Life is Awesome

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   Upon waking up in the morning before starting your day, expect life as awesome–see it, imagine it, feel it. Set aside worries and take a More »

Family is Everything

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   Our greatest inspiration in life is our family—parents, siblings, wife, husband, niece and nephews even our grandparents. Not only the biological family but also true More »

Flower Pattern and Mandala in Sweet Potato

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   Few days ago I crave to eat sweet potatoes cooked in coconut milk with sugar and jackfruit meat. While chopping the sweet potatoes (Camote in More »

Understanding People

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   When looking at people is like trying to look at a pair of slipper with hundred varieties of style and of color. All look similar More »

Forgive Others for not Being Kind

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon    To understand people of how they act and misbehave is the kindest thing we do to ourselves. I repeat, it is the kindest and most beautiful More »

Continue that Dream! Happy 2017!

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon     Life without a dream is nothing! It is the fire that keep us going. It gives life to the soul. It is the breath of More »

Small Note

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   While going to the vet clinic to pick-up my rescued cat after his neuter, a man approached us with his small note written “Apology for More »

Smile Don’t Cost a Thing

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon “Good morning ma’am,” the lady security guard says to the staffs of women who pass by at the x-ray security machine at the entrance of a More »

“Seeking for an Answer”-Personal Experiences about Religion

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   It is not a surprise to me if some people hate me for what I am writing about religion and cannot accept some ideas that More »

Usual Unusual

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   It was 12th of February, Friday after office during rushed hour where traffic is so heavy and commuting is such a burden.  It is so More »

Category Archives: Earth and Me

Spirit Orb

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon



 Curiosity as it seems we usually gaze at the night sky to find the moon, counting the stars and find the brightest shining one that we even notice the formation of clouds appearing eerie,  beautiful or kind of odd. Every time we look at the night sky, we tend to whisper silently our thoughts, secrets and dreams reminding us that there is more to life beyond what our eyes could ever see. But to those who has psychic ability or very in touch with their intuition, they know that there are spirits hovering in the night even at the dark clouds.

Have you experienced capturing a photo at night and you look at the image there are circles of lights around? Some do not believe that what you capture are spirits. Some insisting it is in the camera setting but do try to make a lot of shots, none of the circle of lights are ever the same. These circle of lights varies in different shape, color and luminance which are called spirit orb.

To those who never believe in spirit orb, they say that the circle formed in the image are molds in the camera lens but I am not convinced of their belief for I personally know that my camera lens is clean free of molds yet it captures circle of lights. It is not only in the night that you can capture these mysterious form of light but also in day time. Usually a lot of these can be captured where nature is present like in the forest, mountain, cave, rivers and near the ocean. While some in abandoned house or even at your own house where spirit guides are present.

Few hours ago, I went out to the balcony to look for the brightest star. There is something strange in the clouds, what I found is the shade of reddish pale purple. I thought it was the moon covered by the clouds but when I look at the right side of the sky, I was surprised I saw the moon nearly covered by layers of clouds. I want to capture the shade of reddish violet so I grab my camera but when I get back,  the color was almost fading instead what I capture are different spirit orbs and some shades of lavender and cool pastel of pink colors. I search on the net what is celestial event for today, February 25-26, 2018. I was surprised that planet Jupiter is visible in the night sky in Manila, Philippines from past eleven in the evening until Sunday, at past six in the morning. That time frame was when I saw the clouds in reddish pale purple covering something that I thought it was the moon behind it, I find it so amazing!



This formation of light in pale orange at the bottom and white light on top appears to me like a celestial divine ascension.



Orbs are in pale white, some are in pale purple while the middle part has green wave of light.



This is such a beautiful formation of spirit orbs. It is like I am out there within the interior of thousands of stars and planet.



This is my favorite appear in cool pink pastel color and notice the very huge spirit orb on top left  and smaller at the right bottom, both appearing calm and so serene.


Though no one truly knows what are the spirit orb but in ancient traditions, ancestors believe that spirit orbs are incarnated soul to guide them on earth bringing healing and wisdom. While some highly intuitive people believe that spirit orbs are angelic beings, spirit guides or other spirit haven’t crossed to the other side of spiritual plane.

Whether you believe in spirit orb or not, our universe is made up of light, made up of energy. We humans are also made up of light and energy almost the same as particle of stars. Each living entity including animals and plants even fungus and mushrooms have its own energy of light radiating to one another. Even our loved ones who passed away, they have its own energy of light the reason why when we see them in our dreams, some appear in bright light. I truly believe in spirit orb and it is not from dust or molds from the camera.  It is a proof that we live in spiritual world where wavelength of light and energy is continuously emitting sharing to oneness.  Do try it yourself, and you will be surprised that some orbs have colors and not only as plain gray or circle of white light.

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. – Michelangelo



September 16-18 Lunar Eclipse Harvest Full Moon

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon


Harvest Moon

The reddish full moon called Harvest Full Moon that falls every month of September appear as normal full moon but to look at it closer using a telephoto lens brings more surprises!


Have you seen and experienced a lunar eclipse full moon? If you like astronomy or just having a simple curiosity what’s on the sky at night or love to stare at the stars and moon, I’m pretty sure you really want to experience it yourself seeing a lunar eclipse.

Last September 16-18, it was my first time to see such amazing lunar eclipse from a full moon called Harvest Full Moon. Using my telephoto lens, I could be able to see two different lights yet I cannot see the moon. The tricky part is if you look at the sky without any telephoto, it appears as normal full moon except that the lights around it change a bit fast. It was also my first time to see a huge circle around the moon and the effect of the eclipse on the lights surrounding the moon creates a different look. It creates texture and some like an explosion of a nebula aside from interesting colors of a rainbow.

What more is amazing? The infinity symbol in the full moon that both appear in different days except I did not have chance to capture and take photos on the 17th of September ‘coz it’s raining and it is cloudy in Manila.

To share my personal experience on lunar eclipse, here are some of the amazing photos I have recorded for two days of September 16 and 18.



A circle within a circle. Seeing the full moon around a ring is such rare to see in a lifetime!


This is the full moon behind my telephoto sigma lens. The eclipse light appear in a shape of a mushroom but the harvest full moon is not visible.











Bright light of lunar eclipse full moon with blue and orange color on left and right edges











What a surprise seeing the symbol of infinity in the sky


Lunar Eclipse set 3-Sept16

From infinity symbol to fading full moon


Lunar Eclipse-Sept 16 set 4

The ring around the full moon is rare that makes it special. And seeing rainbow colors surrounding the moon is pretty normal but in this eclipse, this occurrence is so fast. If you are using manual mode, your hands must be too fast to adjust the ISO, shutter speed and aperture.


Eclipse Moon-set 2-Sept 18

Eclipse full moon displaying different colors around the moon  then after turns reddish. (photo taken using wide lens in manual mode).


Lunar eclipse moon_Sept 18

Notice the texture of the light and different spectrum of colors surrounding the moon. (photo taken using wide lens in manual mode)


Lunar Eclipse FUll Moon-set 3-Sept 18

Full moon being covered by dark clouds appear such a lovely mystery to me. (photo taken using wide lens in manual mode)


Infinity Symbol-Lunar Eclipse

The amazing symbol of infinity in the sky that I have seen for the first time in my life is like a sacred symbol in the universe! It is like it is telling us that life and the universe is infinite!


Lunar Eclipse-set2

The direction of lunar eclipse light on the 18th of September becomes like a mirror of September 16 eclipse full moon


To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in wild flower holds infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour. -William Blake


Photos copyright 2016 by Margie Babon


Do you know where your trash is going?

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon




Every time you throw a bag of trash, have you ever thought where your garbage is going after being collected by the truck collector? Do you feel guilty of how much waste you are throwing everyday? Have you ever thought that if you only consume fewer resources, trash and garbage’s around us will be less? If you answer yes to all the questions, then you are thinking the welfare of the environment.

