Inspiring, empowering, humbling. These come to mind when reflecting on this year’s pawikan breeding season in our community hatchery in Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan. The sea turtles, the hatchery and the volunteers, and the community did so well!
From around 120 nests on our first season, we have over 320 now. That is almost 8,000 eggs before, jumping to around 27,000 today. Over 300% increase! Some days, we released 500 hatchlings at a time, others over 700!
We have also seen more juvenile and mature turtles, and of varying species, too! Before it was all Olive Ridley, but now we see Green Turtles and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles, too.
The pawikan attitude must have rubbed off on everyone. I am referring to the process of sea turtle hatching. The strongest eggs at the bottom of the nest hatch first so they can lift everyone around them. In one united effort, the hatchlings climb out of their hole, from being buried in the sand and out into the world above.
More people brought eggs to the hatchery. The fishermen are more aware of the importance of pawikan in the sea. More volunteers help. The community is understanding the advocacy more. More locals and Filipinos adopted nests. There is more buzz about the pawikan online. Even the government noticed our small hatchery, as well as local organizations who pledge their support.
Still, the hatchery is powered by individual donations. With humble hearts and much hope, we share our advocacy and speak for the turtles. Friends and family, business owners, local organizations, and mostly strangers that follow us on Instagram answered! It was all amazing and humbling at the same time. These people believe in the turtles. These people believe in us.
Also, we are finally an offical non-government organization! With help from my best friend Rem, our grassroots, humble hatchery is now registered and recognized by law as the Pag-asa Pawikan Protection and Conservation Center.
This month, we have signed cooperation agreements with government agencies, too. Not really sure what this changes but we hope this is the start of something good.
Sharing these news to you makes me feel so proud for all the volunteers, and more grateful to all of you, our blog friends, who supported us since the beginning, especially when nobody else did.
You can imagine how busy it was for us these past months but it was all worth it. The turtles deserve it, the volunteers of the hatchery deserve it, and the community deserves it.
There is more work to be done – we still have no income generating project to support the hatchery and buy eggs – but everything is looking up, don’t you think?
I would also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Juliette for adopting a nest of pawikan this season, as she did in the last. She was so proactive in reaching out – it was so beautiful and genuine. Thank you, Juliette!
There are still more nests to adopt, friends. Around 40, the last for this season. If you are in a position to support the turtles again, you can adopt your own nest and give one hatchling a chance to roam the seas for the next 100 years.
We will adopt a nest for you and send you the marker with the details of the nest including the number of eggs and date, time, and location of the birth. Please let us know what name to add to your marker! Some people write their names but others honor their grandparents, parents, family name, partners, children, businesses, or pets. It is a lot of fun, but it is also a sweet sign of devotion.
Together, we can save more turtles. Thank you for your infinite support and generosity. Let us show the world pawikan attitude and lift each other up!
Help us prepare a home for sea turtles!
Thank you for supporting the work of the Pag-asa Pawikan Protection and Conservation Center. We are rehabilitating the hatchery and preparing supplies for next season. With your help, we can save more turtles and empower the community.