Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Cuppa Green Tee: Remembering Whale Sharks.

With Earth Day less than two weeks away, I've been wondering what I'm going to do. Last year I held a rolling giveaway as Ecojotter. It was so much fun reading everyone's daily eco-deeds as we counted down Mother Earth's special day together! This year in addition to continuing my eco-acts before and after April 22nd, I'm thinking of catching a screening of DisneyNature's "Oceans" (trailer below).

There's nothing like viewing spectacular footage of our breathtakingly beautiful planet. I am particularly keen on seeing it, since I missed out on "Earth" on the big screen, plus I'm hoping they'll feature the world's largest fish: the whale shark.

Mayon Volcano

Two years ago, at the end of January, I surprised my family with a visit to the Philippines. My one request was for Big Brother G and I to take a mini-backpacking adventure during my suprise sojourn. So off we went with Jack, a fellow wanderlust friend G met while crossing the Lao border. A 12-hour overnight non-air conditioned (thank goodness for cool nights) later, we caught a connecting van in Legaspi to Donsol, in the Province of Sorsogon. Not before a quick shot of Mayon Volcano, considered to be the world's most perfectly formed volcano for its near perfect symmertical cone shape, and the Philippine's most active one.

Fish Balls.Friendly locals.Jack and Me.

After securing an affordable cabana on the beach, grabbing some native cuisine, and meeting some locals, we admired the cloudless night and bright stars, before an early morning to seek whale sharks. We met a lovely German couple we'd end up sharing a "banca" (boat) with. To this day I only regret we forgot to exchange email addresses with... They had an underwater camera!

Whale Shark Seeker

It was a long hot day, chartering the banca in search of whale sharks. One false alarm jump in to the water, found me panicking that I couldn't swim. Lesson learned: the quickest way to drown is to panic. Thankfully it turned out that my freak-out was a blessing in disguise. The crew from then on paid special close attention to me ;D

At our second sighting a crew-member grabbed my arm upon jumping in to the cool refreshing ocean, and guided me above the most enormous creature I'd ever seen! Nearly the size of a mini-bus, it was spectacular!

This Earth Day, I will be remembering these magnificant creatures. I will recall how we learned that a small fishing community formerly known for hunting these gentle massive fish, managed to convince the hunters to seek and protect their former prey instead. The very same hunters, skilled at finding whale sharks, now take visitors on ocean adventures of a lifetime, while educating them on the sanctity of their eco-system.

How eco-cool and inspiring is that? Proof that bad eco-habits can change for the better.


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