Executive summary

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  1. Introduction - Framing the problem

Philippines as the centre of the centre of global marine biodiversity

Scientists refer to the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines as the “center of the center” of global marine biodiversity. Its waters are home to whales, dolphins, 50 species of sea horses and over 2,000 species fish, including the largest fish in the world, the whale shark. Marine resources are also critical to the food security and livelihoods of Filipinos, as fish provide over 50% of their protein and support the livelihoods of millions of fishers and fish-related industries throughout the country. The Philippines is located in the Coral Triangle, a vast region in Southeast Asia made up of 18,500 islands and 647 million hectares of ocean. It is often referred to as the “nursery of the seas” because of the more than 500 species of coral and hundreds of thousands of hectares of sea grass and coastal mangrove forests that shelter and sustain a level of marine diversity unmatched anywhere on the planet.

Species and Habitat under Complex Threats

Today, however the global center of marine biodiversity is under extreme pressure. Over 40% of the reef and mangroves in the region have disappeared in the last 40 years. Near-shore overfishing is a serious threat to these natural resources, and reversing the effects will require a significant change in human behavior. Less than five percent of the Philippines’ coral reef ecosystems are still in pristine health, and in some fishing grounds, biomass is less than 10% of what it was 50 years ago. Most near-shore fishing is conducted by subsistence fishers in coastal communities although illegal intrusions by commercial fishers into municipal waters are cause for concern.

A Campaign to Transform the Context

Developing local approaches to addressing the threat of overfishing is increasingly recognized as vital to long-term economic and environmental sustainability in the region. The vision behind this plan, and the current cohort of 12 campaign developed under the Rare Pride Program in the Philippines, is to facilitate true community buy and ownership of the local Marine Protected Areas building on the tools developed in 20 years of experience in MPA management in the Philippines and combining it with the Rare Pride Methodology for social marketing. Through this strategy the objective is to get the local fishers population as well as the wider community in the Barangays surrounding the MPA to take ownership in and understand the benefit of no-take-areas and support essential management activities such as enforcement and governance of the MPA.

Cohort Theory of change: a strategy for change

In order to eliminate the principle threat of overfishing and destructive fishing the governance and enforcement infrastructures of the no-take-zone (NTZ) at 12 sites in the Philippines will be strengthened via a proven self-assessment and planning tool, the Participatory Coastal Resources Assessment tool (PCRA). Key target audiences (local fishers and gleaners; the local community, the MPA enforcement team and local LGU officials) will be informed of the benefits of the No Take Zone (NTZ), the rules of the sanctuary, and the processes for becoming more engaged in the MPA management committee. Fishers and gleaners will come to believe in MPA as a tool for food security, and will support new reporting structures for arrests and prosecution of intruders. The conservation results will include increased perceived fish catch, increases in fish numbers and species richness, increase in invertebrates, and increase in coral reef health.

  1. Mabaw Reef Campaign Theory of Change

group 1

In order to reduce the illegal and destructive fishing activities that caused overfishing and deterioration of coral cover and other marine invertebrates in the Mabaw Marine Sanctuary, the community stakeholders will be fully educated on the causes and effects of overfishing and coral deterioration, and the benefits of proper protection and management of Mabaw Marine Sanctuary. The community stakeholders will recognize their critical roles and initiate group discussions with other resources users leading towards the creation of a functional community-based multi-sectoral management committee with a high sense of ownership that eventually translates into sustainable protection and management of the no-take zone resulting to increased 5% of coral cover, 10% fish biomass and other marine invertebrates by the end of August 2012.
Theory of Change narrative:

Site summary
Project Name

Project Name

The two-year project is called Mabaw Reef Pride Campaign Program.

