Enjoy nature before school begins

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If going on outdoor adventure is your style, then now’s the time to plan for a few more trips before vacation season ends. There are unique wildlife and biodiversity in the country that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

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But before you head out to the great unknown, take note of these reminders to ensure a better experience for you and the environment.

Don’t get lost, follow the trail. Whenever campers and hikers head out to the outdoors, they leave a potentially destructive impact on the environment. If you’ve seen lines of shrubs and seedlings trampled by feet that cut right in the middle of forests, then you know. Over time, these dirt paths devoid of vegetation grow wider until it becomes less like being in a teeming forest area and more like struggling through a muddy non-maintained backyard.

Fortunately, this effect can be easily managed by following the established trails in any outdoor park. Travelling on these trails instead of making your own helps in limiting the area that is affected when hundreds of pairs of feet pass through.

Whenever campers fail to follow trails, they risk ruining the very beauty they sought to appreciate. Don’t be selfish and save some for the next tripper.

Watch out for wildlife. The Philippines is one of the 17 megadiverse countries when it comes to wildlife. Any of the tiny insects crawling up branches, the giant trees circling a campsite, or the colourful birds vocalizing in the air can be an endemic species (found only in the country) or even previously undiscovered!

The important thing to remember is to always let wildlife be in the wild. Trying to approach a wild animal can trigger their aggressive behaviour, but don’t panic! Contrary to popular belief, most wild animals do not actively seek to harm people. They’re probably more scared of you than you are of them.

The Philippine Wildlife Act also makes it illegal for anyone to catch or hunt wildlife anywhere in the country. Being stuck in jail would be a serious setback in exploring.

No touching, no feeding! If going diving or snorkelling, be prepared to see fish, corals, anemone, and other sea creatures with more colors than your biggest childhood box of crayons. Looking, observing, and photographing are all allowed, but do not touch them for their safety as well as your own.

Several species of fish can be dangerous when they are threatened by, say, a snorkeler or a diver attempting to get close enough to touch it.

Take the Surgeonfish, one of the most common brightly colored fish that can be seen all over the Philippines. To a passive observer just swimming around, it is harmless, but to an aggressor, it can unsheathe a sharp blade-like spine from their tail to cut its attacker.

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