It was year 2007 that I was assigned to be part of the documentary about the trash and dump site for the environmental organization in Manila named Mother Earth. At first, I thought it was easy as we are only documenting the Materials Recycling Facility or known as MRF in each of the small town in Metro Manila. Yet the last two days of our shoot was so tough. We went to the dumping site in Rodriguez, Rizal which is part of the mountains of Sierra Madre. In short, the dumping site was situated in the mountains. It was my first time to experience being in the “trash world” that everywhere you look, you are surrounded by waste, rotten garbage, and sack of trash. As a photographer especially for this kind of documentary, your stomach must be tough; the smell is so so bad and very stinky. Even you put handkerchief wrap around your nose and to cover your mouth, still you can smell the garbage.

We arrived in the dumping site at 5:30 in the morning. As we enter the main road going to the mountains, we notice houses and a school and we smell the garbage already. We thought we are almost near since the wind smells rotten. To our surprise, the dumping site is about 15-20 mins. travel yet the air smells so bad. While on our way, we saw some kids in their school uniform walking from the upper road and we noticed that their shoes are wrapped in plastic. “Where do these kids come from?” we asked. Our local guide told us that there are people living within the dumping site and they work as waste-picker. We feel pity for the kids for they walk for more than 30 minutes just to reach the school and the air that they breathe is pollutants from the garbage dump.

As we have reached the site, the security men checked our equipment and our permit from the local government that we are allowed to take photos. To take pictures and videos are very strict considering we are only talking about “trash” but even it is only trash, we all know that the local government or I will say government officials who accept to build dumping sites are earning millions of money. And who won’t accept that amount knowing that this is a major problem in Metro Manila and in any other place not only in the Philippines but anywhere in the world is where to dump the garbage. Though building a dump site cost a lot of money, heck the people living here are below poverty and only relies on the trash they can get in order to eat and survive.

After 15 minutes of waiting for the approval to enter the site, we were ready to document everything. All of us are wearing rubber shoes and we got handkerchief wrapped around our face, and all our cameras are ready for shoot. As we exit the service car, the smell of the trash is so so bad. If your stomach is weak, you will vomit. Remember, we are only at the parking and the main dumping site is about 5-10 minutes walk but the smell of the trash almost stuck inside our nose. We walk and stepping on the road of trash and going to the dump site, all we can see are all trash.  Every mountains and hills we are looking are all trash. We are in the trash world! It was sad that the part of the mountains of Sierra Madre was converted into garbage mountain dump which has no longer difference in mining where mountains are barren. But in here, the soil was gone and turned into mountains of plastic, Styrofoam, metal, clothes, dead animals, rotten food, etc.

Go to the side,  go to the side,” a man across the road yelled on us. We saw trucks coming by and written on it was “Biodegradable” and then another truck came by and written on it was “Non-biodegradable.”   Still walking and almost near to the main site, we are on the upper part of the garbage mountain and the main dumping is in the lower part that we can see already the group of waste-picker wearing t-shirt in uniform of  blue color. When the truck stop, the waste-picker are like small ants and running towards the truck as it unload the garbage. Even from afar, we notice the black color in the air like a fog that is so thick surrounding the waste-picker where the truck unloaded the trash. As we reached the dumping site, the smell becomes stronger and the thick black in the air was all fly! Yes, we are surrounded by large flies!!

It was difficult to shoot; you have to find a spot where fly is fewer. You need to use some sort of paper or your hand to clear the view and let flies go away. The bad part on me was a fly went inside my jeans and bite my butt and made me yell.

As I look around, I feel sad to the waste-picker gathering garbage in order to earn pennies. Though I don’t want to take photos of them and some are shy and don’t want to be captured by my lens, and though half of their face is covered, still some don’t want to be photographed yet I need to take photos since it is part of my job. I was surrounded by trash, flies and waste-picker but then there is one scenario so unforgettable that truly melts my heart upon seeing a pregnant woman who doesn’t have any cover on her face while scavenging for food. And there is another old woman in front of her also scavenging for food. While taking photos of them, the pregnant woman pulled out a styrofoam box with rotten food and has maggots in it. She tasted it and to my surprise she eats it. Then the older woman found a plastic full of left-over food but it doesn’t have any maggots. The pregnant woman said, “Don’t eat that, it has chemical sprayed on it so it won’t get maggots. The left-over food with maggots is safe to it.” That moment though I want to vomit upon seeing her eating even the maggots, I felt very sad of her situation. I think of her health and her baby inside her womb. From the polluted air and even to the rotten food, people living around the dump site are eating left-over food straight from the dump site. If you feel pity about yourself, think of these people who are extremely below poverty, uneducated and the only way they know how to earn money is through gathering of trash. As I look at their face, I think of our taxes where it is going that it should fund their kids to go to school for free.

And what else I have witnessed? That in the dump site, the truck that carries the biodegradable and non-biodegrade is mixed up. What is the use of collecting it separately that when it goes to the dump site, they unload the trash in the same location and same spot. Is it just a cover-up to show people that there is a system that in fact the system is useless?

Dump site in Metro Manila are all financially unsustainable, dangerous and causing environmental pollutants. To fill-up my curiosity about the trash in metro Manila, listed below are interesting information from  “The Garbage Book” published in 2004 for DENR.

  1. A total of 78% of surveyed household had no idea where their collected garbage was taken for final disposal.
  2. Approximately only 720 tons of trash per day went to recycle or compost from estimated trash of 6,700 tons generated per day.
  3. As young as 5 years old kids are waste pickers and scavengers that live and survive in the mountains of smoldering waste.
  4. Over 4,300 waste pickers operate at the dump sites working in the dangerous conditions.
  5. Some of 5,000 tons of waste are illegally dumped in river, creeks, private land and in Manila Bay or burned heavily in a polluted area.
  6. Each year in Metro Manila, over Php3.54 Billion ($64 Million) spent on garbage collection disposal.
  7. For every man, woman and child, Php 295 ($5.40) is spent by the local governance for garbage.
  8. Based on leaching sampling, Rodriguez and Payatas generate an estimated 26 kilograms of lead and 76 kilogram of arsenic annually.
  9. Metro manilas’ dump sites are dangerous, exposed and generate potentially toxic liquids called “leachate.”
  10. Nearly 3,700 health care facilities in Metro Manila generate an estimated 47 tons of medical waste per day with 56% of this waste (26 tons) considered potentially infectious.
  11. On the edge of Laguna de Bay, a community of 125,000 urban poor is being built on 2 million cubic meters of decomposing garbage, at great risk to public health.



  1. In the next 30 years, Metro Manila will generate over 70 million tons of solid waste that requires a line of waste trucks three times round the earth and at a cost over PhP100billion or $1.9 Billion).
  2. In the next 30 years, Metro Manila will generate over 230 Million cubic meter of solid waste and amount equals to a knee deep layer of waste over the entire metropolis (or over 630sq. kilometers) which would fill the country’s largest shopping mall over 175 times.


Pertinent info about the dump site in Metro Manila

Rodriguez, Montalban

  • Opened in 2002
  • 14 hectares
  • 1,200 tons per day
  • Slope instability


Payatas, Quezon City

  • Opened 1973
  • 22 hectares
  • 2,200 tons daily
  • Slope instability


Lingunan, Valenzuela

  • Operating for many years
  • 13 hectares
  • 180 tons daily
  • Flood-prone area


Pulang-lupa Las Pinas

  • Opened 2002
  • 3 hectares
  • 200 tons daily


LupangArenda, Taytay

  • Dumping commenced in 1995
  • 40-80 hectares, expansion plans to 170 hectares
  • Resettlement housing for 25,000 households directly on waste
  • Illicit dump site located on the north shore of Laguna de Bay
  • Waste used as fill to raise surface above the lake flood elevation
  • Acute public health and environmental threats


Dona Petra, Marikina

  • Opened in 1994, closure is planned
  • 2 hectares
  • 160 tons daily


Catmon, Malabaon

  • Opened 1986
  • 5 hectares
  • 210 daily
  • Flood-prone area


What can we do as individual?