Project Data Effective Date

Project Scope and Vision

Scope/Site Name

Mabaw Marine Sanctuary

Scope/Site Description

The Mabaw Marine Protected Area is reef located in the City of Tagbilaran of the province of Bohol under the political jurisdiction of Region 7. It is bounded within the northern portion by the municipality of Maribojoc, eastern sections is the municipality of Cortes, southern part is the city of Tagbilaran and in the western part is Cebu City (BFAR, 2004). The Mabaw MPA was discovered and popularized by a group of scientist on a French-led expedition who surveyed the whole Panglao island in they 2004. The resolutions coming the from the Local Government Unit of Manga, Ubujan, and Taloto urged the city government of Tagbilaran to declare the Mabaw Reef as a marine protected area on June 20, 2007 with the support from the fisher communities.
It is a patch reef in the off-shore with declining coral trend from good to fair coral condition. In 2005, Mabaw MPA had a mean live coral cover of 69.47% ( BFAR, 2005). After five years, the live coral cover decreased into 49.93% or fair coral condition (MBEMO, 2009). In 2005, a total of 70 fish species belonging to 17 families were identified and recorded in the reef. Based on the MPA report, the reef targets are gone except for the few numbers of wrasses. Moreover, the scombrids or mackerels were not already seen during the latest monitoring. The needlefishes are also not seen during the survey compared to the previous survey where they have also been spotted on the surface of the reef (MBEMO, 2009).
Over-extraction of fish stocks by both resident fisherfolks and non-resident small to medium scale commercial fishers causes the vanishing of target species such as blue and gold fusiliers (Caesio caerulaurea), slender unicorn (Naso minor), mackerel (Ratrilleger kanagurta), multi-barred goatfish (Parupeneus multifasciatus) and white spotted rabbit fish ( Siganus canaliculatus.

Vision Statement Text

“A well- management community-based marine sanctuary with a diverse coral cover inhabited by various fish species and marine invertebrates that serve as sources of food and livelihood of the local communities.”


To create and provide policy, technical, logistical and networking support to the Mabaw Marine Sanctuary management committee to contribute towards the effective management of the sanctuary where a management plan is approved and implemented, and enforcement system is in place.

Biodiversity Features

Biodiversity Area


Biodiversity Background

The coastline of Tagbilaran is irregular with a total length of about 13 kilometers. It embraces 8 barangays, stretching from Barangay Bool in the South to Barangay Manga in the North. The other coastal barangays are: ansasa, Poblacion I, Poblacion 3, Cogon, Booy, Taloto and Ubujan. Beaches are predominantly rocky or stony and characteristically narrow and rise abruptly into rocky cliffs. The city is blessed with mangrove with an total of 67 hectares, diverse coral reef, sea grasses and different fish species.
One of the diverse marine habitats in Tagbilaran is the Mabaw Marine Sanctuary. It is shallow with a patch reef in the offshore with a total area of 8, 339 square meters, with a 50 meter buffer zone. This is located fronting the barangays of Taloto, Ubujan and Manga.

Protected Area Information

Protected Area Categories

Category IV: Habitat/ Species Management Area

Category VI: Managed Resource Protected Area

Legal Status

The Mabaw Marine Sanctuary is governed by City Ordinance C-204.

Legislative Context

The Mabaw Reef was declared as protected area after the local government unit enacted City Ordinance No. C-191 series of 2006. The said ordinance was repealed after the city government enacted the Tagbilaran City Fishery Code of the City Ordinance C-204, series of 2007 incorporating rules and regulations of marine protected areas.

The other laws that legally support the Mabaw Marine Sanctuary is the City Environment Code, the Provincial Environment Code of the Province of Bohol, the R.A 7160 also known as the Local Government Code of 1991 which mandates the roles of the local government unit in the management and protection of the environment including the marine environment.

And, the Republic Act 8550 also known as the New Fisheries Code of the Philippines which stated that the municipal/city government shall have jurisdiction over municipal/ city waters. The municipal/city government, in consultation with the FARMC shall be responsible for the management, conservation, development, protection, utilization, and disposition of all fish and fishery/aquatic resources within their respective municipal waters.

Physical Description

The Mabaw Marine Sanctuary is located in the center of Maribojoc Bay within the province of Bohol under the political jurisdiction of region 7. It is a patch reef in the offshore with fair to good coral cover. Mabaw Reef MPA has more live hard coral cover on the side facing Cebu island than on the other side facing Cortes. This side of Mabaw Reef is also of a slope characteristic compared to the other side which is steep wall. Erosion is also far more exemplified on this side of the reef.

The Mabaw Marine Sanctuary is vulnerable to illegal fishing activities due to its location and distance from the local communities. Some of these illegal fishing activities include dynamite fishing, fishing with the use of fine mesh-net and poisonous substance and commercial fishing. MPA markers and buoys installed by the city government were intentionally cut by the illegal fishers. Other incident happened allegedly done by the divers was the writing using the hard materials (knife/ pointed) on top of the big table coral.

