Islands and Beaches
Mindanao's "Sleepy Shores" Come To Life In One Of The Most Beautiful Reefs In PH
Choose Philippines | Jun 19, 2017
This beach resort in Medina, Misamis Oriental got its name for its mesmerizing but sleep-inducing beautiful shores along Gingoog Bay. Duka Bay Resort, arguably one of the coziest dive resort in the coast of northern Mindanao, was named after the word Visayan word "duka" which means sleepy in a seeming reference to the 1970s instrumental hit music of the Johhny Pearson Orchestra.
But this resort will be sleepy shores no more as it recently came to life and became the hub of a marine ecological program that will redefine and reshape the small fishing village.
Last summer, it hosted the ninth edition of Shore It Up, an award-winning social responsibility endeavor of the Metro Pacific Investment Corp. which was participated in by volunteer scuba divers from the business group and locals from the community.
The center of activity was “Duka Reef”, a 30-hectare Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Gingoog Bay, a fishery reserve which takes pride in its coral research and enhancement and protection measures.
It boasts of 2,000 species of fish 5,000 species of clams, mollusks and crustaceans, 22 whale and dolphin species; more than 900 seaweed species; and more than 400 coral species.
Shore It Up involved a simultaneous solid waste cleanup in the sea bed and along the 7-km stretch along the nine beachfront barangays of the Medina was also held, participated in by 2,023 from government and community organizations.
The underwater and coastal cleanup netted 787 kgs consisting mostly of non-biodegradable solid wastes. “The fight to preserve the environment is easier said than done. It is a life-long quest. In a small way we started protecting our marine biology,” says Medina Mayor Donato Chan.
The two-day environmental program also consisted of the Junior Environmental Scouts (JES), a creative educational component for children to inculcate concern for Mother Earth through creative art, story-telling and interactive activities. Facilitated by the MVP Group volunteer divers, the event gathered some 200 elementary students from Medina. The divers also assembled and deployed of marker buoys where boats can dock near the reef without dropping anchor, which may damage corals.
According to Metro Pacific vice president for public relations and corporate communications Melody Del Rosario, As part of a long-term sustainable program, the SIU will train interested local volunteers to be certified scuba divers, while fisherfolk will be trained for the Tawike Monitoring Project in recording sightings of whale sharks which will serve as basis for conservation programs and a possible eco-tourism activity.
Since its inception in 2009, the program has tapped more than 70,000 volunteers, and has partnered with some 300 local and national government agencies, community organizations, socio-civic groups, and private entities.
Shore It Up has been hosted by key coastal areas such as Mabini, Batangas; Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro; Subic Bay Freeport Zone; Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City, Pangasinan; Del Carmen in Siargao Island, and Panglao and Pamilacan Islands in Bohol, and Surigao City.
Previous SIU undertakings brought about the establishment of Mangrove Propagation and Information Centers, coral laboratories and community-based environmental and tourism-related programs. Underwater photos by Penn Delos Santos.
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