Who are we?
Marine Conservation Philippines (MCP) a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to preserving and protecting coastal resources in the Philippines through education, volunteerism and research.
The world around us is changing and marine ecosystems are in more peril than ever before. Realizing this urgency, we bring people with diverse backgrounds and skills together to build financial, social and scientific capacity to respond to unprecedented threats to food security, societal stability and ocean health.
We believe it is our collective responsibility to act and affect meaningful change, and that it is only through the choices we make and in how we influence others that we can ensure the world we are building will continue to include thriving and life-supporting marine ecosystems.
To realize this vision we will tirelessly work to educate the public and influential decision makers to recognize the immeasurable value of the marine ecosystem, vastly improving the societal and natural environment of the Philippines, now and in the future.
Where do we live?
The HQ of Marine Conservation Philippines is located in Zamboanguita in the province of Negros Oriental. It is in the middle of the Philippines, in the heart of the Visayas region. . North of the bandits, south of the typhoons. Zamboanguita is a municipality of some 30.000 inhabitants. On the outskirts of the municipality you’ll find our base inside Siit Arboretum, a beautiful botanical garden with samples of both endemic and international flora, some three hundred meters from the water as the bird flies.
Zamboanguita is situated below Mount Talinis, amidsts rice paddies, egrets and buffaloes. Although there are some dive resorts in Zamboanguita, it is still relatively unexplored by tourists, and offers an authentic Filipino experience for tourists who venture further south than Dauin, the much better known neighbouring municipality, reknowned for its incredible diving. The better known dive destinations like Apo Island, Siquijor, Bohol and Cebu are still within easy travel distance by bus and/or boat.
What is the volunteer job about?
During your stay with Marine Conservation Philippines, you can take part in many different projects. Some of our projects are one offs – combatting crown of thorn infestations for example, while others are continually ongoing – like the surveying of coral reefs along the southern coast of Negros Island. While surveying, we document species abundance, substrate coverage, and damage to coral reefs. Our scientists work on various projects. Some study reef resilience, others climate change, and still others reef restoration.
Our diving program at MCP is unique. If you are a non-diver, you’ll two weeks learning to become a safe and proficient scuba diver via the PADI program of education . Depending on the length of your stay you can choose to complete multiple diving courses – our rule of thumb is one course for each four week segment of volunteering. Courses you can do while with Marine Conservation Philippines include PADI Open Water , Advanced Open Water or the PADI rescue diver course. If you’re are really ambitious you can even become a PADI Divemaster .
In addition to volunteer activities in the water, we do a great deal of work on land as well. We visit local schools and teach about oceans in general and how the work we do here is saving these marine ecosystems. By reaching out to the next generation we believe we can change the future. We have also created various community outreach programs, such as teaching first aid to the locals and holding a local “Kid’s Club” over the summer. Additionally, we always try to lend a hand with various community work when invited or needed.
Other work involves the creation of artificial divesites (such as deliberately scuttled wrecks or underwater sculpture parks) that act as breeding grounds for fish in marine protected areas (MPAs), or promoting local and regional dive tourism, as local revenue and job generation from dive tourism can easily outweigh that brought about by destructive fishing practices. You can be sure that your work here at Marine Conservation Philippines will have a lasting, beneficial effect on our oceans.
Life starts around 7:00 with breakfast. After breakfast the plan for the day is reviewed. Some volunteers will be doing scuba courses, others will be out doing marine research, underwater cleanups or community work. What you’ll be doing will largely be based on where you are in the volunteer program, but we also take into account personal preferences. After diving, we’ll usually have lunch around one or two o clock or if you’re doing work far from our base, you’ll eat your lunch at a local market there. After lunch we often continue with our various activities till sometime in the afternoon. Typically this consists of entering survey-data on computers, various base work, or community outreach.
The evenings are different. At times you will be at work analyzing data collected on the dives or studying for your next scuba course, but often you’ll just want to relax and unwind with fellow volunteers. What you do after dinner in the evenings is very much up to yourself. You may want to organize a game or movie night, share a drink and a laugh, get people around a camp fire, or something else entirely. Other options would be to go on a night dive, go for a run, catch up with friends and family at home using our free wifi, work out in our gym or just quietly read a book. It really is up to you.
Who are you as a volunteer?
Volunteers who come to Marine Conservation Philippines come from very diverse backgrounds, but everyone has one thing in common – a wish to help preserve nature.
Besides this common wish, we expect everyone to understand that volunteering with us is not a resort stay or a five star holiday. Volunteering is for people who like getting their hands dirty – no one is here to make your bed or clean your room, there’s long days in the water, and it might be your turn to lend a hand in the kitchen washing some dishes or sweeping a floor. We all bunk in together, and it really is a bit like camping out. Camp fires and story telling included.
The Filipinos are generally enormously friendly and considerate, and they have their own culture and customs. We ask our foreign volunteers to remember that they are the guests in the Philippines and to behave accordingly, same as you would expect anyone to behave in your own home. Generally speaking, with a little enthusiasm, a willingness to learn new things, and a consideration for people and culture, you’ll have no issues whatsoever. Upon arrival at the expedition base, foreign volunteers will be briefed more on local culture and customs.
Various beverages including alcoholic ones can be purchased on site. We’re fine with people unwinding over a drink or two at night, and there will definitely be parties, fiestas, volunteer birthdays etc. every now and then. This is all good-natured and fine, but we expect volunteers to exercise a degree of moderation, especially if diving the next day. Loud drunken behavior that may annoy others on base is not acceptable.
Marine Conservation Philippines reserves the right to terminate the stay of any volunteer whose behavior is deemed to be offensive to other volunteers, staff, or the surrounding community.
What is the minimum length of stay?
6 weeks. The average stay is 8-10 weeks, but some stay as long as 5-6 months.
What is the price?
450 USD / weekly. (Can be paid in USD, PHP or even DKK)
What is included?
Three daily meals and free water, tea and coffee plus seasonal fruits and snacks.
Accommodation. (We live in a lovely old botanical garden on a hill close by the sea, with the huts nestled under mango and nara trees.
Scuba diving, including scuba gear rental
Marine park fees
Certificate of recognition
PADI scuba diver training (except manual, which is yours to keep after the course and certification fee to PAD
What is not included?
What is the minimum age?
18 years old
What are the requirements?
Dedication toward the job!
Accepting towards difference in culture
As a rule of thumb, we strongly suggest that to help take part in our conservation efforts, doing more than a single course in each four week segment is not a good idea.)