Upon witnessing where our trash ended, it truly opened my eyes that as an individual, our action on how we live carries the responsibilitytowards the environment—and this responsibility is about what we eat, what we consume every day that has huge impact on the goodness of the planet. Where to dump our trash is a global problem and if we truly act responsibly, we can lessen the problem by:

  1. Saying huge NO to junk food like bags of potato chips. If there is no demand, there is no supply. People know that junk food is not good for human health but then it becomes a habit to consume it and not a necessity.  What we eat always starts in the family. If you feed your kids and teach them to become aware of what to eat and as they grow, they choose natural and healthy food and dump the processed.
  2. Choose a diet without meat and become a vegetarian which is the major solution to environmental problems we are facing. Raising animals requires too many resources and in order to produce processed products require more resources of water and energy. To become a vegetarian is not only good for your health but it has huge impact of making this planet cleaner, greener and more peaceful to live with without animal cruelty.
  3. Dump straw and never demand for it. People can drink straight from the glass of drinking bottle. Plastic straw are trash and unnecessary. It is only a luxury that pollutes the planet.
  4. Use recycle clothes and never demand too much of new clothes which requires resources and generates tons of trash in making new ones. People who wear recycle clothes are truly helping the planet to lessen the trash disposal.
  5. Support all-natural products which are locally made. Natural products are good for human health and truly a reward for the environment that doesn’t use too much chemical that harms human health and the environment.
  6. Population control. If we really want to lessen the trash we generate each day, we should control human population growth. Individual consumption of resources ended up in a mountain of trash. Population control is the primary solution for ecological problem including solid waste disposal.
  7. Live with simplicity.  Consume local foods of fruits and vegetables. Choose products that are non-toxic. Use health and beauty products that are natural which is better for your wellness and for the wellness of the planet.
  8. Recycle trash and support Material Recycling Facilities in your area. Do waste segregation right at your own home and make it a habit to lessen the trash you dump especially left-over food.
  9. And others..As a citizen of the earth, you know to yourself what is good for the environment. Act on it starting at your own home and teach it  to your family and kids.


To live in full responsibility means not only thinking of our own self but having considerations on how we can contribute for the wellness of the planet. Consuming more products means more use of resources. If we become aware of how we live and by reducing each individual’s demands on unnecessary things, we can reduce the global problem on waste disposal.

Embrace simplicity of living without demanding too much of highly chemical products like perfume, junk foods, and soft drinks and keep asking yourself every time you buy a product, “Do I really need this? Will this end up only as trash in my body and trash to the environment?”

At the end of our shoot, the heat is so high and we are all thirsty. Our videographer offered me some pineapple juice in a plastic with straw. He said, “Margie, you want?”Out of thirst I did grab it and almost to drink but when I saw three large flies inside the plastic, I gave it to him and said “Yuck, no!.”  I asked, “Where did you find this?” And replied, “There is a small stall on the upper left where you can buy some snacks and juice and with free–free tons of flies!.”


Earth Day at Hyperkreeytiv 2016 copy



“The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.”-Richard Rogers


“We in the industrialized world make a greater difference because our ecological footprint, our impact on the condition of the environment, is 40 to 50 times larger than that of people in the developing world.” –Maurice Strong



Information about Metro Manila trash from “The Garbage Book, 2004”

Photo: fromGoogle images

Quote: Brainy Quote


Please People, Have Empathy

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon



Meet “Kitty”, our new rescued kitten that my niece has also have seen before they went to school this morning and felt empathy when they saw her. I also saw her this afternoon (before going to work)she was thrown at the canal by a kid. I saw her running away and helped herself to get out of the dirty water. I really feel sorry for her. Then when I get home, I saw her again sitting beside the canal, in a very poor condition, her eyes were closed full of dirt, she suffered too much from torture of human hands.

After cleaning her with warm water, her eyes begin to open and she feels a little okay though sneezing.

Please people, I know a lot of you hate local stray cats or dogs. When you see them along the street walking, sitting, or pooping, peeing, or digging the garbage, please,  IF YOU DON’T HAVE FOOD TO FEED THEM, PLEASE LEAVE THEM ALONE AND NEVER HURT THEM.  Do not kick them, spit on them, or even stone them. These animals has life, they too can get hurt, they too feel the pain when tortured slowly.

Animals like dogs and cats can suffer emotionally, they have sharp memories mostly when they get hurt. Like humans, they too get traumatized and it won’t be easily erased unless someone shows a lot of care.

We live in this world not only for our own reason of existence–to eat, to have shelter, to have education, to enjoy life, BUT we also created to co-exist with other creations and that includes animals. We were created to respect animals and give them unconditional love thru understanding and acceptance.

Society… people, please have empathy with the animals.



“Vanishing”- The Case of Philippine Fauna

Written, Photographed and Posted By: Margie Babon


Sierra Madre

Trekking the forest of Sierra Madre in Aurora province walking for more than three hours under the heat and rain.


When I was seven years old I keep watching National Geographic special and like any other kid I am fascinated with the different animals and its beautiful colors.  Every time I watch a featured wildlife, I keep wishing that someday I will see them in the wild to take photos. I want to become a wildlife photographer. During high school that I still keep watching National geographic and collected some of the colorful magazine, I told my father I want to become a marine biologist. Then my father keep on joking me that when I capture photos of beautiful ocean and marine life, there is a shark that will assist me. They said it is not practical course and finding a job will be difficult so I ended up taking Architecture.

In 2005 while working as freelance architect and part-time faculty, something magical happened. I was given an opportunity to work for environmental organization. While taking photos of the beautiful scenery in Aurora, they discovered my talent in photography. With the use of only point and shoot camera, they found my composition exceptional and they wanted me to be part of the team for the documentary film project about indigenous people. A year after we finished the documentary where I work as a photographer and researcher, another documentary project came but this time will feature the endangered and endemic wildlife of the Philippines. It was like the destiny sought me to experience what I am dreaming of when I was seven years old. Since I was working as freelance and the opportunity to see the Philippine forest is a rare experience, I accepted the job to become a wildlife photographer.

There is a saying, “to find an adventure, walk towards the road less traveled,” and this saying perfectly fits the job for a wildlife field photographer that requires huge patience, sacrifice and enormous amount of bravery. Being a wildlife photographer is the toughest experience I ever had in my entire life. Yet the hardship I gain makes me proud that I overcome my fear and go beyond of my skills to get out of my comfort zone. To see the glimpse of the animals even for only few minutes is such an amazing experience and though we walk for how many hours, and waiting for how many hours to let animals appear are worth the effort. The chance of meeting with the different local and international wildlife biologist that welcome us to join their field work is one of a kind moment in my life. We learn a lot about the behavior of animals and its connection to the environment.


Catching the light by the river of Isabela in Northern Luzon at five in the morning


From northern island of Luzon down to the south of Surigao in Mindanao, we have traveled more than twelve provinces and more than six islands to search some of highly threatened, endangered, and endemic species in the country like Philippine eagle, Philippine cockatoo, and Philippine crocodile. We experience what the biologists are doing on trekking the mountains for more than four hours to study the species. All the places we’ve been through, every endemic fauna are having the same fate—they are being eaten by the locals due to poverty. Added to the danger of survival is the irresponsible eco-tourism where animals are being put to cage to sell for trading, and for zoo attraction.

