Field Base Manager
Rob has completed 7 expeditions with CCC as the Field Base Manager and/or PADI Scuba Instructor in the Philippines, Cambodia and Tobago. His diving has taken him all around the world. He is a
Scuba Service Engineer and Technician, an expedition medic and instructor, a Hyperbaric Chamber Operator and Attendant and an RYA Yachtmaster complete with STCW 95. Prior to working in marine
conservation Rob spent 22 years in Her Majesties Corps of Royal Engineers working in numerous locations around the World and is also an electrician with a sound working knowledge of most construction
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.
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!
Alix Green MSc
Alix has been diving since she was 16 and has been passionate about the oceans ever since. She completed her divemaster training in Kao Lak, Thailand where she worked on livaboards honing her skills. Alix has always been driven to work towards the sustainable management of our global oceans and is determined to help protect our waters and those who depend on them. With this in mind she completed an MSc in Aquatic Resource Management to facilitate a career change away from London business life. She spent the final few months of her MSc collecting data on seagrass habitats and seahorse populations in the Spanish Mediterranean. Seeing the challenges faced here by the conservation community cemented her desire to help develop marine conservation strategies that address the challenges faced by conservationists worldwide. She joins Coral Cay for the first time and is excited by the opportunity to bring all her varied skills and experiences together. Following her time with Coral Cay Alix intends to return to the UK to complete a PhD that will address how conservation and political objectives can become aligned to conserve and protect this fragile environment.
During Edinburgh’s sunnier months Jerry is a communications manager in the government and the corporate world. When winter approaches he escapes to the tropics to have adventures and find exotic wildlife. He’s dived in over 20 countries, including slaving as a Divemaster in Honduras and Fiji, and recently learnt to dry suit dive in his native Scotland. Having first experienced life as a volunteer with Coral Cay Conservation in the Philippines, he was the Science Officer for the CCC Cambodia base for the first half of 2014. After an epic break diving around Indonesia, he very happily returned to the Philippines base to teach coral reef surveying during the UK’s winter 2014-15.
Nick has been a certified SCUBA diver since the age of 12. However, being from Chicago, Illinois does not present a lot of opportunity to do any recreational diving. Because of this, Nick has done most of his diving in the Philippines and Malaysia, and also has dives logged in Mexico and Belize. He also previously lived in the Philippines for five years, which exposed him to the beauty and wonder of one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world. Nicks first taste of marine conservation was through an volunteer trip to Glovers Reef in Belize, for shark research and conservation. One year later, he decided to pursue his PADI Divemaster (DM) certification on the small island of Malapascua in the Philippines, where he got to dive with the elusive Thresher Sharks on a near daily basis. On completion he traveled to the even smaller island of Mabul, Malaysia, where he worked as a DM for a small dive shop. All of these adventures and experiences came before Nick even graduated with his bachelor of science in Biology from Indiana University in May of 2014. Nick is about to get his first real taste of a prolonged research and volunteer experience with CCC in the Philippines in January of 2015 as a Science Officer, and he couldn’t be more excited!
Nicole is from the United States and grew up by the beach in Rhode Island. Always in love with the ocean and coast, she learned to dive in her home state 10 years ago and quickly learned just how cold the Atlantic could be in May! She studied Biology and Student Administration whilst at university and later realized just how much she enjoyed diving. She trained as a divemaster in Honduras and decided to become an instructor while living in Thailand. Nicole admittedly talks to fish and can occasionally be heard singing underwater (never on land)! She is excited to work with the staff and volunteers of Coral Cay Conservation in the Philippines.
Although she grew up in the landlocked prairies of Canada, Tracy has been in love with the ocean for as long as she can remember. Eventually, watching all those nature documentaries motivated her to learn how to scuba dive at the age of 14. In 2011 she graduated with a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Victoria, and is now pursuing a career in environmental education and conservation. She has gained substantial teaching experience as an outdoor educator, karate instructor, and PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. Tracy enjoys the outdoors, travelling, and scuba diving, and is very excited to be working as Education Officer for CCC in the Philippines!
Having always loved the outdoors, Erica has sought to combine her career as a doctor and her passion for adventure. She has taken a break from working in Accident and Emergency to join Coral Cay in the Philippines as Medical Officer. She is passionate about travelling and competing in Mountain Marathons. She is a qualified PADI Rescue Diver and has completed courses in PADI Chamber Awareness, Advanced Trauma Life Support and Wilderness Medicine.