Bataan Pawikan Sanctuary – Bataan Pawikan Conservation Center
It was Skye’s 5th birthday and we were looking for something to do that will not involve a fast food party. We are not fans of noise and crowds. I initially booked a week-long trip to Hong Kong – Macau but decided to not pursue it because of the unrest happening in Hong Kong now. I told JimBry, “Maybe a family camping trip would be great?” He agreed. To come up with a more cheerful jaunt, we invited some homeschooling families to join us.
We initially set the camping trip in Batangas but changed it to Bataan Pawikan Conservation Center for a more meaningful journey (you’ll know why later). The first date we chose, December 2, was the Barangay fiesta so Mr. Manolo, the head of Bantay Pawikan team, requested that we adjust the date as they will be busy preparing by then. We happily moved the trip to December 9, the exact date Skye was born! The universe has conspired. Yay!
The day of the camping trip came. Four homeschooler families joined us in Bataan Pawikan Conservation Center. We set up our lunch and camp before we attended the seminar with Mr. Manolo where he discussed everything that we need to know about the place, the pawikans, and the conservation efforts of the locals. Everything went smoothly and we learned a lot whilst having fun!
ABOUT PAWIKAN CONSERVATION CENTER BATAAN
Bataan Pawikan Conservation Center is a local initiative that aims to protect marine turtles in the area.
Once upon a time, members of Bantay Pawikan team were poachers. They kill baby pawikans by illegally digging and selling their eggs to earn. Through the information campaigns of DENR and LGU, they were converted from bad guys to good guys. They now help in rescuing injured pawikans and spearhead initiatives to stop harmful activities against these cute marine animals.
Pawikan Conservation Center is a non-profit organization. The fees they ask from visitors help to sustain the project and provide the needs of the volunteers. Don’t be stingy – support and share.
RELEASE OF BABY PAWIKANS BACK TO THE SEA
During our visit, hundreds of eggs just hatched early that morning. Yay! Such perfect timing, eh?!
After the seminar, around 5PM, as the sun idly sets down the horizon, kissing the vast sea along the process, we released baby turtles back to the wild. The sky was crimson red. The waves dancing in joy. The baby turtles scurried their way to the unknown. It was a magical experience.
Should the little creatures survive the rough and vast ocean, they will come back to the very same beach 3 decades from now lay their eggs. Bittersweet.
Every now and then, I will remind my daughter of this experience and urge her to go back to this same place someday. The place that taught her how some goodbyes means freedom to start a new life.
RATES IN BATAAN PAWIKAN CONSERVATION CENTER
|Camping Fee||₱250 per head|
|Patrol Fee||₱50 per head – optional|
|Pawikan Release Fee||₱50 per head – optional|
|Seminar and Entrance Fees||₱30 per person|
Contact numbers: 09216302842 and 09066155546. Advice Mr. Manolo ahead of time if you plan to visit.
PAWIKAN CONSERVATION CENTER BATAAN SAMPLE ITINERARY
This IT (made by our friend Julius Caesar Nuguit) was based on our 2-day camping trip to Pawikan Conservation Center Bataan.
|06:00AM-07:00AM||Stopover at Petron NLEX for breakfast and stock up on supplies (if needed)|
|11:00AM-12:00PM||ETA Morong Public Market. Lunch and stock up on food, ingredients, and water.|
|01:00PM||ETA Pawikan Conservation Center (PCC). Registration & Beach Camp setup.|
|02:00-3:00PM||Seminar with Chairman Manolo Ibias: History of PCC, Pawikan Lifecycle, Different Pawikan Species, Conservation Efforts|
|03:00PM-04:00PM||Free Time. Swimming. Sunset Photo Op.|
|5:00PM-6:00PM||Release of Pawikan hatchlings. Dinner Preparations.|
|09:00PM-11:00PM||Night Patrol (4km beach walk)|
|05:00AM-06:00AM||Rise & Shine. Breakfast Preparations. Breakfast.|
|07:00AM-10:00AM||Rest. Play. Swim. Clean-up. Break Camp.|
|12NN – onwards||Side Trip – Mount Samat National Shrine (Pilar, Bataan) – one-hour drive|
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not expect too much. Mother nature has its own schedule, so if there are no hatchlings on the day of your visit, or if you fail to see a Mother Pawikan giving birth, do not get frustrated. It is no one’s fault. Novembers to Februaries are the peak season for Pawikans to visit the beach to lay their eggs. If you do not chance upon one, then that should be expected. They do not lay eggs at our convenience but based on their natural calling.
OTHER ACTIVITIES TO DO IN BATAAN AND NEARBY PROVINCES
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