In 2004 survey, result showed that Mabaw Reef had a mean of 67.74% live hard coral cover, or the reef is in good condition. However, in 2009, Mabaw Reef MPA has more live hard coral cover on the side facing Cebu island with 39% than on the other side facing Cortes which has only 24% cover. Macroalgae cover is also higher on Cortes side of the reef which could be the reason why it has lower percentage of live hard coral. This only means that coral reefs in Mabaw Reef continuously declining.
Overfishing is very evident in Mabaw Reef , the reef targets are gone except for the few numbers of wrasses. Reef associates like that of the fusiliers are still a lot in Mabaw Reef, however, the scombrids or mackerels have not been seen anymore. The needlefishes are also not seen during the survey compared to the previous survey where they have also been spotted on the surface of the reef (MBEMO 2009).
Docoy, M.L, 2009. Maribojoc Bay MPA Report, MBEMO, Tagbilaran City

Biological Description

There are eight common species of Acropora found in Mabaw Reef and some them are unknown species of corals. Corals in Mabaw Reef will spawn from May to June. This is according to the survey of UPMSI in the year 2009.
A total of 70 fish species belonging to 17 families were identified and recorded in the Mabaw reef (BFAR, 2005). Reef fishes composed mostly of non-target fish species comprising 85.85% which target is only 13.74% and indicator of only .41%.
Alonzo, N.M, P. Milana, W. Niones & N. Ranay, Baseline Assessment of the Proposed Marine Park at Mabaw Reef. BFAR-7, 2005, Cebu City

Socio-Economic Information

The city of Tagbilaran is the main business capital and center of governance of the province of Bohol aside from being the center of education and transportation.
Tagbilaran City has a total of 18,039 households (CHO, 2006). The most densely populated barangays in Tagbilaran City are mostly found in the coastal areas. Sixty-six percent of households earn below Php15,000 per month month, 30% earn not more than Php 10,000, 15% earn between Php20,000 and Php35,000, and about 8% earn more than Php 35,000 (based on the 1995 NCSO population data of 12,428 households). The average monthly income of family households is pegged at Php12,900 while the median family household income is pegged at Php12, 700. According to LPRAP Summary of Survey Results, of the 15,114 households surveyed in 2004, 4,360 or 28.85% of the household live below the income threshold. As per the City’s Local Poverty Reduction Action Program (LPRAP) Summary of Survey Results of 2004, about 16.93% of the labor force is unemployed.
Most of the residents especially the fishers in the areas of Taloto, Ubujan and Manga are engaged in fishing related activities, business ( mini store, selling snacks and food, and buy-and-sell), farming, skilled labor and unskilled labor Maribojoc Bay Profile, 2000).

Hamoay, G.S.B. and M.C.G. Jabines, Maribojoc Bay Profile. PROCESS, Inc. Tagbilaran City

Historical Description

The Mabaw reef is a favorite fishing ground of the marginal fishers of Tagbilaran and the fishers coming from the neighboring municipalities until at present. This was discovered and popularized by the group of foreign scientists who took invertebrates survey in 2004 as part of the Panglao 2004 Project. The marine scientist’s recommendation to declare the Mabaw Reef as a marine sanctuary urged the city government and the local communities along Taloto, Ubujan and Manga.
The Mabaw reef was declared as a Marine Sanctuary in ______2006 by the city government under City Ordinance C-191. The Mabaw Reef is coined from the term “ Mabaw” meaning shallow. It is a productive fishing ground for small fishermen in Tagbilaran and neighboring municipalities.

Cultural Description

Tagbilaran was a small, advanced and civilized settlement established at Sitio Ubos, the lower portion at the back of the present Cathedral in Poblacion Uno, during the 15th Century. This settlement was then known as the “Bool Kingdom,” a part of the town of Baclayon. It is said that the place was first named Tinabilan, which means screened," as she is shielded on the southwest by Panglao Island. But tradition has it that the word Tagbilaran was derived from the word Tagubilaan, a contraction from two local dialects Tagu (to hide) and Bilaan (a Muslim marauder tribe or Moros) who were feared by the early settlers because they pillaged and looted the place. In brief, Tagbilaran means “to hide from the Moros.”
The early settlers of Tagbilaran had established trade relations with China and Malaysia. When Spanish Captain Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed on the shores of Tagbilaran on 16 March 1565, he forged a Treaty of Friendship with local Chieftain Datu Sikatuna. This event became the basis for the annual celebration called “Sandugo” or literally “one blood.” A historical marker now stands on the very spot where Legaspi and Sikatuna had the famous blood compact. The late President Elpidio Quirino perpetuated the memory and spirit of this treaty by establishing the “Order of Sikatuna,” a presidential award and decoration conferred upon visiting dignitaries.
The Hispanic influences are most evident in literature, folk music, folk dance, language, food, art, and religion. The tradition exhibits festivities known as Barrio fiestas to commemorate their patron saints are very much observed in Tagbilaran particularly in the three concernd barangays.