Aside from the scientific explanation of the behavior of the animals, part of their existence are interesting stories and folklore. Like the wrinkle-lipped bat in Bohol where thousands are living in a cave. A cave that is enchanted and sacred as what the locals believe until now. To visit the bats for a study and for getting the guano for local livelihood, locals are silently asking permission and whisper a prayer. Because they see the cave as mysterious, to go to the cave must be during daytime. They believe that there are spirits of nature living inside the cave that should be respected. According to the folklore, the cave is a provider for the needs of the people but only to borrow. One of the stories is about the couple who will get married and the woman wants a beautiful wedding dress but she could not afford to buy. She went to the cave to ask for what she needs then the next day when she returns, she found a dress for her wedding.

In the middle of afternoon shooting for film and photo while inside the cave, we noticed at the ceiling where bats are flying through, a small shadow of a bat in a form of king and queen sitting on a throne wearing a crown. It was also a bit odd that a lot wrinkle-lipped bat were crawling on the ground though they have complete wings to fly. They just stay on the ground and they do not fly. We asked the biologist why some bats don’t fly, she answered, “I do not know, it appears mysterious to me that they do not fly. And look at the insects eating them alive. It looks to me that they were punished.”  After an hour of filming, we heard a noise near the main entrance, seems a huge rock fell. We get scared and we went in a hurry, our local guide said “the spirit wants us to leave; it is past five already.”


Wrinkle-lipped bat in Bohol


A mound of guano from thousands of bats dwelling inside the sacred cave. The  supply of guano (fertilizer from feces of bats) becomes the livelihood of the locals.



Endemic Fauna

One of the biodiversity hot spots of endemic and threatened wildlife aside from Galapagos Island is Philippines. Like in any places in the world, flora and fauna in the country is being neglected by the government. Instead the government is more interested in gaining money in destroying the mountains and oceans through logging and mining resulting to habitat loss. It is such a shame that people who get concern for the conservation of endangered animals in the Philippines are mostly foreigner and ex-pat. They apply grant and sponsorship to conserve and save the remaining endemic species in few islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. And through their help and cooperation, we reached isolated places of protected area and forest sanctuary far from local houses and urban threat.

Here are some of the endemic and critically endangered fauna that we encounter in the Philippine wild by trekking the mountains and crossing the river for how many hours under the heat and rain. Some photos are from captivity of conservation group.


Philippine cockatoo

Phil Cockatoo

Philippine Cockatoo or locally known as “Katala” is highly expensive kind of parrot that cost more than 2,000 USD. Though illegal, there are some found in pet shops in Manila. The rampant wildlife trafficking is the main cause of the Philippine cockatoo to be endangered. One of the old stories on how they decrease in population is by trading of the cockatoo to Muslim people. Indigenous group of southern Palawan are trading it for colorful Muslim cloth called “malong.” Though it was banned, trader put it in a Thermos or flask so that when shipped in a boat, it is not obvious. Some put it in a large skirt of women.  The trading of cockatoo began the history on how southern Palawan was populated by Muslim community.


Calayan Rail

Calayan Rail is same as Okinawa rail of Japan except for its red feet and beak. This is the toughest travel we ever had accomplishing more than 7 hours of boat ride overcoming large waves in the open ocean risking our lives just to have less than 10-minutes glimpse of this endemic flightless bird in Calayan Island. Calayan is part of Babuyan Islands in the isolated northern islands and islet of Luzon.


Taal Sea Snake


Taal Sea snake with flat tail like a fish

Taal Sea snake is one of the seven freshwater snakes in the world and can only be found within the lake of Taal Volcano. It is originally a salt water snake that over a period of time evolved into a fish. Its tail is flat like a fish while the band of black and white pattern is of a snake. When a fishermen took it from his net, they said that locals are catching the snake to chop it as a feed to domesticated pigs.

A volcano within a volcano. Taal lake believed to be enchanted and fishermen have different stories about the mysteries of the lake. Part of history  was the buried of the whole town underneath making the topmost crater as the only visible and surrounded by lake. This is also place where the endemic Tawilis (small fish) can be found.



Visayan Leopard Cat



One of the two leopard cats that are endemic in the Philippines and considered as threatened cats in the world is the Visayan Leopard Cat or locally known as “Maral.” With its large deep blue-green eyes and beautiful leopard pattern, your heart will melt by the beautiful leopard cat found in the wild of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Island which is famous to its hectares of sugar cane farm. Due to spreading of cane farm at the foot of the volcano, leopard cat went down to sugar cane farm to forage for rats as food. Sugar cane farmer are hunting this endangered species for food though some kittens were kept as a pet when the mother was killed, the kittens usually die in captivity.

Mt. Kanlaon in Negros where Leopard cat can be found.

Mt. Kanlaon in Negros where Leopard cat can be found.


Golden-crown Flying Fox


When we met a former hunter named Jun, he admits that he tasted how many times a flying fox which is a common meal in Dumaguete. After he was converted as wildlife biologist guide, he saved two flying foxes that were already in a barbecue, still alive and ready to grill in the market. When he showed to us his adopted flying fox, the holes from the stick are still there though the skin was completely healed.

Golden-crown flying fox can only be found in the Philippines and its diet relies on wild fruits. Due to eco-tourism in Panay Island (which includes the famous beach of Boracay), the golden-crown flying fox reduced in number rapidly making it to the list of endangered species.


If birds are being eaten by local, large animals like wild pig and deer which can be found in the open grazing part of the Philippine forest cannot escape from the human hands. Not only eaten by indigenous people but mostly immigrant and locals are continuously hunting these animals for tourist to sell meat, to collect the skull, antler, jaw with teeth, etc.  Currently, wild pig and deer are highly endangered animals now that were being kept by international conservation group to save some of its remaining species.


Visayan spotted deer

Male Visayan-spotted-deer_Male

Visayan Spotted Deer is the most endangered deer in the world and considered extinct in some islands in Visayas and only exist in the few remaining forest of Negros and Panay. The most distinct feature of golden spots in the body of Visayan spotted deer doesn’t lose its spots even it reaches adulthood. Like any other deer, the male has the only antler that is replaced once a year. The antler is for securing territory and for fighting to win a female Visayan spotted deer.


Visayan Warty pig



The most critically endangered species of wild pig in the world is Visayan Wart Pig. It is endemic to the six islands in Visayas but already extinct in four islands. Small population can be found in the remaining forest in Negros and Panay islands. Usually dark gray to black color, the Visayan Warty pig is small compare to the domesticated pigs. During mating season, the male Visayan Warty pig grows the tuft of hair on the crown of the head that covers the face and obscuring the eyes.


Philippine Brown Deer

Dinalungan Captive Breeding

Photo taken in a small farm owned by local in Aurora


Male Luzon brown deer

Luzon_Female Deer

Female brown deer

Found in the range of Sierra Madre Mountains in Luzon, the Philippine Brown Deer is a source of the meat aside from monkey and wild pig of indigenous people called Agta-Dumagat. But due to migration of people from different parts of Luzon, brown mountain deer declines in population due to hunting and trading.

Luzon deer likes the taste of an ash. Right after the rain, people find a deer tasting the ash in the open burnt area and that is how they are being caught easily. Nowadays, finding a deer is very difficult in Sierra Madre Mountain range.


Visayan Tarictic Hornbill



Endemic to the islands of Guimaras, Masbate, Negros and Panay islands, considered as endangered species with more than a thousand left in the remaining islands of Negros and Panay is the Visayan Tarictic Hornbill. Like other Tarictic Hornbill found in Luzon, Mindoro, and Mindanao which are also endangered, they share common behavior when it comes to mating. Tarictic Hornbill mate for life. Hornbills are hole-nester and they find a dipterocarp tree (hardwood) with a hollow branch.  During the incubating period,the female seal herself from sixty days to ninety days which makes it unique in behavior. With the use of mud, wood dust, small wood stick and food debris, the female will only make a vertical slit that can fit the beak of the male Tarictic to feed her and bring some leaves to clean her feces.  When the male Tarictic die, the female Tarictic sealed in a tree trunk will die of starvation including the hatching.  The male Visayan Tarictic Hornbill has cream breast while the female has black feathers. Hornbills are the “farmers of the forest” as they dispersed the seeds of the fruits they fed on.

