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11th Grand Pawikan Day at Montemar Beach Club

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Last Bonifacio Day long weekend, we were lucky to be able to spend it in Montemar Beach Club in Bagac, Bataan in time for their 11th Grand Pawikan Day. Montemar’s Grand Pawikan Day is celebrated to promote and support marine turtle conservation, as Montemar Beach Club is a marine-protected area and an accredited Pawikan Conservation Center. Their project aims to help conserve the marine turtle population in the Philippines.

 

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One of Montemar Beach Club’s swimming pools

Travel time to Bagac takes around 3-4 hours from Manila and upon reaching Montemar, I was immediately impressed as to how vast the resort is and how abundant it is with greenery. It is already a promise of a relaxing weekend upon entering.

 

I quickly checked-in my stuff so I can start exploring the area and go see Montemar’s Pawikan hatchery. Their rooms are very spacious and great for families or groups. Guests can opt for rooms with a garden view or the ocean view and I loved their simple gesture of folding the towels similar to a sea turtle!

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We had our lunch at their restaurant — La Marea, which serves really good food and reasonably priced too. My personal favorite is their beef kaldereta! Time to explore the shores before the Grand Pawikan Day program starts!

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Setting up before the program starts

Montemar’s beach line is quite a stretch, with the Pawikan hatchery a bit farther from the resort’s beachfront area. While strolling along the shore, we came across the friendly lifeguards of Montemar and look what they showed us! Newly hatched baby pawikans!!! Aren’t they the cutest?!

 

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Newly-hatched Green Sea Turtles

Kuya Simon entertained our questions and we had a lot of TIL (today I learned) moments, like the various differences of sea turtles from land turtles, their life cycle, how you can easily identify what kind it is based from their carapace (shell), and a whole lot more. It’ll make you realize that you have very little knowledge about these awesome creatures and makes you admire those who advocate their time, efforts and resources to ensure the protection and conservation of the sea turtles.

 

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Can’t wait to see the release of this little one to the sea!

 

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After our very informative talk with Kuya Simon, we headed to check out the adult green sea turtle they have on their mini pond.

 

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Upon returning to the activity area, I registered for my turtle adoption kit which comes with a shirt, a turtle necklace souvenir, a book on Myrtle the turtle, an informative guide on Pawikan Conservation, and a stub for claiming my little hatchling to be released to the sea later that afternoon.

 

Montemar-4160The program started with activities for kids and a talk from a DENR representative regarding Pawikan conservation.

 

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We were also given Certificates of Adoption as official protectors of marine turtles.

When the sun was close to set, we headed towards the releasing area and Kuya Simon briefed everyone about the Pawikan Conservation Project and on how to properly release the hatchlings. Releasing of the hatchlings are usually done early in the morning but Montemar decided to do it at sunset at this increases the rate of survival for the sea turtles.

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Everyone’s excited for the hatchling distribution, especially the kids!

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And off they went! Truth to be told, I felt a little attachment to my little hatchling but it was such a proud moment and a joy to see it go back to the back.

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Hi there, little one!

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Did you know that only about 1 in 1000 eggs survives and reaches adulthood? And when they get old, they tend to go back to the place from where they were hatched. Cool, right?

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The adult pawikan was last to be released!

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Montemar Beach Club’s lovely beach front

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 The day ended in such a good note and I was more than thankful to witness and be part of such an amazing event.

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As the sun finally rested itself and the moon took over, the Grand Pawikan Day festivities didn’t cease. Dinner was served at the activity area and accompanied with music from such a talented band. Overall, it was a very fun day. Thank you Montemar Beach Club for the wonderful experience! One item ticked off my bucket list! You guys should be on the lookout for next year’s Grand Pawikan Day and make sure you don’t miss it.

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Montemar Beach Club

Bagac, Bataan

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