partnership

Our Partners

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – Philippines has been a crucial partner in the conservation and protection of the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) since 2004, by helping establish the Philippines Marine and Apo Reef Law Enforcement for Nature (MARLEN) task force.

WWF-Philippines has been committed to safeguarding this rich marine ecosystem by assisting with the management of the park and the rigorous enforcement activities that have resulted in a drastic reduction in illegal fishing activities within the ARNP. These activities have allowed the reef to recover from the stresses of overfishing and have resulted in a notable increase in fish stocks and diversity. Through these, the reef has stabilized, with a biomass significantly larger than other Philippine reefs. 

To better enhance the integrity of marine habitats and biodiversity in the reef, WWF-Philippines works alongside the coastal communities of Mindoro in promoting sustainable fishing practices and introducing alternative livelihoods.

Looking to the future, WWF-Philippines continues to bolster ARNP’s resilience to environmental threats. The Mindoro oil spill in early 2023 exemplifies the need for increased vigilance and preparedness for marine threats. Through WWF-Philippines Sustainable Tuna Program in Mindoro, with funding from the European Union’s SWITCH-Asia programme, multiple oil spill preparedness tools, including oil spill booms, will be turned over to the local government of Sablayan and the ARNP. These tools will enhance the park’s preparedness for marine-related accidents, safeguarding both Apo Reef and the Sablayan Municipality.

Through persistent efforts in collaboration, research, and preparedness, WWF-Philippines remains dedicated to preserving the ecological integrity of Apo Reef Natural Park for future generations.

“MBCFI – Masungi Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc.

Established in 2005, Masungi Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (MBCFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. Accredited with the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) and a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), MBCFI is dedicated to supporting and strengthening biodiversity conservation efforts throughout Mt-doro Island.

Collaborative Efforts: The long-term monitoring of birds in the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) is a joint initiative between the Protected Area Management Board of ARNP (PAMB-ARNP) and Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (MBCFI). MBCFI conducted bird surveys across breeding and non-breeding seasons to assess the status of waterbird and non-waterbird populations and inform management and conservation actions within the Marine Protected Area (MPA).”


Global climate change has affected coral reefs worldwide. The combined impact of thermal stress and other disturbances on shallow reefs resulted in the general decline of coral reef-associated organisms, and of the ecosystem services which many coastal communities rely on. Mesophotic, or deep reefs, are found from 30 meters and below where light is significantly lower than shallow reefs. Mesophotic reefs are important habitats for many species of corals, fish, sponges, and other marine life. However, these reefs may still be vulnerable to man-made disturbances that are present in shallow areas. It is therefore crucial to obtain information on the ecology of mesophotic reefs to fully understand the significance of including them in protection efforts. Initial surveys of some mesophotic reefs in the Philippines have revealed diverse ecosystems, but these reefs have remained understudied and largely unexplored due in part to limitations in the capacity for deep and technical diving. This project aims to provide a closer look at the biodiversity of mesophotic coral ecosystems. Moreover, the genetic material of select coral and sponge taxa will also be examined to better understand how they have adapted to life in the mesophotic, and to explore signatures of resilience. The potential role of mesophotic ecosystems in aiding reef recovery will also be explored by assessing patterns of population-level genetic diversity and population connectivity between coral species from deep and shallow reef habitats. The Apo Reef Natural Park was selected as one of the program sites because of its rich marine biodiversity and the presence of well-protected offshore reefs that extend to mesophotic depths. The findings of this program will shed light on the importance of Philippine mesophotic coral reefs to support future reef management programs and provide a platform for exploration of the ecological and biotechnological potential of mesophotic organisms.     
University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), The Aquatic Zoology Research Laboratory (AZRL) is one of four research laboratories under the Animal Biology Division of the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños. Since 2017, AZRL has been a partner of ARNP-PAMO in the conduct of coral reef monitoring and capacity building activities.  Under its current project funded by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Grants in Aid (DOST-PCAARRD GIA) program, the Spatio-temporal Monitoring and Rehabilitation Technology for Enhanced Recovery of Coral Reefs (SMaRTER-Corals), quarterly monitoring of benthic invertebrate and reef fish communities are conducted in the reef complex. This activity will continue until 2025. The primary goal of the project is to generate long term community data to support the formulation of science-based policies to enhance ARNP’s resilience in the face of increasing frequency and intensity of natural disturbances brought about by a changing climate. In further support of this goal, substrate stabilization methods are being optimized for future roll out in sections of ARNP damaged by storms. To sustain project gains, capacity building of Park Rangers in the conduct monitoring activities is currently being implemented under the project. Finally, since repetitive Crown of Thorns Sea stars have caused large scale damage in ARNP, the project is working on establishing linkages with relevant NGAs, NGOs, LGUs, and POs to create the CoTS Outbreak Detection and Neutralization Network. The goal is to create a responsive network that can effectively respond to CoTS outbreak in ARNP ultimately minimizing reef damage.

