We went back to the park to check out our traps and the mangroves. This time, we came at 8:00 am. The sun was shining through the trees and the birds were chirping beautifully. We arrived at our trap site.
Did we catch any?
From afar we could see the trap was touched by something. The trap was deactivated, but by what? We walked down the muddy stairs and to the traps. One was under a bridge and the other was near the oldest tree. We got both the traps and checked them. We were able to peek through a small hole which was created for inserting the paddle. We saw a claw and an antenna. It was possible that it was just a crab, but I guess we’ll find out soon.
We slowly lifted the opening for the creature to get out. On the other end of the trap, we put a container to catch it. We didn’t know exactly how the attitude of this animal was. We prepared to catch it as a mix of excitement and curiosity took over. We surrounded our trap and waited patiently. Silence filled the air. You could probably hear a leaf fall from a mile away.
But, fortunately for us, slowly it came out. It meaning the mud – lobster. We closed the lid of the cylindrical container. The mud – lobster pushed the cover and was trying to claw its way up. Very intelligent animals, indeed. It stopped moving when I ventured toward the container it was in. I put a small stick in front of its face to see what it would do. It didn’t move but after a few seconds, it loudly tried to clamp it with both its claws.
After capturing the mud – lobsters we went back to our second plot. We measured the starting of the plot and went further inland. We noticed there were a lot of Nypas on one of the mounds. We studied how the other mounds were surrounded by other kinds of plants. We were trying to measure the other mounds on the other side but it was covered with Acanthuses and Nypa Fruticans. After measuring all the mounds visible, we went back to the old tree.
Since we found some interesting things happening on this small piece of an island with the tree, we decided to make a plot there. The circumference of the whole island was 18 M 77. We wanted to look at the mud – lobster better so we decided to let it go for awhile. Scared it would run, we tied a small piece of string to its body creating a leash. It looked pretty funny, leashing a lobster. After realizing they are actually very, very slow we just unleashed them. We barricaded their surroundings with small logs and pieces of stick we found lying around, even an old boot. The biggest mud – lobster kept escaping and trying to get into one of the holes. They both stopped moving so we put them back into their containers.
We decided the best idea was to set up the traps in the same mound to check if more than one lobster lived in it. After setting up the traps, and nearly catching some mudskippers, we rested on top of one of the open bridges. This bridge wasn’t completely finished so the sides had no railings yet. We spotted a medium-sized jellyfish that got itself tangled up in the vines. It was beautiful and after few minutes untangled. The cool breeze was passing as I stared through the binoculars. I could barely make out the sweet songs of the birds anymore. The sun started to fall and the night was filled with partying crickets.
It’s been two hours since we left the trap and made a decision to check them out. We steadily made out our way with some flashlights. The ants started to appear everywhere, we could barely touch the railings for support. There was this one time when we found five ants all tearing up one ant. It was crazy. We did our nocturnal prospection for maybe 45 minutes. We went back and forth quietly trying to spot some mud – lobsters burrowing away. On our way out we closed all our lights and stared into the sky. All the stars were out, and the moon was like a shimmering diamond. We told each other stories and left back to go home.
We’ve finished freshening up and we were just laying around studying. We could see the flashes of lightning through our window. There was no after sound with the lightning in a long time. The silence in the air was occupied by the sound of the aircon. All of a sudden a loud boom came screaming through my ears. I jumped, accidentally pulling off my earphones with it. We all looked at each other, surprised. The ground shook for me, it felt so close by. It was past 9:00 pm so we decided to sleep already.
Our wake up call was thirty minutes earlier than our normal routine and we all started to prepare. My roommates and I changed quickly and then headed down to meet up with the others. As all the colored groups assembled, we headed out team by team into the limestone forest. We went our normal route to one of the beaches as we were getting hyped for the day.
Apparently, we were doing bird watching! It was a really fun adventure. Each team was handed three pages of different birds each. We spotted a few migratory birds in the distance which seemed to be lounging on top of a branch. As we walked near the end of the beach, we started to play these learning games. Before the answers were revealed, we were given chances to guess the answer to their questions about birds. This also helped teams to earn more points and really just have fun. A few of the questions asked were:”
Q: “How many species of birds are found on Danjugan Island?”
