PALAWAN, Philippines — Nicole Tayag, 30, learned to snorkel at 5 when her father took her to the teeming waters of Coron to scout for potential tourist destinations back in 1995. One particularly biodiverse site they found was the Lusong coral garden, southwest of this island town in the Philippines’ Palawan province. “Even just at the surface, I saw how lively the place was,” Tayag told Mongabay. “We drove our boat for so many times that I remember the passage as one of the places I see dolphins jumping and rays flying up the water. It has inspired me to see more underwater, which led me to my career as a scuba diver instructor now.” A coral garden in Coron, Palawan. Image by Shawn Landersz via Flickr. Tayag said she holds a special place in her heart for Lusong coral garden. So when she heard that a government-funded bridge would be built through it, she said was concerned about its impact on the marine environment and tourism industry. Before the pandemic, the 644-hectare (1,591-acre) Bintuan marine protected area (MPA), which covers this dive site, received an average of 3,000 tourists weekly, generating up to 259 million pesos ($5.4 million) in annual revenue. Bintuan is one of the MPAs in the Philippines considered by experts as being managed effectively. The planned 4.2 billion peso ($88.6 million) road from Coron to the island of Culion would run just over 20 kilometers (12.5 miles), of which only about an eighth would constitute the actual…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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