Access Information

Mabaw Reef is located in the center of Maribojoc Bay. It is about 3 kilometers from the shoreline of Barangay Manga, Tagbilaran City and about 5 kilometer from port of K of C. It would take 20-30 minutes travel by pump boat.

Visitation Information

Intended visits to Mabaw Marine Sanctuary must be coordinated with the City Government through the City Agriculture Office. The City Agriculture Office would arrange any of two barangays ( Taloto and Ubujan) for possible boat access that will take the visitors to and from the Mabaw Marine Sanctuary. The best person to coordinate in any visit to Mabaw Marine Sanctuary in the barangay level is the barangay captain of the said barangays.

Current uses of the MPA and adjacent coastline

Of the 3,270 hectares total land area of Tagbilaran, about 2,669.95 hectares or 81.64 percent constitute settlements and built-up areas (2,048.67 hectares are residential; 427.96 hectares are commercial;

80.13 hectares are for institutional uses; 86.22 hectares are industrial). Among the major uses include fish port, airport, hotels and tourist accommodations, schools and the proposed waste water facility.

Management Resources

A Marine Protected Area Management Council (MPAMC) shall be created, empowered and funded and whose initial function is the creation of the Marine Protected Area Management Plan (MPA/MP). The MPAMC shall be composed of a multi-sectoral management body which shall ensure proper and responsible planning, management and enforcement of the Mabaw Reef Marine Sanctuary and other future sanctuaries when needed. The MPAMC will meet regularly and organize the following committees within its body: Enforcement Committee, Information and Education Committees, Monitoring and Evaluation Committees, Livelihood Development Committee, Committee on Financial Sustainability, Maintenance Committee and other committees that may be deemed necessary by the Council.
The City government, in coordination with the Barangay Council of Ubujan, CFARMC, CAO and concerned people’s organization, shall supervise the management of the Mabaw Reef Marine Sanctuary. The enforcement of this Mabaw Reef MPA shall be under the Mayor’s Office in coordination with the following: City Agriculture Office; City Planning and Development Office;City Treasurer’s Office; Barangay Councils of Manga, Taloto and Ubujan; Barangay Tanods of Manga, Taloto and Ubujan; Deputized Fish Wardens; Philippine National Police; Maritime Police; Marine Protected Area Management Council (MPAMC).

IUCN Red-list Species

Red-List Species

Sea turtle

Other Notable Species

Other Notable Species

Acanthuridae Naso



Lutjanidea Macolor

Mullidae Parupeneus

Scaridae Scarus

Scaridae Chlorurus


Siganidae Siganus

Location and Topography

MPA Latitude


MPA Longitude





Province of Bohol


City of Tagbilaran

Legislative Districts

First Congressional District

Location Details

Tagbilaran is the capital and a component city of the Province of Bohol. It is situated 630 kilometer southeast of Manila and 72 kilometers south of Cebu City . It lies on the southwestern part of the province. Its local geology is dominated by Miocene to Pleistocene limestones. Locally, the geology is dominated by the Pliocene-Pleistocene Marijoboc Limestone, generally flat lying, highly porous, and very poorly bedded to massive, chalky, and in some places highly coralline. This formation has well developed solution features characterized by numerous sinkholes, caves and caverns (karstification). Surface soils are derived from residual weathering of the underlying limestone.

Site Map Reference



Human Stakeholders

Human Stakeholder Population Size

The total coastal population of Tagbilaran is 91,218. The total population of the three barangays constitutes 18.7% ( 17,132) of the entire coastal population.

