MASAFA: A Fishy Story

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Magoong and Samburon Fisherman Association (MASAFA) is a group of fisherfolk in the two coastal barangays of Linamon,Lanao del Norte taking responsibility in the management of the established marine protected area (MPA) of  LGU Linamon.  Community-based projects is a strategy  found to be effective in marine protection and preservation among coastal areas.

The group actively participated in the coral transplantation project that aimed to preserved and enhance the coral reefs in the area.  The six-hectare MPA is under the responsibility of MASAFA committing to protect its surrounding waters.  They are patrolling the the area to prevent unwanted intruders disturbing the waters which includes beach goers.

As recipient of NRM project, the group was provided assistance in terms of income generating activities as alternative source of livelihood for the fisherfolk. A start-up capital of PhP 250,000.00 for their proposed  bangus production through fish cages  which they will managed to improve their capacity and capability to implement economic activities for the community.  As on-ground investments to support for their livelihood and improve their incomes.

MASAFA is just one of the rural communities that receive funding and technical support to pursue the objectives of the Mindanao Rural Development Program 2 in pump-priming Mindanao’s rural economy.

Celebrating Month of Ocean 2012

It’s about LIFE!

The merry month of May gave a wonderful promise  in terms of underwater undertakings.  Although I was limiting my travels outside the region, it was not a hindrance as I will be doing my works to assist in the final phase of the Linamon project.  Just that the Month of Ocean fell on this month, my underground works relative to the Coral Transplantation in the newly established marine protected area (MPA) in the Linamon waters within the jurisdiction of Barangay Magoong and Barangay Samburon, was dedicated for the marine world.  The significance of this last important ecosystem on earth can not be undermined, it is vital in maintaining the biological diversity of our world’s oceans.

Coral transplantation in the area is success!

For three weekends I had a wonderful and productive time with the fisherfolk in Linamon and had a total of nine dives in the area.  The progress and the completion of the works is an assurance that the restoration project would greatly increase the marine species in the site.  The biodiversity is evident as we found nudis, young crinoids, variety of juvenile

The sanctuary is now home to variety of specie

fishes and other invertebrates.  A vibrant coral started to sprout in the substrates, two baby nudis crawling on the module reef, a clown triggerfish roaming around. When two years ago, it was just a bare sandy area with no life at all. Angel and I basked in the clear waters going around the area observing each of the modules, either planted recently or almost two years ago.  What a sight while we took a closer look of the substrates just planted, a lionfish hung in mid-water near us as if observing us too! Our dives was for the coral transplantation and clean-up in the sanctuary.

A migrant lionfish swimming coyly near us!

The waters is home to me, the ocean a large kingdom filled with colorful life – incredibly beautiful and mysterious!  The underwater world is wonderful to behold.  This earth’s treasure needs our care and protection. What about you, how do you celebrate the Month of Ocean?

At Work: Beyond the Surface

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Finally, the concluding phase of the transplantation project took off and the massive operations started few days back.  The stakeholders eagerly waited for the completion of the project, it has been delayed and long been overdue from its timelines. To finish it off, the one hectare nursery from the six hectares marine protected area will be transplanted with acropora corals, twenty five modules will be fully planted, approximately about 4000 pvc pipe molders will be in placed.  It’s a formidable task, as of last week they planted about 1/10 of the total target area.

Despite a long week at work, I chose to spend my weekend in Linamon for the underground work.  The desire was so great and the Lord again perfectly arranged things for the trip.  The last time I went down the area was twenty months ago when few substrates were plant-tested with acropora corals taken from the nearby area of the sanctuary.  There had been great changes after such period, I would say for the better.  The plantlets have grown and branched out greatly – the tower substrates now looked like full-grown shrub or a small tree.  The concrete substrates withstood two typhoons that hit the region during the period, which could only mean it could last long from water currents and fierce movements underwater.

On a larger scale, the socio-economic impact of this project has favorably affected the community, beginning to understand the obligation to protect the environment and the resources where they are dependent for their livelihood.  The fisherfolk association of Samburon and Magoong have unite themselves to enforce and support the ordinance for the marine protected area.

The descents didn’t just freshen my gills but in more ways renewed my hope that we still can do something to protect and enhance our degrading underwater world.  We just need to get our acts together.


Linamon is situated in Lanao del Norte, the first town after Iligan City.  The famous Tinago Falls (western bank) is under the jurisdiction of this municipality. Another Natural Resource Management (NRM) project, the Preservation and Protection of Tinago Watershed under the MRDP is also in place.

The Linamon Project

The site in Barangay Samburon, Linamon, Lanao del Norte

In few days, we will commence our work in the Linamon coral transplantation, just few more days.  We have waited for so long, but now we will finally do it. The trajectory given by World Bank mandated to complete the works not later than June 30.  And it was a tall order.

Now, I can only imagine the dives that have to be done to finish the remaining area of the one hectare coral nursery.  For sure, it would be work unlimited underwater, for marine life preservation and protection in the area.  The community is involved in this project and have fully participated since it all started, one of the best practices to ensure the sustainability of the marine protected area. Finishing off the one hectare coral nursery is indeed a gargantuan task.

Planted corals on substrates
Planted corals on substrates

It’s been almost twenty months since I last joined them in the evaluation of the first few substrates that were tested.  Soon, I would be working in a different environment under different pressure.  Breathing underwater in gears, carefully planting the materials in “pots” in silence.  It’s pretty outlandish and not everybody has the opportunity to do this kind of work for the marine environment.

In few days I’ll be joining the good men of Linamon for this noble task and I can hardly wait. In few days…

NB. Underwater photo courtesy of Mr. Lemuel Alfeche

Mission: Coral Watch

let’s ACT now!

A few days back I received the first Coral Watch newsletter from Coral Watch with a personal note from Chris.  It reminds me somehow that I haven’t done any coral monitoring since I received the kit from CW. It’s been over a year  when I signed up as a volunteer and I remembered I was too ecstatic when I got  the kit, grateful that it was for real and I am entrusted with some noble task for the underwater life.

I shared the materials with my dive buddy so he could also impart to marine enthusiasts the great idea of monitoring the corals in our local waters.  In a sense I felt guilty that I haven’t started my share in doing this formidable task. Secondly, I havent decided yet which strategic spot should I do my monitoring as it is necessary I would be frequently visiting the area.  Well, I need to stop and rethink about putting in order my plan so I could start my task soon.  To date, there are 1,741 surveys and 31,284 corals surveyed, hoping that more will be added  in the next months.

Just as the year is about to end, I’m organizing my 2011 plans.  Now, I have identified to position my monitoring in Sohoton waters – being a favorite place and where preservation for sustainable marine resources is one of the community’s agenda.  I’m sure it wouldn’t be too strange for them to assist and support me with this endeavor, the site would be perfect as I frequetly visiting,   there will be continuity of monitoring.  Mainly it would be monitoring of coral bleaching and assessment of coral health. I need to join the force of people who have great concern for the marine world before global warming can overtake us. I can’t wait to start this!

I have something worthwhile to waste my time with when I go snorkeling, I can bring my diving  and water escapades  to another level.  In my own way, I can spread the word albeit slowly but surely and let others be educated, passionate and involved in reef health monitoring.  My love for marine life could never be limited by just watching in awe and scribbling on my log describing wonderful experiences, there is something more!  I need to roll up my sleeves for my second home and friends. I can’t help to be bullish that we can restore our threatened environment before it will be too late!