Night at the Station
The Mantalip Reef Station doubles as a guard house and a guest house. There are two rooms there with beds that can be rented for Php 2,500 a night each and can accommodate up to four people. Water here has to be shipped from the mainland and power comes from a genset. I was half expecting something more spartan and native actually but the station was well built like a small lodge on stilts. Some of our companions opted to sleep at the boat while I and some decided to sleep at the reef station. All windows and doors were open to let the breeze in. It took some time for me to get sleep as I could hear the excited conversations from the reef guards well into the night.
We woke up early to try to catch some stars. There was an interstellar play for sure but drowned the by the light of the full moon. I just marvelled instead at the nocturnal landscape before me. Negros oriental with its urban lights, our boat gently rocking nearby and the sound waves crashing into the pillars. The reef station is now home to the shifting guards assigned here and there were little signs of their personal ornaments hanging on some clothesline. We caught them deep in slumber at the highest platform of the station sleeping outside, probably to get cool from the breeze. Slowly the first light glowed behind the reef and rendered warm light reflecting over the gentle heaves of the sea. A new day has began.
About Oceana Philippines
Oceana Philippines seeks to restore the health, richness, and abundance of the Philippine oceans. By working closely with civil society, academics, fishers, and government, Oceana Philippines will promote the use of sound science based policies to help ensure sustainable fisheries and vibrant marine ecosystems.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.