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Women of the Coast

Women of the Coast

Celebrating Women of the Coasts and Seas

This month, the whole world is dedicating the month of March in celebration of the vital role of women in the development of our society.  In honour of the different women who help protect our coasts and seas, we spoke to different women across Cebu about their work in Coastal Resource Management and their greatest learning in their field.


“For over 10 years, I’ve been assisting fish wardens and coastal law enforcers in the documentation and inventory of apprehensions. Because of CCEF’s support and CLE training, our fish wardens have scaled-up their skills in coastal law enforcement and proper documentation. At present, our Fish wardens have become more independent and documentation has become much more organized and efficient in Santander.” 

Carmelina Gumilac
Fisheries Technician

“For my 3 years, I’ve been working closely with the Fisheries Sector, especially with the Coastal Resource Management. Ive been very active with different Coastal Resources Assessments, Field Works and Trainings because these ignited my heart and mind about the world we all depend on – the environment – that we’ve been abusing and neglecting all these years. The vulnerable marine/ coastal ecosystem had open my eyes about protecting, conserving and preserving it for our next generation. I am very grateful to CCEF, for allowing me to share my advocacy with the younger generations, that thru their programs and projects.”

Sharmaine Diez
Technical Assistant 
City of Talisay

“In my 23 years of service handling the fisheries sector of which part of it is the implementation of the Coastal Resource Management Program of our City. Coastal Resources are much threatened and vulnerable part of the environment, hence, I am very grateful for CCEF for extending their love and support for the ocean especially in the City of Talisay. our City is looking forward to the continuing collaboration with your foundation towards the development with sustainability and protection of our Coastal Resources.” 

Apple Jane Into
Fisheries Technician
City of Talisay

“In my 13 years as a fisheries technician, I learned that it is important to protect and conserve marine resources because it is our major source of protein and food security. We must realize that we need to conserve and preserve our marine habitats for our own survival. “

Ann Tangpus
Fisheries Technicial
Municipality of Dalaguete
SCCRMC Secretary

“As a certified freediver, I am an advocate in protecting the ocean which is my second home. Since I started freediving last 2018, I actively participated in programs like coastal/underwater clean-ups and coral propagation in the Visayas. Until I founded BAD Freedivers in South Cebu, I am organizing and encouraging freedivers to do monthly coastal and underwater clean ups as a form of giving back to the mother ocean, and protecting our HOME.”

Hannah Debuayan
Founder, BAD Divers
Municipality of Alcoy
SEAklab Alumna

My greatest contribution in my 4 years working as a fisheries technician in Alcoy is improving the lives of the fisherfolk. In Alcoy, we have projects made specifically for fisherfolks through boat vessel insurance, life insurance as well as other CRM projects. We thank CCEF for their support and their continued technical assistance to our LGU.

Cindy Plando
Fisheries Technician, Alcoy

“I got involved in marine conservation work when I learned to scuba dive in 1991 and joined my husband, Alan, to organize the “Saving Philippine Reefs” (SPR) coral reef monitoring expeditions with our first trip in 1992 to Tubbataha Reefs and islands in the Visayas.  I have ever since been supporting the annual SPR trips to different locations in the Philippines and then in 1998, we started the CCE Foundation in our house in Cebu City.  My concern for the marine environment and the people who depend on marine resources for livelihood has only grown over the years and as a woman involved in this work, it feels very natural and the CCE Foundation has employed many women over the years so there is certainly an important role for us!”

Evangeline White
Co-Founder and Board Member,CCEF
Manager, Saving Philippine Reefs (SPR) 

I am  proud to say that I have been part of the pioneering efforts in marine conservation when in 1984,  Silliman  University implemented  the first community based marine protected area in the Philippines  under the Marine Conservation  and Development Program where I served as community organizer in  Apo Island, Dauin Negros Oriental and Pamilacan Island in Baclayon Bohol. Since then, aside from my academe work and recently, my government work as a social work practitioner, I have devoted more than two decades of my professional life doing coastal management work with different donor funded projects implemented all over the Philippines working with LGUs, NGAs and especially with the local communities, ensuring that every sector, especially the men and women fishers, and other marginalized sectors and organizations have a say and benefit from conservation work done in their respective communities. My involvement in CCEF as a member of the Board for more than a decade gives me a sense of fulfillment and ensures that my advocacy for community participation in CRM is sustained even when my current work engagement limits my direct involvement in CRM work

Evelyn Deguit
CCEF Board Secretary
Asst Dept Head, PSWDO ,
Cebu Provincial Government

I have been freediving for more than a year now and loving the sport made me see the wonders of the Mother Ocean. Along with it, I saw how destructive humans can be: Throwing trash along the coastline which affects the marine eco system in a huge way. With my love for the sport and where I do it, I found our family, the Southside Freedivers, having the same passion: Cleaning the Mother Ocean in our own little way of Marine Clean-ups through freediving. Through this, we envision to radiate our passion, raise awareness about the situation of the Shorelines along South of Cebu and act on it.

Hannah Pautanes
President, Southside Freedivers
Municipality of Argao
SEAklab Alumna

The sea for me always evokes a poignant picture of “home” as I grew up by the sea shores of Medina, Misamis Oriental where my seabuddy was a giant turtle. In 1984, my learning journey as a professional started with the encounters in the seascapes and landscapes of 7watersheds in Central Visayas with World Bank. We embarked on true-to-life experiments : community-based resource management, nearshore fisheries with artificial reefs, marine sactuaries and mangrove rehabilitation. These prospered into environmental governance with USAID with formulated CRM and MPA plans, ordinances, MEAT and MPA networks. What gives most psychic income and fulfillment are seeing biodiversity return and lives of fisherfolk improved. Now ongoing with CCEF are deepening of interventions and expanding reach and younger advocates!!! Also ongoing are improvements in the fish industry and related value chains – where business membership organizations like cebu chamber find their roles in the lives of coastal stakeholders

May Elizabeth Ybanez
CCEF Board Treasurer
Executive Director- Cebu Chamber of
Commerce and Industry

I grew up in the southernmost island province of Tawi-Tawi where I had a chance to enjoy the bounty of our marine resources and pristine environment. Unfortunately, I also witnessed how development, and illegal activities  affecting our aquatic ecosystem has led to habitat degradation. Working with non-government organizations (NGOs) broadens my perspective on environmental conservation and recognizes how local government units (LGUs) and community participation are vital for successful environmental protection. As a woman working in this field,  I have  committed myself to protecting the ocean by supporting the LGUs in coastal environmental protection programmes. I also encourage our younger generations, particularly women, to help us protect our environment for the sustainable future.


Michelle Baird
CCEF Coastal Resource Management Officer

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