Using 500mm lens, got a chance to see a pair of Luzon Rufous Hornbill that I spotted at the Aurora National Park (the other one is on the upper right of the branch).

Using 500mm lends, my first time to see a juvenile Rufous Hornbill with light color body



Philippine Long-Tail Macaque


Philippine long-tail macaque is widely distributed all over the Philippines especially in islands near the ocean because it is a crab-eating monkey. Though considered as Nearly Threatened, in some places in the Philippines mostly near City of Manila and urbanized provinces, they are already extinct.

Being on leash for nine years, the monkey on a photo was being kept by a local as a pet. Observing the monkey for an hour seems the monkey is crazy walking back and forth, back and forth trying to get out of the leash. I can feel his longing to be free and it was sad that monkeys are being hunt not only for food but as a pet, and for product experiment.


All things about environmental conservation all over the world are facing a struggle.The wildlife of plants, animals, forest, ocean, and river are in critical point of vanishing.  And the main root of this problem is the growing human population. People are hunting animals either for business, profit, or for food. Mountains are converting to residential or converting to cattle ranch, slash and burn, agricultural degradation, logging, mining, commercial over fishing, etc. Due to fast sprawling of urbanization, the remaining nature of wild forest and ocean ecosystem are at risk and always the least priority or not a priority at all. Working for environmental awareness of sharing the stories and why we need to conserve the remaining wildlife is very frustrating. People will rather put their needs first rather than having concern for the planet. Poaching, hunting and grabbing their land are unstoppable. Every living animal in the wild are meant for business pleasure and food source of growing human population. If we will not act now to conserve what is remaining, in few years, flora and fauna will get extinct.

Danao-Lake_Negros_unknown tree species

A beautiful grandeur fresh water tree in Danao Lake located at the Southern part of the Philippines. Most of the trees and other flora are not recorded. Only few biologist study the taxonomy of the Philippine forest. And the only taxonomist of the country Leonard Co was shot and died due to the military and civil encounter while doing field work in  the forest of Visayas.



Golden color frog perching on a tree in the island of Pollilo in Luzon. Most of the animals in the Philippine forest are nocturnal like frog and snakes that are active at night hunting for food or being eaten by a predator.


Pit Viper_PolilloIsland

One of the heart-pumping filming we had is the dangerous pit viper in Polillo island found by a wildlife biologist guide Mang Enteng while looking for an endemic frog found only in Polillo at 10 in the evening.


Almost all these hot spots around the world, most have been destroyed to the point where there is no wildlife and very little of the natural world left. –Jim Fowler

Wild animals are just as confused as people are now. You’ve got toxins in the water, oil, sewage, all sorts of things. –Jack Hannah



The conservation of remaining population of Visayan Warty Pig, Visayan Spotted Deer, Visayan Leopard Cat and Visayan Tarictic Hornbill are being taken care of Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation (NFEFI) in which some species are in captivity. When you visit Bacolod, try to see these endangered species at NFEFI conservation center which is near the Provincial Capitol.

Conservation of Philippine Cockatoo is under Katala Foundation based in Puerto Princesa with satellite office at Nara in southern part of Rizal, Palawan.

Notice we don’t have a Philippine Eagle picture.  We were not allowed to have filming though we spent fare and accommodations going to Davao. The famous and only conservation group of Phil. Eagle in Davao did not allow us for filming. According to them, the whole mountain range where a pair of Philippine Eagle was located for studies was paid and bought the rights by National Geographic to create a story of Philippine Eagle. As they rejected us, we felt that we were not Filipinos to have the right to have photo shoot and filming of our very own endemic wildlife. Few months after, I found a copy of Nat Geo covering the Philippine Eagle in Davao. The story came out as untrue. They show to the reader that the eagle was only found accidentally by a crew while walking and none of the name of the conservation group or any Filipino biologist was mentioned. All were produced by Nat Geo. And this experience gave us a hint that not all the stories they create are true about the wildlife. After that, my childhood admiration about Nat Geo were diminished in an instant.



Philippine Cockatoo photo by Rommel Cruz

Thanks to Noel Dulay for giving me a ride to catch a glimpse of Rufous Hornbill  at Aurora National Park 

Wildlife biologist Riezl Jose for touring us to see the wrinkle-lipped bat in Bohol.

CEAE  team (Boyd  Pickup and Adrian Sanosa) and to the Pres. Jukka Holopainen for the trust you have given me to become a wildlife photographer and see the hidden beauty of the Philippine wildlife through your project expedition.

And to all the wildlife biologists we worked with:  Philippine Mabuya Foundation (Sammy, Bernard, and the team), Lala and Carl for Calayan Rail, Pol Carino for golden-crown flying fox, Mayor Dina of Dinalungan for bringing us to brown deer conservation park, Lisa Paguntalan of Cebu and Negros conservation group, and Liza Dans for Pollilo conservation team.



“Do You Really Know What You Eat” -International Poster Competition 2015


Segunda Llamada 2015

  • Processed foods: Do you really know what you eat?

It´s been a long and arduous business day. You are stuck in traffic on the way home. Your stomach claims for food, then you remember that there´s “nothing”, —once again— for dinner at home. You go to the nearest store to buy something fast that calms your appetite; preferably not too expensive. You’re one of those people who take care of themselves, so you choose a packaged fruit juice, a light sandwich, and a cereal bar from a new “nutritious” line you just saw advertised on television a few days ago. An hour later, satisfied after eating, you find an article about nutritional information.

To be honest, you’ve never worried about those sort of things, because you know you do your best to eat healthy, but you barely have enough time for work. However, this time, curiosity awakens your interest and you have a look at the labels of the recently eaten packaged products which remain at your table. You had never wondered what they actually contained. The only really important thing was to grab them from the shelf, satisfy hunger and discard the packaging; but now that you spend some time thinking about it you land on account of some disturbing data.

The juice that you like so much is actually sugar and fruit that comes from a mysterious concentrate. The bread from the “light” sandwich contains high fructose corn syrup, which should not be that bad, but a quick web search tells you that it is a synthetic sugar substitute, which consumed in excess is related to obesity. Finally, the cereal bar contains so many colorants, chemicals and ingredients you can´t even pronounce, that makes you doubt if it is as nutritious as stated by the model in the advertisement and you end asking yourself if you really know what you eat.


  • Brief

In collaboration with Greenpeace Mexico and Food Myth Busters.

The fast pace of modern life in cities and the bombing of misleading advertisement full of omissions, has made us believe that fast and processed food gives us comfort and practicality, even when it endangers our health and is based on a harmful model that only benefits big companies. Transnational corporations control the industrial agriculture model; spend billions of dollars to exert political pressure and convince us we need all the processed products and foods in our diet and lifestyle.

This same model encourages a system of agrochemicals, pesticides, fertilizers and genetically modified seeds promoted by themselves; justified under a false ideal of feeding the world and its growing population; but omitting they pollute water with toxics, sharpen social inequality in the fields, and limit access to healthy and sustainable consumer choices. Small farmers —who produce 70% of food worldwide—have less support from public policies and more pressure from corporations. Their options are limited to quit farming altogether or join the industrial model, adopting harmful practices such as the use of chemical inputs; making industrial agriculture a vicious circle of high economic, social and environmental cost.

Organic farming shows that it is possible to enjoy healthy eating, and we all have the power to make this a reality. This model protects the soil, water and climate, promoting biodiversity. In turn, it doesn’t pollute the environment with agrochemicals and transgenic crops; and allows a world where producers and consumers, and not corporations, control the food chain.

