ERDB research center in Cebu.

Oldest forest project
The Cebu Experimental Forest is situated in the Philippines’ first reforestation project, which is now century old. The Osmeña Reforestation Project was established in January 1916.

The area was originally a 2,710-hectare forest reserve known as the Friar Land Estate and was managed by the Vatican.

ERDB has been conducting research in the Cebu Experimental Forest since June 1986, covering bamboo, rattan, dipterocarps (hardwood and tropical trees), narra, endemic tree species, neem, tiger grass, flowers, and honey production. It is also a site for training local government ENRO (Environment and Natural Resources Office) researchers on cave ecotourism and forest conservation.

Despite being considered a national heritage site and a protected forest reservation area, it is faced with threats of illegal logging.

“Our forest is still threatened by illegal tree cutting and charcoal extraction. Informal settlement, farming, wildlife hunting, sand, gravel and black stone extraction and bamboo harvesting are also threats. We need valuable community partners to fight the threats,” Lustica said.

The top 10 tree species here are teak, gmelina, lumbang, lanutan,narra, antsoan dilau, Genguet pine, banaba, and auri.

The Cebu Experimental Forest is a biodiversity-rich area. It is home to faunal species as Kokok (Philippine coucal), Alimokon (White eared browndove), Tamsi (sunbird), Maya (Munia), Tikling (Moorhen), Pugo (Buttonquail), Manatad (Common Emerald Dove), Toktor (Barber), Punay, Siloy (Cebu black sharma), Ngiwng (Grass owl), Sayaw (Swift), Kikik (Koel), Gitgit (Swallow), Tagmaya (Bulbul), and Uwak (crow).

“The native wildlife community in Cebu Experimental Forest depends on unique plants, caves, rivers, and creeks,” Lustica said.

Two of the seven caves located within the Osmena Reforestation Project are also located in the Cebu Experimental Forest.

Large-scale program
The tree seed center is part of the government’s forest nursery modernization program in line with the enhanced National Greening Program (NGP), aiming to produce quality, disease free seeds in sufficient quantities for reforestation projects. It has a laboratory that may be used for testing the germination of seeds.

Through the tree seed center, ERDB will enhance existing government seed bank and laboratory facilities. ERDB will establish orchards and document seed collections in each region. ERDB will improve seed collection, procurement, storage, testing, disposition, and seed exchange and marketing systems, as well as update the forest tree seed calendar.

Based on ERDB records, as of June 2015, Region 7 alone had a seed collection and supply of 1.222 million.

Seed requirements will increase as Executive Order 193 mandated the extension of the NGP up to 2028, which envisions a wood and agroforestry product self-sufficiency set an annual production target of 750,000 hectares of timber, 60,000 hectares of coffee, and 300,000 hectares of fuelwood.

The wood and papers products that would be produced as a result of the extended NGP are estimated to be worth $900 million yearly.

“Seeds collected from the established seed sources—seed production areas and individual plus trees (SPAs and IPTs) —nationwide will be submitted to forest tree seed centers for processing and certification before they will be distributed to different stakeholders,” said ERDB.

IPTs are materials in breeding and are selected and crossed with each other as part of producing superior tree breeds.

Partners that may use the Visayas tree seed center’s seed production are DENR-ERDB’s own provincial, city or municipal environment and natural resources offices (ENRO), state universities and colleges or SUCs, community and people’s groups, and private, industrial tree plantations.

The tree seed center has a seeder area where seeds are sown in containers and are watered through misting for growth. Germinants are turned into seedlings in the growing area. In the hardening area, sunlight allows for drying of the seedlings for sturdiness.

In addition to the Visayas and Surigao del Sur tree seed centers, ERDB also has a center in Los Baños, Laguna, and is building additional centers in Loakan, Baguio City; Pagbilao, Quezon; and Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

“The prospect of reforestation in Visayas region is bright because the tree seed center will not only be for Region 7 (Cebu) but for the whole Visayas,” said ERDB Executive Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado.