A: “72 species are found on the island”
Q: “Which bird sounds like a witch laughing?”
A: “Umm, Philippine Cuckoo Dove?”
Everyone was putting their ideas and asking their questions and really learning. As questions about which bird was this or that came up, everyone stared intently at their laminated papers of bird species. There was a time when one of the AL’s asked which birds had a yellow body and black tail me and another camper both screamed “BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE!”. Just in case you were wondering, the number of points earned for this question was 1000 and I couldn’t help but try. We got it correctly and I and the other camper split it into 500 each for our teams.
A bird that stuck to my mind as we went on with our interactive lesson was the bird called Olive-backed Sunbird. It was a small but beautiful bird. The male (olive-backed) Sunbird had a shiny bluish breast which was used to attract the female birds. Did you know that male birds are sometimes way more attractive compared to the female birds? An example of a certain type of bird compared with its opposite sex is the following:
[Disclaimer: I do NOT own these photos.]
The bird on the right is the male while the bird on the left is female. According to Scientific American, it was Charles Darwin who “developed much of the theory that helps explain this. He proposed that traits promoting survival in individuals are favored by the process of natural selection, whereas traits that help the individuals of just one sex (usually the males) compete for mates are favored by sexual selection. Sexual selection is responsible for many of the features unique to one sex in a given species. These features can be divided into two general categories: those acting as weapons that allow males to fight for access to females (antlers on deer, for example) and those acting as ornaments that attract the attention of females, such as long tails on birds”.
So long story short, some males have the different burst of colors and other features to use as weapons against other males to access female birds and attract female birds to mate.
Another activity we did was identify different species of birds according to their sound! As the AL grabbed her phone out and started to play a bird sound, the beach seemed to hush as all the campers huddled around trying to remember what kind of bird it was. This was fairly hard as we’ve gotten a few birds mixed up. I forgot to mention, but last night, we were also learning the bird sounds and which bird it matched to. Another thing we learned was the anatomy of a bird.
After we finished spotting birds and trying to name them as they swooped by us, we headed back to the camp to enjoy some breakfast.
7:30 – 9:00 am
After eating our breakfast, we all just relaxed for about 15 minutes as we played some board games and talked about we learned and other things.
We then started our lecture about Climate Change and Renewable Energy. Did you know that in 2015, it was recorded as the hottest year? Did you know that 2016 is recorded as the hottest year in history? And, did you know that 2017 is set to be the hottest year next? You’ve probably heard it all. The climate change is getting worse. Our Ice Caps are melting. Our polar bears losing their homes. Beach fronts and other cities are starting to sink. Heat waves are taking people’s lives. This has been a major problem for a long time.
Did you know that the kids and plenty of other people and families have to wear a mask as they live their lives in Beijing? Below are pictures from an article written by Mashable where they wrote about Beijing such as:
When Sean Gallagher first visited Beijing in 2005, they simply called it “fog.”
The British photographer, who has lived in Asia for the past decade, noticed that very few people in Beijing truly considered the city’s notorious air pollution much of an issue.
That attitude shifted in 2006 when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics and the city’s choking pollution became an issue in the Chinese press.
“It entered people’s consciousness, but wasn’t something people took action to protect themselves against,” Gallagher said.
Nine years later, they wear the mask.”…….
At least the Chinese government is taking this seriously and making changes like they “banned new coal-fired power plants in major cities” and China’s renewable energy is doing great.
Yes, this is just one of the many problems that are occurring. Another example is what is happening in India. There have been so many heat waves that have victimized thousands of people. In 2010, 1300 lives were gone. In 2013, 1500 lives were taken. In 2015, another heat wave came and took 2,500 lives more. Also, there are “tens of millions of Indian lives” that are in poverty which also puts about 1.3 billion people (a quarter of India’s population) who doesn’t have electricity and lives on less than $1.25 a day to have no air – conditioner (which is seen as middle-class luxury) and struggle in finding a way to survive through the terrible heat (Waldman).
Before continuing, I shared to the camp my own experience of the Yolanda Typhoon which some say was the effect of climate change. We had to barricade our windows as the wind kept hitting it and composing these loud shaky sounds which made us worry about our windows breaking. We also had to go through about 1 month of brown out which was hard as we took turns at night to fan each other and help exchange flashlights and candles to navigate our way through the house at night. One thing which I was utterly terrified about was our neighborhoods restaurant’s roof flew off. The roof was big and strong and destroyed a couple of houses just a couple blocks from our house. If you looked down when you go outside, you could see leaves or smithereens of rocks going around in small circles which just showed the directions the winds were moving, which seemed to be everywhere.