Whenever you choose natural and fair trade foods you make a choice that benefits your health and that of your family, that empowers those most in need and promotes food sovereignty —our right to decide what to eat and determine who produces it and how. You are what you eat: because of that prefer natural and sustainable source foods over highly processed and packaged ones.



  • A natural and sustainable diet will provide sufficient nutrients to feel better and live a healthy life.
  • The vast majority of processed foods are composed of chemicals, preservatives, substitutes, additives, artificial colors; as well as high amounts of salt, sugar, fat and sodium, which consumed in excess, are associated with diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, renal insufficiency, among others.
  • Supports and empowers small producers and local farmers; promoting sustainable agriculture and fair trade over the agro industrial model.
  • By promoting organic farming you protect the environment,because it doesn’t use agrochemicals and GMOs,protecting soil from erosion, pollution and acidification.
  • Organic farming allows a world where producers and consumers, not corporations, control the food chain.Reduces the environmental impact caused by waste derived from packaging; as well as the resources used during manufacture.
  • Contrary to the general perception; a diet based on natural foods prepared at home is cheaper than processed products and eating out.
  • It´s necessary to reverse the distorted vision of nutrition generated by advertising.
  • To the extent that we as consumers demand healthier products, companies will be forced to broaden their offer,giving higher quality foods.
  • To guide future generations towards healthier habits and a just food model.


SUBMISSION DETAILS (For more details download PDF by clicking the poster below)


Participation is open to professionals and students within the areas of design, visual communication and related careers. No Entry Fee. 

Participants can upload a maximum of 3 proposals (single or conforming series).

Proposals must be uploaded trough the following link:



From Monday May25th, until Monday July 6th at 23:59 of Mexico city time CDT (GMT – 6hrs)



To participate in the competition, entries sent must include the following:


Size: 60x90cm (3545 x 5313px – 150 ppi)

Vertical format only. Black ink or grayscale,

JPG, Grayscale mode, (NO RGB / CMYK) maximum 5MB.



600x900px – 72ppi JPG, Grayscale (NO RGB / CMYK)



300 characters maximum.Without name or alias.



Full name, age, address, zip code, country, telephone number, e-mail address and a proposal of a sustainable action related to food habits which the participant commits to undertake in his/her daily life. If an entry does not consist of all four parts, it will not be considered for the competition.



“Poetry, Earth and Me”–International Call for Submission, Earth Day 2015

Posted By: Margie Babon




I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree


A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the Earth’s sweet flowing breast


A tree that looks at God all day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray


A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair


Upon whose bosom snow has lain

Who intimately lives with the rain


Poems are made by fools like me

But only God can make a tree

-Joyce Kilmer, 1913


Not as famous as other holiday, but don’t you think, April 22 must be declared as a holiday and let  the government, corporate companies, school, other institution and organizations do something for the Earth like planting trees, river clean-up, conduct educational program on how can we conserve nature,  watershed, flora and fauna, etc.

Like any other environmental organizations celebrating Earth Day, Hyperkreeytiv believes that awareness through education is one of the effective tools for us to be reminded that we have to take responsibility on taking care of the planet.

On its 2nd year of “Earth and Me,” celebrating Earth Day 2015,  Hyperkreeytiv is calling writers, author and poet worldwide to share inspiring poem about Mother Earth. No limits on the number of words and number of paragraph. Open to all age and nationality worldwide.

Poetry Earth and Me


Poetry can have picture appropriate for the poem (optional), submit poem starting  22 January- 15 April 2015.

Email poem at:

All entries will be posted on 22 April 2015



margie-blog pic-final 21octMargie Babon was given a privilege to become a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to be a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the 2005 Mark Haslam Awardee  in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in photography, drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express her wisdom which is beyond academic teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts.


‘Planting Corals in Baler,’ A Truly Rewarding Project out of Passion and Love

Posted By: Margie Babon


The first planting of corals in Baler, Aurora Province led by marine biologist Mark Dimzon.


To be involved with the environmental conservation is a responsibility of each one of us. As a dweller on this planet, giving concern through volunteering on planting trees, cleaning the river, animal welfare, giving workshop on environmental education and advocacy, etc. are wonderful activities to be grounded with the earth and get connected to people with the same passion.   Though working with the environmental issues is a stressful and frustrating job  (as I personally experience it during my younger years for more than a year that seems what we are doing is unsuccessful and unfulfilled) still, there are people out there who won’t give up to take part for the solution of troubled environment.


Like our old friend Mark Dimzon, a marine biologist who came back to a place where he owes his surfing skills in order to share his passion in marine conservation initiative. With the help of local government, local surfer and local fishermen, the coral restoration project becomes a success.


Find out the full story from the interview with Mark and his photo documentaries on how the project was implemented and what the lessons he wants to convey for the humanity when it comes to environmental conservation.


 1.       Why did you choose Baler among any other places in the Philippines for coral restoration project?  Is the project first ever in the Philippines?

  • I used to do marine conservation work in Baler 9 years ago funded by Spanish Organization called FUNDESO and I pretty much  know all the local people that we used to work with.  I lived there for 2 years and got attached to the community.  My university called me up if I could work for them cause I knew the people around the place and I am familiar of the place that I would be working on so I signed up for a “second round” of conservation working on so I signed up for a “second round” of conservation work.


  • It is the first national Project in the Philippines under DOST program which covers from parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  Though coral restoration programs has been going on in several sites in the country but not on a massive scale.


Mark Dimzon (standing) who leads the coral conservation in Baler


2.       Do you lead the project? Is it a personal project based on grant? Who finance the project? If grant, who helped you for the support.

  • Yes, technically, I lead the project in the area.  Each project site has a Project Development Officer who is based and basically run the program with the direction of our Team Leaders.  The Project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) with the technical assistance of University of San Carlos Marine Biological Section and in cooperation with Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT).


Coast guard volunteer


3.       Give us a short background how coordination was done with Baler government in making the project feasible.

  • Actually, Baler was not part of the project site in the proposal.  But with the initiative of Hon. Senator Edgardo J. Angara to include Baler in the program the project was implemented.  Most of the project sites in the program were backed up by Congressmen and Governors in their respective provinces and Former Sen. Angara intended to bring coral restoration project in his Province in Aurora.


Volunteer enjoying the conservation initiative


4.       What is the primary aim of the project? How will it benefit the community and the marine biodiversity? Give us a gist of the importance of marine life and replanting corals.

  • Well, there are 2 primary aims of the project.  First to rehabilitate and restore damaged coral reef in Baler and second to increase tourism through showcasing novel coral conservation initiative in the region.  Baler is not a well-known dive spot in the country but through this initiative, awareness is raised to another level and more and more tourists will be attracted to visit the site and go for a dive or for a snorkel or even partake on “planting” corals.
  • Community will greatly benefit when tourism increases and also your coral reef becomes healthy.  A healthy coral reef ecosystem means a healthy supply of fishery products.  In the long run if it is managed sustainably it’s a win-win condition both for man and nature.





  • Baler is naturally blessed with bountiful supply of marine life!  You see corals reefs and other marine creatures are intricately interconnected.  When your coral reefs dies, so does your fisheries, your tourism and community livelihood.  Replanting corals to damaged reefs will have a positive result to fisheries so does the lives of the local community in the area.


Rich marine ecosystem in Baler


Palanan Mayor volunteering


5.       What are the specific locations in Baler that you plant corals for conservation?

  • Baler is the only project site on the eastern seaboard of the Philippines.  Unlike many project sites in the Philippines, Baler is exposed to high ocean waves and typhoons.  We found Dicasalarin Cove as decent coral nursery because it is protected by strong wave action and surges.  The coral restoration site was in Aniao reef, we had chosen this site because it is a Marine Protected Area which our newly transplanted corals should be protected from fishing activities.