BCWERC distributes IEC posters on Invasive Alien Species to LGUs and POs in Burauen, Leyte

The Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center through its Tacloban Research Station in Region 8 distributed IEC posters on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) to the concerned Local Government Units and Peoples Organizations in Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park in Burauen, Leyte last October 7, 2016.

The poster, titled “Beware: Help stop the spread of Invasive Alien Species in Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park” is an information and education campaign material aimed to foster public awareness and make concerned local communities partners in the campaign to protect biodiversity and stop the spread of IAS in the protected area.

Recipients of the posters were the LGU of Barangay Mahagnao through Chairman Eulalio Agustin, the Mahagnao Rural Workers Development Association, and the Lake Mahagnao Community Association. For. Emma Germano and Ms. Letecia Corregidor of BCWERC 8 briefed the community about Invasive Alien Species and its impact on biodiversity in protected areas. Meanwhile, a copy of the poster was also provided to the Office of the Municipal Mayor of Burauen, Leyte as one of the principal end-user of the IAS information. The turnover was witnessed by For. Liza Hinlayagan, representing the Office of the MVNP Protected Area Superintendent in CENRO Palo. IAS  information material and reference will be utilized for their biodiversity and ecotourism campaign.

The poster lists the top IAS confirmed prevalent in Mahagnao such as the Golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata), Spiked pepper (Piper aduncum), Wedelia (Sphagneticola trilobata), Lantana (Lantana camara), Acacia mangium, Makahiya (Mimosa pudica), Water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), Hagonoy (Chromolaena odorata), Mile-a-minute (Mikania micrantha), Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), Catfish (Clarias batrachus) and Yemane (Gmelina arborea). The list was based from a 2012 completed R&D study on Biosecurity Measures for the Protection of Biodiversity from Invasive Alien Species in the Province of Leyte. The generated information was assessed and recommended for dissemination by the Regional and ERDB Technology Assessment Teams. Said IEC materials were designed for the concerned LGUs and local community as specific end-users following key informant survey on community needs, preferences, and pre-testing. English and waray-waray versions of the poster were also produced.

BCWERC conducts FGD in Bohol and Negros Oriental

To validate the results of the Carrying Capacity Models before submission to ERDB, a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was conducted last Sept. 20-122, 2016 in Region VII, Central Visayas.

The FGD was participated in by the concerned stakeholders (PO Presidents, members, and secretaries, tourism officers, APASU, DENR CENRO representatives and MLGU representatives) from the municipality of Sibulan, Negros Oriental and Anda, Bohol. Likewise, a total of 15 participants attended the FGD for the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park and 26 participants for the Lamanok Island Mystic Tour and Mangrove Tour.

Issues, concerns, and additional inputs to the results of the study were discussed by the respective groups after the presentation. In Balinsasayao, the following issues and concerns were clarified among the participants: a) difference between visitors and tourists, b) co-management of the area, c) motorbike fare, d) waste management, e) peace and order condition, f) water quality of the lake, g) existing farming practices in the 3 neighboring upland areas, h) sharing of fees among the concerned offices, i) available space for the proposed additional structures, j) improvement of the water system and k) provision of communication facilities.

The main issue raised was the legal identity of the PO managing and handling the ecotourism activities. Political and organizational issues were clearly observed in the area. It was also evident that the organization who managed the ecotourism area needs additional training since there was only one trained tour guide whose absence could hamper the ecotourism activities in the area.

The word “cohesiveness” was clearly emphasized by the BCWERC Center Head and project leader during the FGD for the PO, LGU and PENRO to ensure the success of the project in their respective areas. She further stressed the importance of unity for the sustainability of the project. According to her, the PO and concerned stakeholders should have one mission, vision, goal/purpose to be effective and efficient in promoting and protecting their natural resources and likewise maintaining the high level of satisfaction of tourists/visitors. 

