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ABS-CBN' Bantay Kalikasan introduces new tour sites in Puerto PDF Print E-mail
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Nov. 10 (PNA) -- The ABS-CBN Foundation's Bantay Kalikasan was a major factor in the recent launching of new tourism sites in Puerto Princesa City.

The ABS-CBN Foundation, led by Dr. Gerry Ortega, with the city government and representatives of different sectors toured the Puerto Princesa Bay to personally see the spinner dolphins, which have abound again in the area after several long years.
The newest tourism opportunity is being managed by Barangay Tulingan, a group of fishermen living in the surrounding barangays of the bay, organized and assisted by the ABS-CBN Foundation to help in protecting the cetaceans.

The spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris, or the long-snouted spinner dolphin, measures about two meters in length and weighs about 90 kilograms.

They have small, pointed flippers and a curved dorsal fin at the center of the body. Spinner dolphins are dark gray on the dorsal side with a lighter gray area that runs from the eyes to the tail. The ventral side is white.

Body shape and color also vary regionally, but in general spinner dolphins are small cetaceans with slender bodies. Most have long thin beaks with the exception of the Atlantic short-snouted spinner.

This species has more teeth than others; around 45-65 sharp pointed teeth are found in each side of both the upper and lower jaws. They have small pointed flippers, and are variations of gray in color with white ventral sides.

Spinner dolphins are a very gregarious species frequently traveling together in schools. The characteristic spinning of this species is thought to be used for communication as it is often observed when a school is scattered.

Another theory is that the spinning may be related to the removal of parasites or of remoras, a fish species with a modified dorsal fin used to attach itself by suction to marine life for the removal of parasites.

Also, the team then went to Iwahig River, which snakes its way within the area of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF), also known as "prison without walls."

In this river, they paddled through lush covers of mangroves that serve as home to diverse flora and fauna.

The river is best appreciated at night, according to Ortega, who have witnessed its glow because of hundreds upon hundreds of fireflies, nocturnal beetles that during courtship produce intermittent lights from luminescent chemicals in their abdominal organs.

Currently, the protection of the mangroves in the Iwahig River is taking center stage because of its potential as a tourism site.

Flowing east out of the still forested central mountains of the city, the place is carefully gaining popularity among travelers in Puerto Princesa. Just recently, it was featured by Sports Unlimited.

From the Iwahig River, Ortega's team, along with Vice Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron, proceeded to climb Ugong Rock in Barangay Tagabenit. The rock formation, which once served as home to a Batak family and a resting place to others who go to the mountains to look for food, is slowly gaining popularity as a worthy alternative side trip to visiting the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP).

To complete the tour, the team ended at a river at Sitio San Carlos in Barangay Bacungan, where a floating restaurant can be found and the half finished boardwalk, which leads to another lush mangrove forest.

Ortega said the floating restaurant was constructed with the help of the ABS-CBN Foundation to assist residents in the area in their livelihood program.

A few years ago, the river was popular for because of an 11-feet freshwater crocodile that attacked a young girl.

Ortega said the idea of a floating restaurant is meant to show that the crocodile had left the river and that the residents have an alternative source of income in tourism. (PNA)

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