Save the pawikans! The sign was prominent and bright at the entrance of the Bataan Pawikan Conservation Center. The kids have been all excited about the trip and the fact that they’re going to meet Crush and Mr. Turtle. I had to impose upon them that they are going to learn more than just the names of these beautiful creatures.
The Bataan Pawikan Conservation Center has been in operation for some time and strives to protect the sea turtles and educate the public about the importance of these graceful yet lumbering sea creatures. The people behind the center are amazing people who are passionate and adamant about saving the turtles. The most beautiful part is that they were, in some way, shape or form, former poachers of turtle eggs and turtle meat. Okay, let me quantify that – it wasn’t beautiful the way they poached the eggs and meat but how they transformed from poachers to saviour.
A plant or animal becomes extinct when the last living individual of its species dies, causing it to vanish from the earth forever. If there is ever a time when the last green turtle on earth dies, then never again will this magnificent creature grace our world.
One can stay in the center but just to level your expectations, the accommodations are not exactly 3 star. It’s more of…backpacking/hostel type so be prepared to rough it. It’s worth it though as the people who run the rooms (that includes freshly cooked fresh food! And I mean freshly harvested veggies and fish!) are the wives and family members of the men who patrol the beaches and run the center.
The center educates the visitors in the importance of the turtles. They also patrol the beaches every night and try to harvest the eggs that the mother turtles laid so that they can transfer it to their center hatchery to protect them. They also release the baby turtles once they hatch.
The beach is just as inviting as well. Best to go out there at dawn to see the fishermen come in with their bounty.
If you want to go on a trip to the center, I strongly suggest that you book the trip via Route+63 with Florence. We booked with her and we had a really great time! If you’re not up for sleeping in the center, you can book a room in another hotel nearby.
Meanwhile, here’s a video of us releasing the turtles!