Abundant ecosystem of Baler


Largest Tridacna maxima that Mark has ever seen



6.       How many days or weeks or months does it take you to complete the project? State project dates in Baler (start until end).

  • The project was only for a year, May 2012- May 2013.


Locals are giving their time to make the project a success.


7.       Any challenges you overcome to complete the project.

  • The implementation of the project was quite a challenge, the work was carried out on June 2012 after a series of meetings and courtesy calls in town.  High season starts around August and during this time some storm swells starts to come in during this time and diving is much difficult to carry out.  The site can be accessed by boat which carries most of our supplies and gears and it can be sometimes dangerous to deal with squalls and choppy sea condition.  You may carry out underwater activities but they are very limited due to strong current, underwater surges and sometimes water visibility.  As a leader in the area you have to think of the safety measures seriously especially if you have volunteers.
  • The team that I had was basically rookie divers and took them awhile to get used to work underwater and under pressure.
  • I had limited diver volunteer when we implemented the project but in the end the local surfers came to aid and greatly saves the mission.  I had to employ brilliant local hookah divers or compressor divers in Castillo that made the project successful.


Planting corals that takes days to finish.


Local surfer watching his work if the newly planted corals are being tied properly.


8.       Who are the relentless people who devote and volunteer their time in making the project successful (you can cite complete name for the credits).


  • Too many to mention actually but I can name the groups:

i.      Local Surfers from different Clubs

ii.      Baler Surf under Teddy and Ria Romero

iii.      Philippine Coast Guard Baler Detachment under Cmdr. Antolin

iv.      Charlie Does Surf under Alex Angara and Joe Cole

v.      Baler “Legendary” Surfers

Local surfers are enjoying the coral restoration initiative


vi.      Provincial Tourism Office under Micheal Palispis

vii.      Local Fishermen of Sitio Castillo specially to the Compressor Men under “Muloy” Garcia and Kids

viii.      Dicasalarin Crew under Ka Roman and the Dumagats

ix.      DENR Ruel Porbido

x.      PROJECT Crew Romar Porbido, Boat Captain Ka Bernard “Van Dame” Ritual

xi.      ASCOT’s Dr. Marvelosa Carmona and Dr. Eusebio Angara and some crew of AMRDI

Lots of volunteer who help to make the project a success for a year.


Another volunteer who take part for the project



9. How did you coordinate with the locals?

  • Coordinating with local, I formally and personally invited them through project orientation.


Philippines’ First Surfers engage in coral restoration…. Another history in the making


10. Any illegal fishermen who volunteers with you that somehow you have changed his mind to be good with nature? If there is, share a short story.

Looks can be deceiving… Compressor men are on our side in Baler.Try planting coral 3 hrs. straight then you know where your heart is. Without any oxygen supply at all, these local fishermen are true heroes devoting their skills in planting corals.



  • Yes, there are illegal fishermen who volunteer with us and they were compressor men of Castillo.  First few months of intense diving before the high season came, we kind of handled it.  But during the last few months of project termination, they saved the whole project.  You see, they are quite hesitant at first to work with a government project because of the nature of their work.  But I persuaded them to work with me to change their “bad” reputation of being illegal fishers into reef savers.  Of course I have to employ them temporarily to be part of the team for them to sustain their day to day needs for their family.


Conservation heroes–illegal fishermen turned into marine conservationist who worked too hard for the project.

  • As soon as they got the hang of carrying the mission they felt inspired of how coral conservation is helping the environment in the long run.  They felt hardships working underwater nurturing corals for few months and destruction could be so swift and fast if left unprotected.  Their help was phenomenal!!! Their efforts should be highly acknowledge by our community, political leaders, conservationist, scientist and the world!

  • Working with them was a privilege for me to witness their efforts and I am inspired every time I think of them whether they are working with me or doing their dangerous fishing trips.  I was the person who was greatly inspired and they have changed me.  The next generation of fishermen should look up to them as conservation champions!



11. Describe the complete process of planting corals. How many hours does it takes you to cut a seedling and transfer it to a new habitat.

Collecting corals to replant.





  • In the reef that we are working in, coral fragments or live corals that were chipped or broken off from the reef either through natural cause, or man-made cause is common in the area.  These live coral fragments have still a fighting chance to survive and grow back on the reef through culturing them in our “coral nursery units”.


coral nursery being tied on the rope with the use of G.I. wires.



  • The nursery units are series of coral fragments tied to a GI wire and suspend them in series of ropes.  It’s like hanging corals on laundry lines.  Then when they recuperate and over grown the wire we attached them to a concrete nail peg to a dead solid reef then strap them with a cable tie or epoxy clay.  Overtime they over grow the nails and ties and epoxy and “rooted” themselves on to the dead reef.  Thus, colonizing new substrates as growing corals.




  •  The time of planting varies from person to person, but a seasoned or “expert planter” could take around 10-15 fragments per minute an average of 50-60 fragments per hour per person. It’s a tough conservation job working with the elements underwater.



12.   This project is very inspiring and important esp. in this time that nature is depleting one by one, how do you see the value of putting effort in this kind of work?  Share the lessons you have learned from this project.

  • It is very rewarding and this kind of job is a job that you have to put passion and pure love in order for you to accomplish.  And that’s how one works in a nature conservation job.  You have to believe in the project and inspire more and more people to take part in the initiative and that’s the lesson there.  We can save the reef if we set aside politics and personal differences and put more work in time and not time on work.



13.   There are a lot of courses in college that you can take, but why you choose Marine Bio?    Is serving the environment for greater good is your passion? If yes, why?

  • To take up marine biology course is my calling.  Since I was a child,  I am fascinated with the marine world and all the creatures living in its realm.  At a young age, I saw my birth island where my parents used to work in a Mining Industry in a tiny island off Surigao that a portion of the island was destroyed and the other side was pristine as I recall whenever my family goes to the beach every Sunday.  At a young age, I saw life and death in our marine habitat and swore when I grew up I would be the person to help these creatures.  Basically my love for the sea kept on growing and growing till I reached my teens.  For a normal teen, busy with peers, relationships and sports and other activities, I was having an intimate relationship with the sea basically spending my weekend fishing, snorkeling and mingling with the fishermen.  My mission just started when I finished my degree in Marine Biology and till now the journey never ended and the tasks and mission gets more and more serious and interesting.

  • Serving the environment is everyone’s tasks and mission but passion will keep one from going and going for an extra mile.  If you don’t love your job then it’s pointless to do any tasks, that mission will become your own passion.



Of the total coral reefs in the Philippines only 5% are still in good condition, degradation of our reefs is fast unless we have to intervene. One way of giving something back to mother nature and the Locals of Baler…

14.    Any words of encouragement to every human being in order to raise the level of awareness   and how to be responsible even in small ways in conserving and preserving our environment?

  • In our small ways, keep conserving and recycling household resources from electricity, water and plastics.  Conservation education starts from every home and every family in the community, teach kids at a young age to be more proactive in dealing with our simple household resources and wastes, I think we will get a positive awareness in the future to come.


Growing just fine, the coral fragment “eating up” the wire.


Successful coral nurseries growing already during the monitoring period.




15.   As a marine biologist and environmentalist by heart, share unforgettable experience (s) that touches your heart and soul.

  • Couple of years back, when I taught marine conservation and preservation to some kids in a fishing community that protects the marine environment, it should be a way of life that kids can also do by not throwing trash and plastics to the river.  So one of the kids went home and shared his experience with the short lecture about protecting the environment.  Then one day she approached me crying because she was slapped by her father regarding a nonsense lecture, she got slapped because she told off her father who threw garbage into the river.  I felt really really bad about it and it just pierced through my heart of what had happened.  Young minds can make the difference in the future if we nurture them at early age on conservation values.
a child enjoying the coral restoration project

a child enjoying the coral restoration project



16.    Tell us about yourself, where do you live, family (name of kids and wife), and how many years you are working as marine biologist, names of organization you are working with (or volunteer with).  And what is your future work in Hawaii?