ERDB conducts Technical Writing Workshop for BCWERC researchers

One of the most significant tasks of a researcher is to disseminate relevant research findings and outputs to its intended clientele.” Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, Center Head of the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) said in a workshop conducted titled, “Training on ” held at the Department of Education Ecotech Center in Cebu City last August 3-5, 2016.

Twenty (20) BCWERC researchers attended the activity which primarily aims to enhance the capability of participants in organizing well-written and relevant scientific articles on RDE projects and related activities.

The resource persons of the training were Ms. Liberty E. Asis and Ms. Adreana S. Remo, editors and science communication experts from the ERDB which is BCWERC’s mother unit. The topics were the: various techniques, pointers and approaches in technical, semi-technical and popular writing.

Every researcher should aim to develop and enhance their writing skills through constant practice.”, said Ms. Asis, Editor of ERDB’s scientific journals. She challenged the participants to produce and submit articles for publication considering the wide-range and variety of interesting topics BCWERC researchers could choose from based on the current research findings and field observations.

On the other hand, Ms. Adreana S. Remo emphasized that in order to be effective and successful researchers, we should be adept enough in technical writing. Further, she emphasized that government funds allotted in the conduct of various RDEs are justified, disseminated, and not put into waste.

The event was made more informative with various inputs from the speakers such as IEC Materials Preparation, Overview of Science Communication, preparation of a Communication Plan, Publication Design and Layout, preparing for Exhibits and Basic Photography.

BCWERC and DENR NIR to team up for Biodiversity Conservation and Protection Project

Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, Center Head of the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands, and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) met with the Regional Director of the Negros Island Region (NIR), Al O. Orolfo to discuss future collaborations on potential Research, Development, and Extension (RDE) projects that will focus largely on biodiversity conservation and protection. Negros Island supports a unique biodiversity that includes many endemic plants and animals, including wetlands and its rich biodiversity known to be the vanishing treasures, hence the need for immediate conservation action.

Discussion between the two officials occurred during the recently held BCWERC Mid-Year Assessment event last July 12-15, 2016 at the Bacolod Pavillon Hotel in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Director Orolfo in his address during the opening ceremony was hopeful that BCWERC researchers would closely coordinate with DENR NIR such as the provision of technical assistance in the crafting of RDE plans, programs, and other important and priority projects dealing with the region’s biodiversity crisis. Further, he proudly informed the group that NIR will be hosting the Regional Protected Area Management Summit this month-end whose theme will focus on ecotourism and climate change resiliency. RD Orolfo is expecting that a BCWERC representative will be able to attend and would present a research paper, particularly an RDE study on “Carrying Capacity of Protected Areas”. He also mentioned that he was totally firm on his plan to make NIR as a “green city”, the greenest region in the Philippines. RD Orolfo likewise is positive that BCWERC will be helpful and work collaboratively with NIR to fully support DENR Secretary Lopez’s advocacy on the need to protect the country’s rich biodiversity.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lustica challenged BCWERC researchers to fulfill the goals and needs based on the BCWERC’s areas of excellence, which is biodiversity, coastal, wetlands, and ecotourism. She assured the NIR Regional Director that expertise of some BCWERC technical staff will be made available through technical assistance in the conduct of RDE projects.

The activity titled “BCWERC Mid-Year Assessment, Re-Echo on the Trainings Attended and Planning Workshop”, was participated in by a total of thirty (30) BCWERC technical and administrative staff.  It highlighted the presentation of RDE reports, which focused on the 1st and 2nd quarter updates, issues, and concerns.

BCWERC conducts underwater assessment in Gigantes Island


The study “Biodiversity Profiling and Carrying Capacity Determination of Priority Ecotourism Areas in Visayas Region”, conducted an underwater assessment of Gigantes Island, Carles, Iloilo on April 20-29, 2016. The assessment aims to establish baseline information of the marine ecosystem or underwater resources of the designated areas after the occurrence of typhoon “Yolanda” and detect changes in its condition.

Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, BCWERC Center Head and Project Leader of the abovementioned project, directed the BCWERC Region 7 licensed divers namely, Ms. Hanna Lou Castillo, For. Celeste Rallos, For. Gerry Saludo III, and Mr. Jon Alfonso Horvidalla to conduct the assessment. With the technical supervision of Mr. Excalibur Seterra also a licensed diver and at the same time an aquaculturist of the Iloilo Provincial Agriculture Office spearheaded the assessment together with the assistance of Ms. Lovejoy Tejido of BCWERC 6, Mr. Larry Joie Alag of Philippine Life Saving and Mr. Julieto Manggasang, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer of Carles.

A transect line of 50 by 50 m method were used for the identification of reef fishes, corals, sea grass and other existing marine organism and their percent cover. Three (3) island barangays (Gabi, Asluman and Granada) consisted of six (6) sites (Danao-danao, Antonia, Cabugao gamay Islet, Bantigue Islet, Uay dahon Islet and Granada Bay) were subjected for the reef fishes and coral assessment while only three (3) sites (Danao-danao, Sitio. Barosbos and Granada Bay) were determined for the sea grass as it were the only sites that exhibited its presence. Most of the corals observed were extremely damaged and only 21% is considered as live hard corals. Similarly, coral reef fishes were recorded with 60 different species under 23 families (dominated by wrasse and damsel fishes) due to the degraded coral reef health and rampant illegal fishing activities in the area. Four (4) different types of sea grass were found thriving dominated by Thalassia and Halodule.

The study revealed that corals were not properly managed by the communities as their focus is only limited to surface tourism (island hopping) and not in the underwater resources of its islets. Different activities that disturbed its marine ecosystems are prevalent in the island such as rampant illegal or dynamite fishing, unregulated massive scallop collection, the use of chemicals in hunting fishes that live in the corals, using of metal anchor that hooks into the seabed where the corals are found, and other human induced-disturbances that the community puts into practice. Gigantes Island has the potential to be a top tourist destination but it is also experiencing a loss of ecological balance due to anthropogenic causes. These results will be an eye opener for the island dwellers, other stakeholders and concerned agencies to conserve, preserve and manage the remaining marine ecosystems of the Gigantes Group of Islands where many lives are at stake when these resources will be depleted. BCWERC Region 6

(Published at ERDB website:

Osmeña Reforestation Project at Camp 7, Minglanilla, Cebu celebrates 100 Years


Top officials from Cebu and Los Baños, Laguna converged at Camp 7, Minglanilla, Cebu last June 1, 2016 to mark the centennial celebration of the Osmeña Reforestation Project (ORP). Gracing the event were Cebu’s top government officials led by Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III; Cebu City mayor-elect, Tomas R. Osmeña; and Minglanilla Mayor, Elanito Peña.

The Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) hosted the said event in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Region 7. DENR 7 Regional Director, Isabelo Montejo and BCWERC Center Head, Dr. Alicia L. Lustica with the support of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB). Assistant Director, Dr. Antonio M. Daño, led the celebration which was participated in by more than 150 participants comprising of DENR 7, EMB, MGB, BCWERC staff, business partners, stakeholders, and representatives from various government agencies, NGOs, and People’s Organizations (POs).

ORP, the first and oldest reforestation project in the country started on Jan. 13, 1916 with the passage of Act No. 2649, setting aside P10,000 for the reforestation project through the support of the late President Sergio Osmeña Sr., thus the name ‘Osmeña Reforestation Project’. Located within the ORP is the 123.4 hectare Experimental Forest Station (EFS) which serves as demonstration and training center for the conservation and management of forest plantation, seed production area, cave and ecotourism, and as field laboratory for Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) technologies.

Dr. Alicia L. Lustica of BCWERC, in her welcome message was grateful and eagerly revealed that the day’s event was doubly significant with the inauguration and blessing of the Visayas Tree Seed Center in the area. According to Dr. Lustica, the tree seed center will serve as laboratory testing and storage facility for quality seeds collected throughout the Visayas Region.

