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Tuna Festival in Mamburao – Occidental Mindoro, Philippines

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26 March 2010

Today, I received a birthday greeting from our dear Paul Sunters, the Managing Photo Editor of the WWF Global Photo Network! It is my one year blog anniversary since writing my first entry! Imagine that! I went back to that first entry and thought, “where has the time gone?” And yet we’ve done so much and met so many great people. Thank you Paul for giving us this job. For knowing we were the best people to do it. For being our cheerleader throughout this marathon. This entry is dedicated to you!

Now back to tuna . . .

18 March 2010

N13 12.684 E120 36.248

We were definitely back in good ‘ol Philippines. Who but happy Filipinos will think up of a community activity such as a Tuna Festival? The Whale Shark Festival in Donsol was the first non-religious festival the Philippines ever had. I’ll bet the Tuna Festival is the second and aptly scheduled within the 40 days of Lent or Kuwaresma – when religious Catholics abstain from meat and eat only vegetables and fish on Lenten Fridays!

The first out of thirty tuna floats paraded throughout the township of Mamburao!The first out of thirty tuna floats paraded throughout the township of Mamburao!

We were picked up from Apo Reef Club at 3am in the morning to reach Mamburao in time for the street parade of 30 fresh tunas.  Alya our expedition writer was with us and off we went in the wee hours of the morning trying hard to sleep to no avail as the horrendous roads were unpaved and bumpy all the way for three hours.

The event is named “Tone-Toneladang Tuna Festival 2010” and this is only the second year it is celebrated. Mamburao is a most recent success story for WWF Philippines. This town is the first in the Philippines to receive an EU certification for conforming to all standards set by the EU for exporting tuna. And as such, the town celebrates.

Young teenagers dance for hours in the morning heat. It was all about tuna Young teenagers dance for hours in the early morning heat. It was all about tuna The back view of the dancers - shields of tuna made with water buckets!The back view of the dancers - shields of tuna made from water buckets!

Project Manager John Manul of WWF Philippines is in charge of the Sablayan Climate Change project and the new Mamburao tuna project. He had the important job of judging the best tuna float being paraded and boy, were they unique!

John Manul Sablayan Project Manager WWF-Philippines judges a tuna float with has a squid dangling as bait in front of the fresh tuna's mouthJohn Manul (R), Sablayan Project Manager WWF-Philippines judges a tuna float which has a squid dangling as bait in front of the fresh tuna's mouth Our personal all time favorite - a school of tuna! How fantastic is this?Our personal all time favorite - a school of tuna! The big teacher tuna even has a teaching stick. And the little baby tunas on their school chairs - how fantastic is this?

We met with the young mayor Bambi Villarosa and he sneaks out of the big event to have a photo opportunity with us and our big panda flag.

R-L Beside me is Mayor Bambi Villarosa and beside him is John Manul, then Lito Tiongson of Sablayan, new Mamburao staff and finally Alya HonasanR-L Beside me is Mayor Bambi Villarosa and beside him is John Manul, then Lito Tiongson of Sablayan, new Mamburao staff and finally Alya Honasan The floats are just too funny. Here's a tuna with shades and beach wear getting a summer tanThe floats were just too funny. Here's a tuna with shades and beach wear getting a summer tan. Oh and not to forget the pink poodle . . .

We met up in Manila with Jose Ingles who is fondly known as Jingles. Jingles is an important man to know in the fisheries business. He is WWF’s Tuna Strategy Leader and we were so lucky to hook up with him to learn more about tuna. We rendezvoused in Manila’s Farmer’s Market (of course) and had a quick photo session in the tuna fish section of the market.

Jingles talks to a fish vendor about his tuna salesJingles talks to a fish vendor about his tuna sales

Then Jingles brought us to a modest sized tuna processing facility close to the airport. This facility has the first EU certification and the tunas here come from Mamburao.

Jingles checks the fresh frozen tuna about to be prepared for filletingJingles checks the fresh frozen tuna about to be prepared for filleting

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Comments


  • Niels

    Good to hear that this conservation effort succeeded and people do have a reason to celebrate !

  • Lida Pet-Soede

    congrats Stella and Yogi, so much amazing work results in 1 year! keep it up, we love what you are showing us

  • lory tan

    Very powerful stuff, Freunds! If you can link up terrestrial impacts to coastal degradation (e.g. run-off and siltation of coastal reefs vis-a-vis fisheries) you could capture the whole ridge-to-reef idea.

    By the way, Stella, did you read my FB post on Danajon Bank. Just returned from the Bohol Climate Change Summit. We are 7107 islands, no more. Bohol stakeholders reported the first 4 islands lost to sea level rise in the towns of Inabanga, Talibon and Jetafe.

  • Marine Iguana

    Aw …shucks (for the dedication).

    I think YOU two should be congratulating YOURSELVES on doing what is quite simply an AMAZING job!!!.

    NO ONE else could have given us what you. Great stories, MAGICAL pictures, & a wonderful attitude!

    For me the blog weaves an overall written & pictorial narrative that informs & celebrates places, species, & people with a unique voice …what I think I love most about it is the sense of hope, optimism & humour – even in the face of the terrible problems that might otherwise make us want to give up.

    But you guys are indefatiguable!

    Shine on!

  • francy c. baldonado

    i am looking for my long lost friend name miguel angelo callos..f sino man po nakakakila2 sakanya paki send naman po cp number nya or email add..maraming salamat..

  • francy c. baldonado

    +639194579638 roaming number q po..

  • Raymond Mangaron

    Im new here in Occidental, this was 2010 Tuna Festival at Mamburao. I never heard they celebrated Tuna festival last March of 2011. Is this a yearly celebration at Mamburao? 2010 Tuna festival is amazing in the pictures. Hope to see it for 2012.

  • http://www.yodisphere.com yodz

    I never knew they had this celebration in Mamburao although I live in Paluan, the neighboring town of Mamburao. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to attending it – is it an annual event?

  • assilem

    im proud to be mambureñio.. thaks.)

  • assilem

    its yearly sir.. although im here in UAE, but i already witnessed that event before..

  • youarecorrupt

    i saw that tuna festival.. it wasnt even close..i feel it was nothing.. you should do the munisipyo, the market and the terminal, bago mo gawin ang mga festival na to na wala naman kakwenta kwenta..
    i was here in this festival. negative vibes. im sorry, im not satisfied sa pagkamayor mo.

  • gwyn

    I just come back from mamburao and hope to return soon to the friendly and beautiful place I hope to make my home there by the sea