Field Base Manager & Scuba Instructor
Having served with the Royal Engineers for many years, Rob trained to be come a PADI IDC Staff Instructor. Rob holds an Off-Site Safety Management qualification, an RYA/MCA Yachtmaster qualification and is a trained medic. Rob has worked on many expeditions for CCC over the years as a SCUBA Instructor and Expedition Leader, and has come back yet again to take over the role of Field Base Manager on our Philippines project.
Nelson Espinas (‘Tata’)
Tata began his work with Coral Cay by providing lunch to volunteers visiting his hometown restaurant in Malitbog. Coral Cay loved his cooking so much that he was offered a position full time and has now been with us for over a decade, cooking up a splendour twice a day! He will introduce you to all the Filipino classics like pork adobo, chicken halang halang, tuna kinalaw (caught by local fishermen), fresh squid from the local market, fried aubergine, and many more! He has no problem cooking a grand feast. Look out for his mango floats the richest most indulgent treat you will ever encounter! You can catch him singing Bon Jovi 'Always' and Bryan Adams classics in the kitchen. Tata also loves a good gossip, and will tell you all sorts of fascinating stories about the past adventures of previous volunteers. He is also a great person to talk to about local fiestas, as he loves to join the volunteers when we are invited out to discos. He can whip up spring rolls for 30 people in ten minutes and his pancakes are simply to die for!
Richard Bongot ('Bok Bok')
Boat Captain, Carpenter & Handyman
Bok Bok has been with us since 2003; his nickname means 'termite pulp'. Bok Bok mans our boat Banakun and keeps her shipshape; he is also a carpenter extraordinaire. He worked as a painter in Manila for some years before moving back to Thomas Oppus, Southern Leyte with his wife and children, and began working with Coral Cay. With an absolutely winning smile, and a hilarious personality he keeps the local staff chuckling all the time. If you get involved in the basketball games on site, you'll want him on your team, he is dynamite!
Jesse Lou Tinapay
Compressor Operator, Dive Instructor & Boat Driver
Jesse is our compressor operator and local dive instructor. If you want to see the illusive Mandarin fish then Jesse is your man as he always manages to spot them! Furthermore, if you like nudibranchs then Jesse will find you a 2mm Hypselodoris and will have the full species name written on his slate before you have even realised its not a piece of algae! His fantastic instructing skills, compressor know-how and local dive knowledge means his contribution to the CCC team is absolutely priceless.
Marvin is part of our security team on site and has been with us since 2010. He patrols the site all night long to keep us safe. If your lucky you might get the chance to see Marvin bust out some of his famous moves and give you his Elvis impression!
Ben or ‘Boy’ patrols the site in alternating shifts with Marvin. He is hard working but will never fail to flash you a smile and make a little joke as you return from the Videoke bar on a Saturday night. Between the two of them the security guards here will make you feel safe and sound on site.
Boat Driver, Reef Ranger & Bantay Dagat
Ernesto is our chief ranger of the reef, he wards off illegal fishermen from our house reef (the Napantao Community led-MPA) and has been a Bantay Dagat for the last 14 years. Before working as a Bantay Dagat he was the official Napantao baker. He is always ready to lend a hand whether it is helping put your kit on, digging a hole for a Crown of thorns extraction, or being ready to help with the boat equipment.
Ricky Sajol Deck Hand
Ricky joined us in May 2010 and has quickly made himself invaluable. He is our official deck hand on the boat, but you’ll often find him helping in the kitchen too, as well as being able to replace doors, windows, and sort out electrical problems. He is a PADI Rescue diver and uses his skills regularly to dive off the boat, with flip flops and no mask, to rescue items that people have dropped over the side! He can also fix most things just by looking at them!
Casper van de Geer
Casper lived in Mozambique when he was younger and it was there that he first discovered the beauty of coral reefs. Since then he was sure he wanted to work with the marine environment.
He did a BSc in Marine Biology at Groningen University in the Netherlands. He then went to work on a coral reef conservation project in the Bahamas. A MSc in Tropical Marine Conservation at James Cook University in Australia followed, which he concluded with a research project investigating the socio-economic impact of marine protected areas on commercial fishermen.
Most recently Casper worked on St Eustatius in the Caribbean as an Assistant Marine Park Ranger. Asia is a relatively unexplored continent for him and he looks forward to
getting involved with the local partners and furthering the marine conservation efforts in the Philippines. In his spare time Casper enjoys diving and sailing.
Bobby developed his passion for the marine world when he learned to dive at the age of 14. Holidays to Australia, Egypt, Honduras and Djibouti enhanced this love for the environment. After completing his degree in Zoology from Cambridge in 2010 he went back to Utila in Honduras to obtain his divemaster, and in the summer of 2011 he volunteered to aid in the marine conservation in the reefs of South-West Madagascar. He recently finished his MSc in Aquatic Biology and Resource Management from the University of Exeter, and is now looking to pursue a career in marine conservation looking at coral reefs in particular. He is looking forward to diving in one of the best locations in the world and dealing with the challenges of being immersed in a new culture and the rewards of a helping to the marine environment as a whole.
Hazel grew up in the UK but at 20 moved to New Zealand to be amongst big mountains and big seas. Her masters took her to a national park in the Philippines, which cemented her passion for conservation and the outdoors. Since her masters she has worked in Mount Cook national park in NZ and on a Southeast Asian trip found herself enticed by Vietnam where she has been teaching English for the last year. She is very much looking forward to bringing together her knowledge of the Philippines, her enthusiasm for education and her belief in conservation.
Zoe hit the road at an early age, and has now been traveling for approximately 10 years. During a short break in Newcastle, UK, she completed her nursing degree and chose to specialise in intensive care. She then moved to the Caribbean where she spent half a year working as a divemaster and the other half as an intensive care nurse, on the island of Aruba. She has attended coral reef conservation training in Colombia, South America, and jumped at the chance to combine her nursing and diving skills in the Philippines.
Raju completed his medical training in 2008 and worked for 3 years in the UK, mostly in emergency medicine. He then took up a post as medical officer on a sail training ship in the Caribbean, finally stopping on the island of Aruba where he has spent the last year and a half back in the emergency room. Before entering medicine he studied zoology at university and worked as a field biologist in southern Africa. He is very pleased to have found a job that combines these two careers!
Our lovable hound Bantay, keeps our volunteers entertained on the Philippines project site.