The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has launched the “Guard My Nest” sea turtle conservation program to convince tourists and residents alike to be pawikan-friendly.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said Christmastime is also the hatching season of endangered marine turtles (pawikan), which may nests on beaches and mangroves in the Subic area.
Garcia said the presence of the turtles in Subic make the place very special as he urged people to report any sighting and nesting to the SBMA Ecology Center.
“These are gentle creatures that need our protection, for without our help they would likely face extinction,” he added.
Experts say that ‘pawikans’ spend most of their lives in the sea and get all the things they need there, even mating. Moreover, during nesting season, the females return to the shore, usually in the same place where they were hatched.
“This is why we discourage pavement constructions on the beach where the turtles lay eggs, and urge establishments to minimize lighting at night because this disorients the pawikan,” Garcia pointed out.
He also called on everyone to help keep the Subic beaches clean and make it suitable for nesting. Marine Turtles lay their eggs mostly during the cold months from September to February.
The SBMA Ecology Center identified seven nesting sites for marine turtles, which includes the beaches at the Waterfront area, All Hands, Dungaree, Edgewater, Grande Island, Camayan, and Minanga.
“All of these areas have resorts and other commercial tourism establishments, which makes it really important for thse stakeholders to join us in this campaign,” Garcia reiterated.