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For more than 17 years, Coral Cay has been at the forefront of community-based coral reef and tropical forest conservation in the Philippines. Together with our in-country partners, the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI), we have been helping to protect reefs and support local livelihood development throughout the Philippines. The Philippines is found within the heart of the Coral Triangle, known to contain the highest biodiversity in the world!
The Southern Leyte Coral Reef Project (SLCRP), established in 2002, was undertaken with the main objective of assisting the Provincial Government in the conservation of the coral reefs of Sogod Bay for the long-term benefit and food-security of the residents of the Province.
Sogod Bay offers a stunning array of coral, invertebrate and fish species and is home to spectacular macrofauna such as dolphins and a variety of (harmless!) sharks. The Bay is also visited by migratory Whale Sharks. With a bit of luck, you may be able to spend some time snorkelling with these gentle giants and help to contribute to their conservation!
As recommended by the
Lonely Planet guidebooks
We support local communities through a wide range of marine educational and awareness activities as well as a capacity building programme. This work helps to empower future custodians and decision makers with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively manage and conserve their coral reef resources. Through this approach, we are not only protecting reefs but also ensuring that the people directly dependent on these reefs are able to continue benefiting from them in a sustainable manner.
The project aims to collect baseline scientific data on the current health of the marine habitats of Sogod Bay. This information is used to develop effective management recommendations to support the conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass meadows found within the bay. In addition to baseline survey work, we are assisting the Provincial Government with the establishment of dozens of community-led Marine Protected Areas, locally known as ‘fish sanctuaries’, which aim to provide a more sustainable source of fisheries based income whilst also protecting important marine habitats.
The project site
Coral Cay’s conservation projects are run with the help of local and international expedition staff, international volunteers and research scientists. Coral Cay have expedition start dates every four weeks so there is a regular influx of new volunteers each month, enabling Coral Cay to carry out its research year round1.
The project site is located close to the small coastal village of Napantao, Southern Leyte, roughly an hour’s flight from the capital Manila. Coral Cay’s project building has been generously provided by the Provincial Government of Southern Leyte and provides an excellent teaching and training facility with a fantastic house reef and wall dive on our doorstep.
Expedition living conditions are basic but comfortable. Volunteers are accommodated in 2-6 person dormitories, with an en-suite bathroom. The site has a reasonably reliable electricity supply and water is sourced locally or from a deep-water well. The site has a large communal dining area and dedicated science training room. It is located right on the water’s edge, overlooking the Napantao Fish Sanctuary with the house reef only a few metres away.
Coral Cay welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds and nationalities and individuals do not need to have any previous diving or science related knowledge to join an expedition as all of the necessary training is completed during the expedition.
Individuals booking on will need to be a minimum of 18 years of age but we are able to take on under 18’s if they join an expedition as part of a school or university group. See here for information on our schools programme.
We are also able to assist under/post graduate students who wish to conduct research projects in conjunction with their Coral Cay expedition. Please see here for more information.
As part of the expedition, volunteers will undergo a comprehensive training package which will include a two week Skills Development Programme and dive training if applicable. Please see here for an explanation of the training involved on a Coral Cay expedition.
What do past volunteers have to say about their experience with Coral Cay?
“Napantao Marine Protected Area is one of the most diverse coral reefs I have had the honour of diving. I am proud to be a part of an organisation that is dedicated to the conservation of these beautiful habitats by promoting grass roots conservation through community involvement”.
Bernie Burczak, Project Scientist, the Philippines 2012.
See here for more diary entries from past volunteers, local scholars and expedition staff to get an
insider’s view on a Coral Cay experience.
Download further information
We have put together a Philippines Project Summary and Marine Expedition Guide which will help to give volunteers a flavour of what they can expect from their expedition, including specific details of the project site itself to an overview of daily life on a Coral Cay project site.
Download our guides here.
Expedition costs & dates
Volunteers can choose the length of time they wish to spend on expedition with Coral Cay ranging from two2 weeks up to six months! As such Coral Cay work on a weekly pricing scale, which means that the longer you stay the cheaper it is per week.
To enable us to carry out our research all year round, expeditions have start dates every four weeks, so volunteers can choose the most convenient time of year to come and join us. Be it as part of your holiday leave from work or as part of a gap year adventure.
Please see here for more information on expedition costs, what is and isn’t included and expedition start dates.
Before booking please consider the following points:
1: Coral Cay’s project sites are closed for two weeks over the Christmas period.
2: Volunteers joining a Coral Cay expedition for a two week period may not complete their skills development programme and may not get the opportunity to carry out any marine surveys.
Your flight will be the biggest environmental impact of the expedition. For example, in flying to Manila from the UK, you will be responsible for releasing approximately 3.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for global warming. CCC has teamed up with Rainforest Concern to try and help repair your flight's contribution to global warming. You now have the option to reduce your emissions by the same amount as the flight creates, making your flights 'climate neutral'.
CCC also offsets all of the emissions from the flights that our staff take on company business. By offsetting the CO2 emissions from our air travel you can be sure our recce’s aren’t adding to global warming. We operate as close to a “paperless” office as possible and send the majority of our paperwork via email. This also helps to keep the costs of our programmes to a minimum.
The Rainforest Concern Forest Credits system gives instant calculations allowing you to see the cost and emissions in real time. More importantly the money raised goes directly to help Rainforest Concern projects. Rainforest Concern is a Registered Charity in the UK, established to protect threatened natural habitats and the biodiversity they contain, together with the indigenous people who still depend on them for survival.
Should you wish to offset your carbon footprint, please click here.