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Pawikan Conservation

For the month of February, my friends and I decided to spread the love by joining Route +63 on an eco-voluntourism trip to the Pawikan Conservation Center at Morong, Bataan. Once again, I am blown away by the Earth, its people, and our amazing country.

Reasons why I loved this trip [and why I think all of you will love it too]:

3 hours away from Metro Manila:

Can you believe it? That’s the same amount of time I spend commuting to and from work! We left Mindanao Ave. at around 7 AM and it took us 2 hours (again, wow) to get to Mt. Samat, and about another hour to get to the Pawikan Conservation Center.

I was asleep for most of the ride [and even if I were awake I’m always lost] so you can’t really count on me or this post for directions. Hehe.

Clean beaches:

The sand is grayish brown, but really fine. It isn’t glamorous, but props to the center for keeping it really clean. My favorite part about the beach, however, is the not-so-salty salt water. I am the biggest wuss about having salt water in my eyes, but I was actually able to go goggle-less and it didn’t hurt at all. #achievement

Mama Turtles:

Pawikan

At around 9-12 mn, you can patrol the beach to look out for the Pawikan hens [or Mama Turtles as I like to call them] visiting the beach to lay their eggs. Note that the night patrol must be done with the volunteers from the center so you don’t scare away the Mama turtles.

Sky full of stars:

Can I just say, I LOVE STARS. So even if you don’t actually see a Mama Turtle [like us], the night patrol is still such a beautiful experience because you get to see this:

My shaky camera definitely did not do this one justice.

My shaky camera definitely did not do this one justice.

WOW RIGHT? I can’t even explain how absolutely awesome it was to just chill under all of those stars.

Trivia: Pawikan hatchlings find their way to the sea because the reflection of the moonlight on the water makes the sea twinkle. If that isn’t the most magical first memory of the world, I don’t know what is.

BABY PAWIKANS:

NEED I SAY MORE?

No, but I will anyway. IF there are hatchlings, the volunteers will get to [give them a name] and release them on the beach. Watching them walk/waddle/whatever on the sand is one of the cutest things ever. When you see them finally hit the water, it will be a mix of #ProudParentMoment and thinking about Crush from Finding Nemo.

NOTE: Flash photography should not be used on the Pawikans (both the mother and the hatchlings) as this may temporarily “blind” them.

Trivia: Once they hit the water, baby pawikans go on a swimming frenzy (non-stop swimming) that can last for several days. Yup. Cute. I know.

Photo by Lourdes Tan

Click the photo for the full video by Lourdes Tan

NOTE: Swimming with the baby Pawikans is highly discouraged unless you are experienced in dealing with wildlife. Your movements may startle them and cause them to drown. Lulu (Lourdes Tan) asked permission from our guides before taking this video and she made sure to keep a safe distance from the Pawikan’s path. Enjoy responsibly, people! 🙂

Last, but not the least, my lovely travel buddies:

Thanks for the Turtle-y awesome weekend! 🙂
Photo by Kat Boado

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