Other campers told their experiences as well. We then went on from the drastic changes the earth has gone through and climate changes and tipping points to renewable energy.
We all raised our hands as we tried guessing and explaining the different types of renewable energy and what we know about them. What is “Renewable Energy” or “Green Energy” you might ask. Well, it’s energy which is generated from natural sources such as the sun, the wind, water or hydro, the rain, the tides, and geothermal heat. The good thing about renewable energy compared to coal is that it won’t deplete or run out and (AND) it’s naturally replenished.
As you may have heard, there are already many different types of renewable energy such as:
Hydroelectric Energy (Energy from Water)
Biomass (Energy from Plants)
I feel that we all are competent to save our world and restoring it back to it’s healthier self. If we all and try to do our part even if it’s just a little (such as spreading the word or not littering) we could make a difference.
9:30 – 12:00
After learning more on climate change and renewable energy, each group was given a piece of manila paper and some crayons. We were going to draw down what we loved most or enjoy about mother nature. We put a line to divide the paper for four people in our group (just like everyone else). When we all finished our assignment, each group showed their drawing to their teammate. Each group was quietly explaining why we drew what we drew to each other. My idea was to draw a tree because I’ve grown up loving trees and walking through them in the quiet and beautiful forests. I also love how trees help to make air and have shelters for birds and other animals and look magnificent. Then, I added a saw next to a tree and the money sign. For the last requirement, I drew a sign that showed no plastic and no deforestation. All the other campers did an amazing job, too! Another camper from another group color drew a group of fish, cyanide, and trash (like plastic) being thrown in the water and then to protect these awesome creatures were MPA or MSA areas which are also known as Marine Protected (or Secured) Area.
After this, we were all then handed another sheet of Manila paper and told to draw a symbol. A symbol of mother nature. Or, just nature.
As everyone sat on their separate tables with their group, we all seemed to be thinking. Four minds for each group were just quite for like two minutes just wondering what would be a good idea.
Eventually, the cabana was filled with excited talk about what their project would be. In my team (the white group, YEAH!), we made up the idea to draw a big shield with trees, fish, animals, and even a mountain to fill some of the space up. Outside the shield, we put smoke, cyanide and other things that affect nature. When everyone else finished, each group was supposed to show the drawing that we made as a well as an explanation about it. As our turn came up, we had this small debate going on about who would talk about it. I immediately got the paper and held it up so that I would be the holder and not the speaker. Eventually, we coordinated into all speaking up a little. We told everyone we wanted these things inside the shield to be protected and everything outside to be stopped or lessened. Another camper from another group color actually told the ALs to give us some extra points because of the inspiration for the shield idea.
We refueled our minds with some snacks that they handed out like puto.
After this, we prepared for a little island exploration and ventured into the limestone forest.
12:30 – 5:00 pm
L. U. N. C. H. Party lunch!!! We were celebrating one of the campers birthdays! I was surprised haha. A cake came in and everyone started singing. After getting a slice and some spaghetti.
Before I tell you what happened next, I just need to say I was innocent. I was not the culprit and I don’t know how I got dragged into this. I was just sitting there with my cake eating and having a happy life when one of my friends smudged a cake on my face. I paused for awhile trying to understand the situation. I laughed before standing up and getting ready to get them back. Then, a few of my other friends targeted me and I just got them back. Hahaha. It was a good moment and time.
We were actually given a 2 hour “free time”. We had the choices to just hanging out with other, kayak, swim and others. A few campers chose to do some snorkeling and I decided to do some kayaking with some friends. An AL had to accompany us because of the recent spottings of boxed jellyfish. I rowed around the Morey lagoon looking at the bottom to find some urchins. We even saw some fire corals! I nearly bumped into a few things but eventually, I decided to go back to shore because the sun just wouldn’t stop heating us up.
