Benjamin Jack BSc
Field Base Manager
Ben has been working on research, conservation and community engagement projects for over 8 years and is really excited to be part of the Coral Cay team! Ben’s been passionate about the marine environment since he learnt to dive as a 17-year-old and has been fortunate enough to work on lots of projects in this field, including exploring coral resilience in the Seychelles, mangrove ecosystem services in Kenya and shark habitat requirements in Belize. His professional background is based in Oxford in the UK, developing and delivering international programmes for a non-profit organisation which supports scientific field research. This role includes responsibilities for field safety and incident management, and Ben holds a number of relevant qualifications including Explorer and Exploration Medicine, Offsite Safety Management and Scuba Technician. Ben’s academic background mixes social sciences and environmental conservation, and he is really interested in how strong science and people come together to deliver meaningful conservation action. Ben can’t wait to meet you in the Philippines!
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
Community Liaison Officer and Scuba Instructor
Jesse is our Community Liaison Office which means he is our gateway into the local communities around Sogod Bay as well as the schools where he runs our Sea Star programme, educating the kids on Coral Reefs, their resident lifeforms and the importance of protecting them. He is also a qualified Dive Instructor completing over 2800 dives with the vast majority on the Napantao House Reef right on the site’s door step. This means he provides an invaluable wealth of knowledge to everyone who dives with us here. If you want to see the elusive 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 in Latin before you have even realised it’s not a piece of algae!
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!
Jose Ydel (Dudong)
Compressor Operator and groundsman
Jose "Dudong" Ydel is our compressor operator and general groundsman. He has been a local snorkel guide in the area of Napantao for many years now, and has a keen interest in conservation of the local marine environment. He is currently a PADI Divemaster. In his spare time he enjoys artisan coconut wood carving, and is responsible for many of the necklasses and wooden hangings seen on base.
Felipé was born in Venezuela, where he spent most of his childhood enjoying the waters of the Caribbean and its marine life. Later, he moved to Spain and started studying a degree on Environmental Science, his passion for marine life made him move to Scotland and start an MSc in Marine Systems and Policies. During Felipe’s career he had the opportunity to work in stunning places like Barcelona, Menorca or Maldives, and his academic research was focused on the impact of eco-tourism on whale sharks. After completing his MSc thesis he was able to go back to the Maldives again and spend some time helping with a whale shark research program, where he was able to learn about different underwater surveying techniques.
Javier Del Campo Jimenez
Javier has always been passionate about nature, especially marine life as he was born in the Canary Islands and has always been very close to the sea. This deep passion led him to study environmental sciences with a specialization through a MSc in Conservation of Nature. His MSc thesis was focused on ecosystem-based coastal management. Since his early career he has been working in marine research, protected areas use and endangered species management. He is a Divemaster and a freediver. He is also keen on studying other cultures and ways of life so he also studied a Master´s degree in International Cooperation and Development. In order to link these two interests, he has been working in places such as Morocco, Cape Verde or Senegal, in projects aimed at empowering local communities and ensuring the conservation and sustainability of natural resources. He is looking forward to joining the CCC team in the Philippines!
Nathan Hubot BSc MSc
After a Bachelor in Bio-engineering and a Masters in Marine biology, Nathan has spent years doing research and travelling. During that time he has been trained to become a teacher and a scientific diver. Now, Nathan is responsible for the scientific training of volunteers and the daily survey activities.
Pippa first left the UK more permanently to travel South America, and took her first ever SCUBA dive in Colombia. Within less than a year she had completed her Instructor training in Mexico. With a BA in Anthropology, she has always been interested in working and living within communities during her travels, and SCUBA diving was originally a platform to do this, but grew in to a passion and fascination for the world below the surface. Her most recent position was working as an instructor in Maldives, but she now wishes to expand her knowledge and experience in to the field of research, conservation and education. Pippa believes that joining Coral Cay as an instructor will allow her to use and pass on her current knowledge, expertise and skills, and also gain valuable experience before starting her Masters in Tropical Marine Biology later this year.
Scuba Instructor (starting 26th July)
Rachel first started travelling 5 years ago after finishing her BSc in Zoology. She did her first ever dive in Egypt when she was 19 and after that was hooked! Rachel did a Divemaster internship in Australia and afterwards moved onto Jamaica, then Mexico, where she did her Instructor training. Rachel’s most recent job was managing a dive centre on a small island resort in the Philippines. She applied to volunteer for Coral Cay as soon as she saw the advert as she has always wanted to help make a difference and look after the underwater world that she enjoys so much. Rachel is very excited to join the Coral Cay team and is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of conservation and sharing her love of diving with everyone there.
Shrimp (aka King Prawn)
Shrimp arrived here in the middle of 2015, and serves as the base guard dog. He takes his job very seriously and has been known to bark at leaves and coconuts that venture too close to the building. What he lacks intelligence, he makes up for in charisma and is well loved by the staff and volunteers on site.
Coral (aka Corallimorph, Coral the Destroyer, Coral the Vacuum)
Coral arrived on base at the end of last year. She was originally from Tacloban, where she heard about a position for an assistant guard dog. She applied for it by urinating on the Field Base Manager as he was interviewing other potential puppies for the position. The FBM admired her confidence and offered her the job. Her duties include either destroying or eating anything found within her boundary of the base (depending on the nutritional value of the item in question).