Monday, November 27, 2017

Bataan celebrates Pawikan Festival 2017

Aiming to make all the Filipinos aware of the importance of endangered marine turtles and its role in the ecological balance of marine biodiversity, the province of Bataan celebrated this year's nationally recognized Pawikan Festival with the theme "Help Save the Pawikan," which was held last Saturday, November 25, at the Pawikan Conservation Center in Morong, Bataan.
Pawikan Festival 2017: Help Save the Pawikan!
Currently, on its sixteenth year, the festival was organized by the Bataan provincial government, spearheaded by Governor Albert Garcia and his mother, Vicky Garcia, the chairwoman of Bataan Tourism Foundation, in coordination with Morong municipal government headed by Mayor Cynthia Estanislao.

Walk for a cause

To create an awareness for the young generations about marine turtles conservation, the festival kicked off with a morning walk at 5:30 am in Nagbalayog. The course was about 3 kilometers from the starting line in Nagbalayog to Pawikan Conservation Center. It was then followed by the opening ceremony at the Pawikan Conservation Center, attended by more than a thousand guests.

Local government unit participated in "Walk for a cause."
Opening ceremony

After the morning walk, the participants and guests from different schools, local government units, environmental groups, and other organizations were introduced.

Student organization like Yes-O participated in "Walk for a cause."
While waiting for the program to start, the internationally awarded band from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines entertained the crowd. The PUP Banda Kawayan is well-known for its use of bamboo musical instruments.
PUP Banda Kawayan performing at the Pawikan Festival 2017.
Commencing the opening ceremony with an invocation and singing of the National Anthem, the PUP Banda Kawayan took the lead. After the anthem, Mayor Estanislao formally opened the celebration of the Pawikan Festival 2017. "Our municipality, Morong, is privileged for always being the venue of the festival. It is with great pride and honor that the Pawikan Festival is associated with the municipality. With that being said, I formally welcome the guests and participants," Mayor said.

Following the welcoming remarks, Senator Cynthia Villar, the guest of honor, spoke in front of thousands of audience. "One of the main ways to protect the marine creatures like marine turtles is to protect our ocean and maintain its cleanliness because it is their home or habitat," said Senator Villar, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Senator Cynthia Villar talked in front of Batae├▒o.
Governor Garcia ended the welcoming remarks, saying "While I wanted to achieve the quality growth of Bataan province, it should not be at the expense of the environment."
Governor Albert Garcia delivered his speech at the opening ceremony of Pawikan Festival 2017.
Ceremonial release of hatchlings

The Pawikan Festival highlighted the release of the hatchlings at the shore facing the West Philippine Sea. The release of the hatchlings signified the continuous environmental conservation and protection by the local community and environmental groups to guard the marine creatures and its habitat. During the ceremonial release of hatchlings early morning, Senator Villar, Governor Garcia, and Mayor Estanislao participated in the release of 110 hatchlings.

Hatchlings released at the shore.
Festival dance competition

One of the most awaited parts of Pawikan Festival is the Festival dance competition. With ten groups coming from different municipalities, the festival dancers performed on the sandy beach of Nagbalayog. Dressed in their marine-turtle-inspired costumes, they performed dances that interpreted ways to help save the marine turtles. The festival dancers from the municipality of Dinalupihan took home the bacon. The movements of the festival dancers from Dinalupihan flowed with dazzling grace, synchronized with each other that took away the breath of every person in the audience. Their costumes were as colorful their culture and the festival. Magenta, cyan, emerald green, and purple were flash of colors that lighted up the afternoon heat.
Festival dancer enjoyed his performance with all smiles.
Festival dancer danced at full pelt.
Free me from the plastic bag, please.
Shout out loud, festival dancers!
Other contests and activities

Other contests to highlight the aim of Pawikan Festival included a songwriting contest, a sand sculpture contest, a photo contest, a paddle painting contest, a body painting contest and a slogan making contest. The winning song in the songwriting contest has been the official jingle of Pawikan Festival 2017. The students from Bataan National High School performed the song with a sing and dance.
The students from Bataan National High School interpreted the winning song in the songwriting contest with their graceful moves.
In addition, festival-goers attended Zumba sessions, the Galing! Bataan trade fair -- BAFNOFMAI and DTI, an environmental fair, a creative forum and another release of hatchlings during sunset.

After the awarding winners of different competitions and recognizing partner agencies and organizations, a beach party, in which festival-goers enjoyed the rhythmic percussion of bands playing upbeat music, capped the celebration of Pawikan Festival 2017.


  1. Love such initiatives. After messing with mother earth for so long, such initiatives are long over due.

  2. This is such a nice idea and initiative for raising funds to protect the turtles. They are one of the most beautiful creatures of the nature. I didn't know how much of a role they play in the marine balance. I have seen a turtle once while diving and it felt so surreal. It was a wonderful moment!

  3. I've been to this before! It was pretty awesome! :)They also do this in Montemar Bataan during the Christmas Holidays, will probably be there for it as well. :) Love that Bataan is very big on wildlife and environmental conservation :)

  4. True, no development should come at the cost of environment. I like such initiatives. We have some similar ones in south of India. Hope to participate some day in future.

  5. Wow! This is awesome. Glad the LGU is taking the lead in environment conservation. Looking forward to visit Pawikan Festival in the future.

  6. My friends from Pampanga Digital Influencers or PDI went there. I super like their photos of the Pawikans and the whole festival itself. It's also cool that there are other activities too. Hope this will be a continuous activity all through out.

    1. Yes! Met Rob and Armela at the Pawikan Festival 2017.

  7. Awesome! you had a chance to take part in such a cause. It's also amazing that it's the 16th year already! I really hope the LGU would continue this campaign. I have always wanted to see a newly hatched pawikan, so hoping to visit this place soon.

  8. I read about it somewhere and I thought this idea is absolutely brilliant! It is about time we help preserve animals in danger of extinction, like the lovely pawikan. I wish we can participate in this activity one day soon. It will be such a joy to help release those baby pawikans into the wild!

  9. I miss Bataan! I visited most of the towns in Bataan early this year but never had a chance to witness the Pawikan Festival
    it must be really thrilling to see those baby Pawikans in their first journey towards the sea..
    Hopefully I can visit Bataan for their Pawikan festival soon

  10. I watched the video of a blogger friend for this event. It sure was a blast. I am happy to see that a lot of people have become aware of the plight of Pawikans because of this festival. I am hoping for the rehabilitation of the Pawikans in other parts of our country too!