Moreover, ERDB Assistant Director Daño in his speech, highlighted the Status of Resources in the Experimental Forest within ORP. “Experience and history taught us that fragmented actions only achieve too little, if not only worsen the situation, hence, DENR-ERDB through the BCWERC calls for a “strong collaboration” with all stakeholders to harmonize actions and in effect, achieve our goals of protecting and sustaining the gains of the ORP, a valuable Cebuano heritage”, Director Antonio Daño said.

Cebu Governor Hilario P. Davide III, in his message also vowed to collaborate with BCWERC and DENR “in preserving, maintaining, and protecting” ORP. Accordingly, he will recommend the area as an eco-tourism spot to be included in the activity, ‘Suroy-Suroy Sugbo,’ the regular tours organized by the provincial government to spotlight the beauty of the Cebu countryside and outlying islands.

Gov. Davide, Director Montejo, and BCWERC Center Head Dr. Alicia L. Lustica proceeded to the Visayas Tree Seed Center in the area after the opening program and spearheaded the ribbon cutting for the inauguration and blessing of said tree seed center. A media forum, ‘Kapihan sa PIA’ was likewise held thereafter with Region 7 officials from the DENR, EMB, MGB, together with the BCWERC Center Head and ERDB Assistant Director as guests. Discussions highlighted the ORP Centennial Celebration, activities in line with the June 2016 Environment month celebration, and various concerns of the different offices and bureaus.

The day’s event also served as a kick-off for the month long Environment Month Celebration of DENR which also included the unveiling of the centennial marker of the ORP, viewing of video documentary, exhibits, bamboo gallery, and seed storage area. The day’s activity culminated with an Eco-Trail and Tree Planting facilitated by the BCWERC staff. L. Quiachon & A. Jumawan, BCWERC

(Published at ERDB Website:

Eight (8) BCWERC technical staff from the project “Benchmarking and Impact Assessment of Mangrove and Beach Forest Rehabilitation in Disaster-Affected Areas” revisited the benchmarked site in Lava Island, Barangay Day-as, Cordova last March 8-9, 2016 to monitor any significant improvement from last year’s findings as well as to gather additional data on the condition of the mangrove ecosystem.

Three transect lines were established during the assessment having seaward, middle-ward and landward plots where six (6) mangrove species were identified such as: bakauan bato (Rhizophora stylosa), bakauan lalaki (Rhizophora apiculata), bungalon (Avicennia marina), pagatpat (Sonneratia alba), tabigi (Xylocarpus granatum), and malatangal (Ceriops decandra). Among the six species, R. stylosa was found to be dominant in each transect and also has a greater stem diameter than all other mangrove species in the area. In general, the mangrove forest is healthy as there are only few occurrences of individual trees with pest and disease. Macrobenthic organisms dwelling below the water column which are visible to the naked eye were also collected and mostly composed of gastropods (snails).

A total of 22 species of gastropods were found in the island. In addition, Bivalves were also observed in the area with a total of five identified species and one of them was Gafrarium tumidum locally known as balisa, a commercially valuable species. Five crab species were identified, three of which belongs to genus Uca, one belongs to genus Perisesarma and another to genus Ozius (forceps crab). Avifaunal survey recorded four species of birds in the area. Interestingly wild ducks (Anas luzonica) were noted and the local residents have attested to the sightings of this species only recently.

The said activity was ERDB-BCWERC’s response to the oil-spill incident brought about by the collision of 2GO cargo ship and MV St. Thomas Aquinas off the coast of Talisay City which caused the sinking of the former. The southern sea of Mactan Island was heavily affected since the currents brought the oil to the mangrove forest in the area and paralyzed the livelihood of the coastal municipality of Cordova for months.

The survey results show that the area is diverse in mangroves and animal species. The mangrove ecosystem was observed to be healthy and shows signs of recovery from oil-spill. Mangrove forests are very efficient coastal protection agent against physical disturbances such as wind and storm surges as well as chemical disturbances and pollution. However, the rich assemblages of species in the mangrove areas and the nature of its hydrology makes them fragile and vulnerable to such disturbances (oil-spill).