After awhile, we may have regretted the decision in not joining the group of campers who recently left to snorkel. The first group which left used the boat to get to their destination. As we just sat on the beach wondering what to do, we saw a few campers with an AL who were about to swim somewhere. We asked if we could join them and they gladly waited for us. We quickly changed, got our snorkel and swam. We swam all the way to the boat. Then, we swam all the way to the other campers who were pretty far from the boat. They were surprised to see us but then we all started looking down into the deep ocean to look for some sea creatures.
We got so lucky!! There were about 20 big and long barracudas below us! It wasn’t that close don’t worry. It looked amazing they kept swimming back and forth all together. Did you know that it’s safer to be around barracudas when they are in a group rather when they are just alone? It’s because when a barracuda is alone, they feel more insecure and uneasy which makes them attack more easily when they get scared.
More minutes pass and I realized I was the only girl left in the water with the other guys and a few ALs. We took one last look at the barracudas and a few underwater shots and swam back to the boat.
5:00 – 6:30 pm
We sat down in the dining cabana as our swimming attire slowly dripped all its water out and eventually dried up. We did another lesson but this time on mangroves for about 30 minutes. FACTS:
Q: “Why are Mangroves important?”
A: Mangroves are home to small fish and crustaceans. And, did you know that they help in calming the waters when strong waves come in and also reduce the impact from tsunamis? They even help stop erosions from happening on the shoreline, too! Mangroves pretty much are our shield against tsunamis, storms and help save lives and properties. While doing all these things, mangroves also work as a home to different animals and provide wood, fruits, seafood, medicine, and fiber.
We learned more about how they help and how important they are.
Everyone went back to their cabanas to change or prepare to go to the beach because we were going to have an activity!
The first game they asked us a question “who’s good at running or who likes to run and tag?”. One of my friends raised her hand. This game was a demonstration of silt and soil. All the other campers were silt and the It (my friend who volunteered to be the tagger) was supposed to touch us. We were given a measured big space where were suppose to run to the other side without being tagged. If we were to be tagged, then we would have to stop at our place (not moving) and try to move our arms join the tagger (but in the place we got tagged). The only person who would get to run and the tag was the It. This game was so fun and we did the second round trying to implement a good strategy. We let everyone run first and while the It is distracted with the people who first ran, we would try to run all the way to the other side. Works like a charm.
The next activity we did was in the water. And, it had TEAMWORK in it. Wait, song intermission:
“What’s gonna work? Teammmmm Workkk!!!”
What’s gonna work? Teammm Work!!!”
To those who know where this is from, You’re AWESOME! But, to those who don’t know this song, You’re Still AWESOME!!
Now, getting back to what we did…. Each group went together and the tallest went to the back and the shortest at the front (which is me). We were only three because one of our teammates wasn’t feeling so good. While we were in the water, each group had to cling on to each other in a line with the legs and had to row using their arms. We did a few races and it was tiring but really enjoyable. A few more ecology games and we started to head back to the camp after a few sunset shot.
6:30 – 10:00 pm
We were all excited to finally have a (one bucket of water) shower! When we finished showering and changed into much more comfy clothes, we waited for dinner. Some of us were just resting in our cabanas, playing some guitar, singing and talking.
After some dinner, we closed all the lights and everyone quietly looked down at the lagoon. We spotted some Bioluminescent Algae! It was glowing. Every time a fish moved, it touched the algae and made it illuminate. These algae are widespread on the surface of the water and produce a blue and green light when moved or disturbed by motion, just what the fish was doing! They produce a flash of blue-green light whenever the water they are living in is disturbed by motion.
We had a long and amazing day which everyone enjoyed. I’m looking forward to tomorrow! We learned so much today 🙂
We reached our destination! Yay. We were assigned to drop our bags over at one of the tables before anything. I remember one of the first things that we were all told was about the eco toilet (which the place where you do the number 2). Btw, it was already lunch. Time to eatttt. The other kids went into the dining area already while I took a quick glimpse of the place. When I decided to join the rest I went up the small bamboo steps up to the dining area which was hovering over (with the aid of some concrete) the Moray Lagoon. The water was so clear and blue. Also, the reason to why the Lagoon had a Moray in it was because if you looked at the water you could see Moray Eels. They can look scary sometimes but also they made the water look lively if that makes sense.
