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View Full Version : Awesome article Mike!


MrSandman
04/05/2003, 10:48 PM
Hi Mike,

I just finished reading the article titled "Meet Your Collectors: Palauig" and found it very heartwarming and intriguing. I'm also filipino and have experienced many of the stories you told firsthand. Living in the province is one heck of an adventure! I have yet to go diving with collectors, but i did do some snorkeling when i was there. Those Banca rides are lots of fun eh? The food is rich and tasty (although most of the time i never asked what it was i was eating, out of fear :D). What other resorts did you visit on your trip? Where was the best snorkeling/diving that you found there?

The province is full of hard working and proud people. On the other hand, there are also people who are dishonest and corrupt. It doesn't surprise me one bit that these honest collectors are constantly swindled. I only wish that there was more we could do for them, such as not support the dishonest screeners.

mkirda
04/06/2003, 09:59 AM
Best resort I have stayed at was in Batangas/Anilao, and was called Balai House. Nipa hut with modern plumbing, right next to the shore. Diving was probably some of the nicest I saw in the Philippines so far. I still have not done as much diving there as I would like.

Some of the nicest snorkelling was in shallow water off the island of Coron. The diving was not so great due to the poor visibility. I would have probably prefered to snorkel all day instead.

Glad you liked the article. I really have to thank my wife for being willing enough to actually let me go on these adventures!

Regards.
Mike Kirda

pondfrog
04/07/2003, 01:39 PM
Mike,

I simply have to thank you for an absolutely intriguing read on a day in the life of these collectors. Your portrayal of their hardships certainly brings to light the unfortunate corrupt side of our hobby. I would hope that your article spawns an attempt to correct these problems by someone in a postition to do so. I fear that there is little in the way of a solution to the practices of the exporters. If we try to be responsible hobbyists buying "captive" raised corals and fish when available, doesn't that only place more pressure on the exporters to make more money off the declining sales that they experience, thus encouraging more abuse of the individual collector. I don't know what the answer is at this point. I hope your article brings the light of the reality of the situation to all hobbyists so that we as a group may arrive at a solution. Thank you again for an enlightening article that was both well written and photographed.
Steve

lakerfan
04/07/2003, 02:16 PM
Great Article. I'm Filipino as well, and I visited the Philipines in January of 2002. One of the things we did down there was visit a resort (sorry don't know where it was). I took a boat ride over some of the reefs and saw some of the fishermen take in their catch. It was truly quite a sight to see. While there, I also had the opportunity to feast in some big fish that we would normally see in our tanks, some of it was good, and some I would just leave in the tanks.

It did upset me that children were selling bleached corals from smaller boats. Knowing that it was a resort area, they would come by on their boats about 15-20 feet from the shore (No swimming needed for us tourists, you can still walk this far away from shore) Most of the corals they were selling were 3-5 feet in width:(

Again, thanks for sharing your experience. Hopefully, next time I'm in the Philipines I can go snorkeling or take a dive to see the reefs:)

mkirda
04/07/2003, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by pondfrog
I fear that there is little in the way of a solution to the practices of the exporters. If we try to be responsible hobbyists buying "captive" raised corals and fish when available, doesn't that only place more pressure on the exporters to make more money off the declining sales that they experience, thus encouraging more abuse of the individual collector. I don't know what the answer is at this point.

Thanks for the kind words, Steve.

It doesn't have to end this way- And to MAC's credit, I think this is what they are attempting to fix.

There are answers for all the problems, but I do have to say that everything involves getting enough money to the collectors doing the right thing. That means paying them a bit more. Not a lot, but enough to make it worthwhile to them to stick to it.

Already some exporters are doing this. Aquarium Habitat went entirely net-caught, and pays the collectors more than the PTFEA does. So the bulk of the net-caught fish go to her.

There will be more on this topic that follows...

Regards.
Mike Kirda

mkirda
04/07/2003, 02:43 PM
Originally posted by lakerfan
It did upset me that children were selling bleached corals from smaller boats. Knowing that it was a resort area, they would come by on their boats about 15-20 feet from the shore (No swimming needed for us tourists, you can still walk this far away from shore) Most of the corals they were selling were 3-5 feet in width:(

Again, thanks for sharing your experience. Hopefully, next time I'm in the Philipines I can go snorkeling or take a dive to see the reefs:)

I was talking to Gregor Hodgson on Friday- He told me that coral collection (such as you describe) is punishable by the death penalty. And yet, since 1986, when the law was introduced, that penalty has never been meted out...

I never saw anything like that- but if I did, I wonder how they would expect us to take home a 3-5 foot coral?!?! Even the largest Balikbayan Box wouldn't hold such a beast!

From the air, it looks like the reefs between Mindoro and Coron would be a wonderful live aboard dive trip... Maybe it is Apo Reef? Time and wife willing, I'll head there next trip.

Regards.
Mike Kirda

MrSandman
04/07/2003, 03:00 PM
Hey Mike,

Have you been to Boracay lately? When i was there about 10 years ago their coral reef was awesome! I could not believe the amount of life. I wonder if the reefs have suffered as of late due to the amount of tourism publicity it gets.

mkirda
04/07/2003, 03:05 PM
Originally posted by MrSandman
Hey Mike,

Have you been to Boracay lately? When i was there about 10 years ago their coral reef was awesome! I could not believe the amount of life. I wonder if the reefs have suffered as of late due to the amount of tourism publicity it gets.

Nope, and frankly, I don't intend to go. Not really my style of place... Built-up touristy places with mega-hotels, like Cancun, etc. are not my style.

Plus, that news story about the beaches being closed there due to high E. coli-levels being found in the water?!?!
Nope, not interested. Even if it is supposedly 'fixed' now...

Regards.
Mike Kirda
P.S. I do understand it is a beautiful beach though.