Social Context

The barangay of Taloto has a population of 6,176 and Ubujan has a total population of 4,875. The barangay Taloto has six puroks and barangay Ubujan (CPDO, 2010). Based on the KAP survey conducted, fishers in Mabaw reefs communities (Taloto and Ubujan) fall under ages 45 to 49, followed by 50 to 54 and 40 to 44. A few of the fishers were ages 15 to 19 and 20- 24. Most of the fishers along Mabaw Communities finished elementary. Others have finished the secondary level and college level. A few of them graduated college.
Most of the fishers have 5-6 family members. There were also fishers who reach 8 to 10 family members. Fishing is the main livelihood of most of the coastal residents in the Maribojoc Bay. People speak Visayan (Cebuano) dialect. Most of the fisher’s annual income is between PhP30,000 to PhP50,000. Most of them said that 21-40% of their income derived from fishing. And, some of them said 81-100% derived from the same livelihood.

Rare Pride Campaign

Threats addressed by campaign


Other threats at site

Intrusion of illegal fishers

Number of communities in campaign area

Barangay Taloto and Ubujan: Focus communities

Barangay Manga and Booy: Extension communities

Target audiences

Primary Audiences: TA 1A (Taloto resident fishers), TA 1B (Ubujan resident fishers), TA 2A ( Taloto local community), TA 2B (Ubujan local community)

Secondary Audiences: TA 3 (Management committee), TA 4A (Manga resident fishers), TA 4B ( Booy resident fishers), TA 5 (City officials and employees)

Biodiversity area (ha)




Biodiversity hotspot(s)

Coral triangle

Flagship species common name


Flagship species scientific name

Amphiprion percula

Flagship species details (<200 words)

Brief description and why it was chosen

Campaign ambassador

Alejandro Ilagan Atienza aka Kuya Kim

Cohort ambassador

  1. Project team and stakeholders

Lead Agency and Pride Conservation Fellow
The Maribojoc Bay Resource Management Board (MBRMB) was created by virtue of an Executive Order No.23 series of 2005 issued by the Hon. Erico B. Aumentado, the provincial governor of Bohol. The EO was reinforced by a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the component local government units in 2006. The city government of Tagbilaran, thru the Hon. Dan Neri Lim chaired the management board. The Maribojoc Bay Executive Management Office (MBEMO), an inter-LGU operations unit, was created in 2007 to implement the program and projects of the management board stipulated in the 10-year Maribojoc Bay Integrated Resource Management Plan.
The Maribojoc Bay Resource Management Board through the MBEMO and the City Government of Tagbilaran forged partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding with RARE in 2010 to pursue a conservation partnership called the Mabaw Reef Pride Campaign Program. Under the Fisheries Management Component of the 10-year Master Plan, this is considered as the first project in the operations of the Maribojoc Bay LGU alliance. To ensure that project’s critical results will be achieved, key individuals are chosen to provide technical and administrative support in running the two-year Mabaw Reef Pride Campaign Program.





Contact details

Role in relation to campaign


Jovenal G. Edquilag

Executive Director

Maribojoc Bay Executive Management Office

(038) 411-2264

Conservation Fellow


Emilia M. Roslinda

Executive Director

PROCESS-Bohol, Inc.

Member of the Board- Maribojoc Bay Resource Management Board

(038) 416- 0067; 500-1992

Supervisor on MBEMO Affairs and Advocacy


Eduardo C. Macalandag

OIC- City Administrator

City Government of Tagbilaran

(038) 411-2264

Supervisor on MPA Governance and Management


Atty. Nerio D. Zamora

City Councilor

City Government of Tagbilaran

Supervisor on Social Marketing

Strategic partners/key stakeholders





Contact details

Role in relation to campaign


SP Member, Committee Chair on Environment

City Government of Tagbilaran


TWG Chairperson


SP, Committee Chair on Fishery

City Government of Tagbilaran


TWG Secretary


City Agriculturist

City Government of Tagbilaran


TWG Member


CFARMC Chairperson

City Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council


TWG Member



Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Bohol


TWG Member


Provincial Fishery Officer, BFAR- Bohol

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources


TWG Member


Ubujan Barangay Captain

Local Government of Ubujan


TWG Member


Taloto Barangay Captain

Local Government of Taloto


TWG Member




Holy Name University

c/o 09228933739

TWG Member



Station Chief

Phil. Maritime Police

TWG Member



Chief of Police

Tagbilaran City Police Office

TWG Member



Punong Barangay

Local Government Unit Bool

TWG Member




Basak Fishermen Assciation


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