As I stared at the dining area, I had no idea where to sit. Most of the tables were taken and I didn’t know where to sit. Also, I didn’t plan on sitting alone. And as I’ve mentioned before, most who came were with a relative or friend so they had a person to eat with.
I gathered my strength and decided to take a seat with a table that had 3 occupied seats. I said “hi” and we started to have a good conversation. In just a few minutes we all became friends.
While everyone finished their remaining lunch, one of the camp directors started introducing all the other camp members which we call ALs. Apparently, we were gonna be split up into four teams. Each team would be lead by one adult leader (or AL). All the AL’s each took turns in introducing themselves and their background about where they came from and why they’re in the camp. There was one scientist who came from Germany and who was going to teach us about fish and corals.
Also, we were told that for the answers that we got correct or for the behavior or actions that we did right we would get points for our teams. And of course, with being late or others our points could go down. Once we finished acquainting with our teams and AL’s, we all went out of the dining cabana and made a circle. Apparently, we were going to say our name and a dance. It went one way around the circle. When it reached my turn like everyone else, I shouted “LIBI!” and did this awkward dance move which everyone then shouted “LIBI!” and the same move. This was just a fun way to acquaint ourselves with everyone.
There are actually four cabanas for all the campers. Two are for the girls and two are for the boys. One of the main rules is that no boys allowed in the girl’s cabana and vise versa. There were about 5 girls in my cabana while there was about 7 in the other girl’s cabana.
When we finished preparing ourselves for swimming and trekking, we heard our call (KUUUUUWEEEEE (which is a bird call which came from one of the ALs)).
Most of the things you would hear (from the Camp Director) when all the campers gathered are “look at me if you could hear me” or “clap twice if you could hear me“. These were some of the ways to gather the attention when everyone was being loud.
Anyways, back to the learning center. We were briefed about the island and the different beaches and lagoons. At this point, there were a few questions in which you could earn a few points from. We were also briefed about first aid and other things to be aware of while we do our trek. We were ready. We were instructed to bring our snorkel, other gear (if you have any), waterproof bag (if you need for things you want to bring which you don’t want to get wet), water bottle, sunscreen and insect repellent. If you forgot to bring your snorkel gear (just like me ;D) don’t worry! You could rent a snorkel or any other gear at one of the gear stall area on the island. All you have to do is sign your name and Tadaaa!
Because each team had its separate color (in my case, color white), we had to wrap a different color per team on the snorkel. We then headed out team by team. While passing one of the bridges, we saw big sea urchins at the bottom. Wanna know why they were hanging out there? Well, above the bridge is a bat cave. And, the bat cave goes all the way down. The urchins liked the bat poop. Mmmm.
We passed by turtle beach and typhoon beach. And, after waiting for the other teams at some sort of bar (rehydrating ourselves with some water), we swam to the beach reaching one of the far rafts with the ALs and our teams.
Good thing for the tapes wrapped our snorkels when the others were still snorkeling you could still identify which ones were part of your team. We were shown the different corals and fishes. It seemed to explode with colors! It was beautiful.
We made our way back with a sunset trek. The sky was orange and the light slowly made its way down. Our night ended with some dinner and finally a bath! Even though it’s only one bucket per person, I agree that it’s a good amount to use. Here’s the tip, use the tabo twice to wash away the sand and wet your hair, then shampoo and soap, then another wash. Done! You’ll probably have some leftovers.
Just before sleeping, we all sat around in a circle at the dining area after pushing away the chairs and tables to the side. One of the ALs told us that this was our community building and that it will be one of the only times we’ll be doing it. As we sat down in a circle, we shared what we enjoyed throughout the day and something we liked to build in our community. On a sheet of Manila Paper, a circle was drawn. Inside the circle, we would throw out ideas we would like to have in our community, an example, trust or respect for others.
The picture above is the paper that we all made. In our community, we had the power of choice, the power of two feet, and the power of experts. Inside our community, we wrote down words we wanted for our Danjugan community. As you may see above, we wanted positivity, trust, support, friendship respect, understanding for each other in our Danjugan family.
After this, we went to our cabanas and slept. Well, the truth is I talked to my roommates (cabana mates) before sleeping. We were having a small debate whether or not we should leave the chips in the cabana. Laziness kinda went around and we decided to leave the food in the room.
We put our mosquito nets properly around our mattresses and finally slept. 😉