Marine biologist Mark Dimzon during the Baler Coral Conservation Project


  • I am Mark Darwin Dimzon and I am 34yrs old married to a mangrove conservationist herself Janine Caynap Dimzon.  We have 2 adorable daughters named after Hawaiian name Kailana, 2yrs 5mos old and the youngest name after a Hawaiian surfer Alana, 9 months.  I’ve been working on my profession for 13 years now.  Been with different institution in the Philippines such as University of San Carlos as a volunteer diver for Coral Farming Project in Olanggo Island in Cebu, The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines in Diliman based in Pangasinan for Giant Clam Project.

Mark’s wife who is a mangrove conservationist Janine with their two beautiful daughter

  • Then I came to Baler, Aurora working with Fundacion Desarollo Sustenido for Coastal Resource Management Project.  I have worked with Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center-Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC-AQD) in Iloilo for Stock Enhancement Program working on Giant Clams and Seahorse Breeding.  After several years working here in the Philippines I got my childhood dream job working for a Public Aquarium in Sentosa’s Underwater World in Singapore before moving to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo where I gained mature experience on an aquarium industry.  I came back to Philippines 3 years ago and work back again in Baler for the National Coral Restoration Project under DOST.

Mark at Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii with Mother’s Day greeting for his wife and mother.

  • Then I have given a great opportunity to work with a world renowned aquarium in the world at Waikiki Aquarium under the management of University of Hawaii, Manoa.  Not a bad job for a Marine Biologist who also loves Surfing!  Hope you come and visit the Filipino Aquarium Biologist at Waikiki!!

The passion Mark has aside from being a marine biologist–a surfer where he owe much of his skill in Baler, Aurora enjoying the waves for more than 8 years.




Newly spring coral during the monitoring period


Baby cuttlefish snatching juvenile fish at the nursery!


The successful coral nurseries in Baler, Aurora province


Coral nursery is a new home for colorful fish and other marine species.


Great volunteers who has the heart for the environmental conservation. Congratulations to all of you! Job well done!

Grateful to all the volunteers who has the heart for the environmental conservation. Congratulations to all of you! Job well done!





Margie Babon was given a privilege to become a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to be a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the 2005 Mark Haslam Awardee  in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in photography, drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express her wisdom which is beyond academic teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts.



“Wolves’ Bad Reputation”- The Hidden Wolf Within Me Mail Art International Call for Submission

Posted By: Margie Babon


Wolves being used for cartoon movies as dangerous species that kills human which is untrue in the reality of wolves’ social behavior.


The wolf may be the greatest shape-shifter in the animal kingdom, appearing through history and in cultural representations from the world as everything from savage hell-dog to benevolent spirit. It all depends on who is looking and what lessons they have already learned about the nature of wolves.


The Wolf of Nightmares

This is the wolf of fables, fears, and superstitions. European settlers brought the image of a savage, deceitful, and sinister creature with them to the New World. Tales like, “Little Red Riding Hood” were passed down through generations, stoking fears. Horror films and Halloween stories continue to perpetuate the myths of werewolves and wolfmen who turned fanged ad bloodthirsty by the light of the full moon. Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?


Judging from fairy tales and cartoons, and popular culture, we all should be. These fairy tales have been modernized to depict a crafty predator that stalks innocent children at school bus stops and kills for sheer joy of it. Because we are unconsciously programmed to fear wolf , we consider it dangerous species. Many people still believe that wolves pose a serious and perpetual threat to human life, despite volumes of evidence to the contrary.



Since medieval times, wolves have been viewed as evil competitors for food, smart and cunning, and living in dark forests where men were not in control. These concepts were carried to the New World with settlers.



Without being aware of it, generations of parents have passed along the archetype of the “big bad wolf” in singsong fashion to their children. This 1933 sheet music from Walt Disney’s “Three Little Pigs” reminds us of the lovable, carefree piglets and the ravenous wolf, lurking in the shadows and ready to take advantage of their careless home construction techniques.



Fairy tales like “Little Red Riding Hood” turn the native pack hunting tales of the wolf—social planning, coordination, and surprise—into vile human characteristics such as connivance, deception, and trickery. At a deeper level, Red Riding Hood walks into the woods—primeval nature—and encounters evil, symbolized by the wolf.



When men are called wolves, the implication is that they treat women as prey and that their hunger for sex overwhelms their higher human nature.


In addition to what Jim and Jamie Dutcher have written on their book, I have watched the movie ‘Frozen’ and felt sad when the wolves were  being used to attack people and appear as really bad. Let me add the following comments.

Humans are creating conflict not to understand subtle behavior of wolves which is a social animal and afraid of people. Movies are being carried to influence kids and adults that wolves are bad. They put wolves into a bad reputation of attacking and killing human by just running and chasing towards the prey without well planned strategies.

On the  journey to North Mountain to find Elsa, Ana and Kristof with the deer Sven was chased by a pack of wolf from the 2013 movie ‘Frozen,’ wolves once again was put into a bad reputation of attacking human and a deer without any strategies at all. But by chasing fiercely which is not true about the reality of the behavior of wolves.  Wolves are afraid of people.

Which in reality, over the past 100  years in North America, only two cases in which wild wolves reportedly killed a human being. To put this statistic in context, also in North America, bears have killed at least 35 people since 2000, and since 1990, cougars have killed 9. In the United States, domestic dogs have killed 30 people every year. (from the book of Jim & Jaime Dutcher)


bad wolves

Bad reputation on wolves from the movie ‘Frozen’


Wolves do not attack human and very rare that they have killed human for the past 100 years. Movie like this are putting wolves into a bad reputation that wolves are dangerous animals.




There is something about wolves—a combination of their intelligence, their similarity to dogs, their presence in myth and lore, and their history in persecution—that absolutely captivates the hearts and minds of many people.



Source:  From the book, “The Hidden Life of Wolves” by Jim and Jamie Dutcher

Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived in a tented camp in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains among a pack of wolves, observing and documenting rarely seen social behavior. Their time spent living with the Sawtooth Pack led to their three documentary films, three Emmy Awards, and the founding of a groundbreaking nonprofit organization, “Living with Wolves



Join “The Hidden Wolf within Me”, International Call for Submission, Mail Art Project 2014, collage, photography and drawing. 

Hidden Wolf Call for Entries-Poster 1


Submission deadline: 24 July 2014

Size of entry: Free

No. of entries: Max. of 6

Please submit in accordance to the theme, “The Hidden Wolf Within Me.” Entries must convey compassion and human understanding of the existence of wolves.


Submit your mail art entries together with the following:

1. Short artists description.

2. Full name

3. Postal address and contact number

4. E-mail address


Send jpeg artist  photo to with file size not more than 300kb.

Your postal address is needed as we will send you post card as gratitude for participation. All participants will receive postcard from Philippines.


Entries that are not connected with the theme will not be posted.Only entries connected with the theme will be posted on August 2014.


Mail entries to:

Margie Babon

ADB Rm. 1908 OAS-FM

#6 ADB Ave. Mandaluyong City

1550 Metro Manila


Tel: +63 2 632-4444 loc. 70590


Photo  courtesy of the book:  The Hidden Life of Wolves by Jim and Jamie Dutcher 




Wide World’s Joy

Posted By: Margie Babon




“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers but for the wide world’s joy.” -Henry Ward Beecher

Beautiful and inspiring illustration by: Sergey Sokolov, Russia

See more illustrations at Earth and Me category celebrating Earth Day 2014



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