Learning event held to discuss BCWERC RDE operations and management

Technical and support staff of the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) have recently convened to review the status of all Research, Development and Extension (RDE) projects including updates on financial status and administrative operations last March 17-19, 2016 at the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), Paranas, Samar. The activity dubbed as, “1st Quarter BCWERC Learning Event on RDE Operations and Management for 2016” was primarily organized to re-evaluate the center’s various RDE activities and to harmonize strategies and approaches utilized in project implementation.

The event highlighted the presentation of RDE reports, which focused on the 1st quarter updates, issues, and concerns. OIC, Center Head of BCWERC, Dr. Alicia L. Lustica emphasized the need to provide researchers an avenue to share, discuss, obtain additional inputs, and evaluate research methodologies based on the initial status of RDE project implementation for the 1st Quarter of 2016.

“Research centers of ERDB are constantly challenged to produce significant research outputs hence, it is vital for us to determine the best approaches and immediately identify research gaps in order to come up with a realistic, doable, and valuable scientific outcomes”, Dr. Lustica said. Likewise, she challenged the BCWERC team to develop an information advocacy campaign to promote the goals, visions, and functions of the center so RDE efforts will be beneficial, recognized, and utilized by the prospective clients.

Protected Area Superintendent (PASU) of SINP, Forester Zenaida Baisa, warmly welcomed participants during the opening ceremony. She presented a brief overview of the history of SINP and its various ecotourism activities in the province. Further, the group also had the chance to learn and become acquainted with the study on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) through the special presentation from the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) headed by Dr. Edwin Tadiosa, PhD. Dr. Tadiosa presented their partial/initial survey results on the project “Invasive Alien Species on selected natural parks in the Philippines,” namely, the Sibalom Natural Park in Sibalom, Antique and the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP).

The learning event participated in by BCWERC RDE project leaders and implementers from Regions 6, 7, and 8 provided a unique experience brought by the exciting tour adventure – the Ulot River Torpedo Boat Extreme Ride at Paranas, Samar. Participants had the opportunity to experience first-hand the torpedo boat adventure ride into the rapids of the Ulot River, the longest river in the whole island of Samar. BCWERC, whose area of excellence includes biodiversity and ecotourism, considers SINP as a potential area for research and assessment activities in terms of ecotourism services and resources, perception and attitude of stakeholders towards sustainable management of the site, etc. SINP located within the protected area is rich in biodiversity and considered as one of the country’s top botanical diversity centers.

BCWERC joins the Open Water SCUBA Diving Course

Three (3) staff from the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands, and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) participated in the training, ‘Open Water SCUBA Diving Course’ held at the SCUBA Diving Institute-Subiza Resort, Olongapo City, Zambales last February 15-21, 2016.

The training which was organized by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), primarily aims to capacitate technical personnel for the underwater survey of marine ecosystems in line with the Coastal Zone and Freshwater Ecosystems Research Division’s (CZFERD) implementation of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Coastal and Marine Areas Study.

Mr. Jose Isidro Michael T. Padin, of the Marine Research and Development Section of CZFERD headed the team comprising of BCWERC staff, Jon Alfonso P. Hordivalla, Gerardo J. Saludo, II and Celeste V. Rallos together with three (3) CZFERD personnel, Mariche B. Bandibas, Annieraj G. Antong, and John Benrich M. Zuñiga. Said participants had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of scuba diving, including dive equipment and techniques, essential elements, application/in-water practice, the rules of safe diving, and the concepts behind those rules.

Participants successfully passed the Open Water Diver Course and acquired a license from the SCUBA Diving International (SDI).They suggested, however, that further training and regular dive activities must be conducted for the advancement of their underwater depth limit. According to them, regular diving is essential to acquire scientific data and allowing efficiency of observation, which in many cases is not available by any other means.