The Biodiversity Finance Initiative or BIOFIN is a global initiative initiated by UNDP and the European Commission at the 10th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Developed in response to the urgent global need to divert more finance from all possible sources towards global and national biodiversity goals, BIOFIN is now present in 41 countries. In the Philippines, BIOFIN is working with national government agencies, local government units, the private sector, and the civil society and conduct feasibility studies and provide policy support to catalyze investments in nature since 2014. 

COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS: 

BIOFIN has been working with the Apo Reef Natural Park since 2017. A valuation study of ARNP was conducted by BIOFIN in 2017 followed by a series of trainings on development of a PA finance plan (PAFP) and engaging the private sector between 2020 and 2023. Results of valuation study and trainings formedpart of its exceptional PAFP. ARNP used its PAFP as a tool to prioritize programs and identify strategic sources of financing for the PA. This move was recognized and awarded with the platinum-level Blue Park Award on July 1, 2022, at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal by the Marine Conservation Institute. ARNP was also identified as among the Year of the Protected Areas Campaign sites along with five other PAs, all of which were promoted as ecotourism destinations for local and foreign tourists from 2022 to 2023.

Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization solely focused on ocean conservation, has been working on science-based policies in countries responsible for 25% of the world’s wild fish catch. To date, it has won 300 policy victories combating plastic pollution, habitat destruction, the killing of threatened species and illegal fishing. Oceana’s efforts are directed towards restoring ocean health, enabling 1 billion people to sustainably enjoy healthy seafood meals daily. In the Philippines, over the years since 2014, Oceana has engaged in several campaigns such as anti-dump and fill (reclamation), sardine protection and fisheries management areas establishment, restoration of mangrove forests, fighting illegal commercial fishing, strengthening corals through declaration of marine protected areas, and the ban on single-use plastics.

Even pristine marine protected areas like Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) are not immune to the far-reaching impacts of plastic pollution.  To provide an additional layer of protection to ARNP against these negative impacts, a significant collaborative effort, with Oceana providing legal and technical assistance, led to the creation and implementation of Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) Ordinance No. AR23-001, “An Ordinance Declaring the Phase-out of Single-Use Plastics.” 

The ordinance calls for the prohibition of lightweight plastic singlet bags (plastic labo), and sando bags, along with disposable cutlery, straws, stirrers, cups, bowls, and the like.  It also provides penalties for violations to reinforce the strict protection for this vital environment. To effectively implement this ordinance and encourage responsible behavior, visitors will be informed through educational materials and signages. Visitors to the park are to use alternative eco-friendly options for packaging and utensils instead, as part of this measure.

Juan Divers is committed to making SCUBA diving accessible, practical, fun, and enjoyable for everyone. Our mission is to offer affordable diving experiences while fostering a deep appreciation for the conservation and protection of marine life and our oceans. At Juan Divers, we believe that diving should be an adventure that anyone can enjoy. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a complete beginner, we provide tailored experiences that suit your skill level and interests. Beyond just diving, we emphasize the importance of environmental stewardship. Our programs include educational components that highlight the significance of marine conservation. We aim to inspire our divers to become advocates for the oceans, understanding the critical role they play in maintaining the health of our planet. If you’re seeking thrilling underwater adventures and the chance to connect with new friends both above and below the surface, Juan Divers is the perfect place for you. Dive into a world of excitement and discovery with us, and help us protect the beautiful marine environment we explore. Welcome to Juan Divers, where adventure meets conservation, and every dive is an opportunity to make a difference.

Mission

We are a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to conserve Philippine biodiversity through the sustainable development of parks, protected areas, and the restoration of ecosystems.

We work hand in hand with grassroots communities focusing on rangers and indigenous, citizens, civil society, the private sector, the academe, and our government, adopting a multi-stakeholder and dynamic approach to conservation.

Vision

We envision a Philippines where the wild and natural places that bring us together are protected, conserved, and experienced by Filipinos and all individuals in the present and future generation. A Philippines where people and nature thrive together.