The Batalang Bato Marine Sanctuary in Anilao, Batangas was recently visited by 2 CCEF board members, Alan and Evangeline White, who were pleasantly surprised to find the Marine Sanctuary, established in 2007, to be fully protected with active surveillance in place.
CCE Foundation together with several other partners in Batangas assisted the community in Tingloy, Batangas to survey, develop a management and guarding system in 2006-7, as well as provide some follow up technical assistance in recent years.
Now the small Batalang Bato patch reef has been exempt from fishing for more than 10 years thanks to the vigilance of Ms. Princess Aldovino, Chairperson of the Management Committee, her husband and collaborating colleagues who comprise the “Bantay Dagat” for their community.
A quick snorkel survey of the protected reef confirmed that indeed fishing is absent from the area due to the presence of an abundance of large surgeon fishes, rabbit fish, fusiliers and a variety of aquarium class fish that might have been poached in years past.
The Batalang Bato Sanctuary is now self-sufficient with 24 hour surveillance that is partially supported by the Tingloy Municipality and by local volunteers. This small, but important reef, now provides a source of fish larvae and recruits to other reefs in the Anilao area of Batangas and is a testament to what communities can accomplish with visionary and dedicated leaders.