Ten high school students from the municipalities of Balabac, Taytay, and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, Philippines were chosen as the finalists of the “Dagat Natin” (Our Seas) story-writing contest on 16 September 2014.
The contest was organised by CTI-Southeast Asia with the theme “Young People, Women, and Indigenous People as Active and Empowered Participants in Coastal Resource Management.”
Around 30 students from Palawan joined the contest. The teens with the best entries were the following:
- Balabac National High School – Elnah T. Basala, Munawara G. Salleh, Shaima I. Hunaini, and Roozie Quea Elkanah I. Idlana (Teacher Adviser: Araceli B. Katon);
- Busy Bees National High School -Noahbelle L. Academia (Teacher Adviser: Gretchen G. Cayabo);
- Canique National High School- Acean Mae D. Abis and Essence A. Panolino (TA: Berlito S. Lopez);
- Central Taytay National High School– Jirene Samuelle C. Tabujara (Teacher Adviser: Christina P. Cuario);
- Western Philippines University Agricultural Science High School – Kathleen L. Conde (Teacher Adviser: Kathleen Faith P. Evina); and
- Sicsican National High School – Isabella S. Marilag (Teacher Adviser: Ariel I. Matchico)
CTI-SEA launched the story writing contest during the Coral Triangle Day celebration on 9 June 2014. It was part of the Heroes of the Environment (Heroes of the Environment) communication campaign, which aims to educate, engage, and inspire high schools students and science teachers to protect the Coral Triangle.
The winners received their certificates during awarding ceremony was held at Skylight Hotel in Puerto Princesa City on 1 October 2014. Students also took part in a peer review session to give constructive feedback and improve the submitted stories.
The final edited versions will be compiled and published by the Asian Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility as the “Tales from the Coral Triangle-Philippines” storybook in September 2016.
The winners and their teacher-advisers joined a coastal resource management camp to learn about different coastal and marine resources in the province. Among the places they visited were the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, Iwahig Firefly Watching Ecotourism and Wildlife Park, and Honda Bay.
“Even if I live in an island, I have not seen these beautiful creatures under the sea. Maybe it’s because the Balabac waters have been damaged. I feel regret for the things we’ve lost in our island,” said Roozie Quea Idlana.
“The reefs are really so beautiful and now I’m determined to protect them,” she added.