Shell celebrates 25 years of Tubbataha conservation through multi-media exhibit

Shell companies in the Philippines (SciP) join agencies, organizations, and individuals from all over the world in marking the 25th anniversary of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) as a marine protected area with a multi-media exhibit entitled “Beauty, Bounty and a Shared Heritage: 25 Years of Protecting Tubbataha.”

The exhibit features the “Birds of Tubbataha” watercolor and photograph collection of national artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera and noted lensman Melvyn Calderon.

It also includes the winning entries of the school-based video plug contest “It’s More Fun in Tubbataha”. Launched by the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) in collaboration with Pilipinas Shell Foundation (PSFI), Dela Salle College of St. Benilde, and TXL Productions, the contest challenged contestants to create a 30-second video showing Tubbataha’s stunning beauty that fittingly made it the Philippine’s premiere diving destination.

“Beauty, Bounty and Shared Heritage” is one of the yearlong activities to commemorate TRNP’s 25-year milestone sponsored by SciP as part of Shell’s commitment towards environmental stewardship. Through its social arm, PSFI, it has actively supported the conservation of Tubbataha since 2007 and continues to initiate activities to heighten the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the marine World Heritage site.

The partnership of SciP and Tubbataha started with technical support from Shell International and UNESCO World Heritage Center in assisting the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) in developing its business plan.

The collaboration continued with funding of almost PhP 3 Million worth of information, education, communication, and capacity-building activities through the project “Sustaining Conservation Gains in the TRNP.” The project has so far benefited nearly 2,000 fisher folk and over 7,000 students, as Shell continues to provide funding for public outreach, capacity building and research activities.

Tubbataha is strategically located at the heart of the Sulu Sea, some 92 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Its rich waters are home to thousands of marine life. Among these are 360 species of corals that represent over 70 per cent of all coral genera in the world.

The islets of Tubbataha are the last seabird stronghold in Southeast Asia and also serve as an important rookery of endangered seabird species.

This purely marine World Heritage Site has been proven to be the sink and source of coral and fish larvae that sustains fisheries in the mainland Palawan and in the surrounding waters in the Sulu Sea. Moreover, this natural habitat is a living laboratory to observe the natural processes that contributes to biodiversity conservation.

The reefs have been in protection for 25 years and its results are a testament to the importance of education, communication and genuine partnership in any conservation effort.

According to PSFI Program Manager Marvi Trudeau, “Effective stewardship of this marine environment is possible only through a unified effort. Through the years we have partnered with dedicated organizations and selfless individuals who have joined Shell in making known and championing the protection of Tubbataha.”

“Beauty, Bounty and a Shared Heritage: 25 Years of Protecting Tubbataha” is sponsored by SciP and supported by SM Corporation. The multi-media exhibit will run until May 26 at the SM Megamall Atrium in Mandaluyong.