JBL Workshop 2007 Philippines

General introduction

Following the first JBL Workshop at the Red Sea in 2006, the 2nd JBL Workshop took place on the Philippines in June 2005. In the interests of aquarium and terrarium research, the 80 participants carried out research for a week in the south of the island of Negros near to Dumaguete. Under the guidance of reknown scientists and aquaristic experts, the participants were instructed on subjects from marine biology, behavioural studies, water analysis and research. In small groups of maximum eight persons, headed by an experienced group leader, there were many interesting tasks to be carried out. Water analyses, UV measurements, plankton stud ies by microscope, reef zoning and observations of an artificial reef were all on the programme. The waters of the Philippines have one of the greatest diversities of species in the world and offer snorkelers as well as divers numerous rarities of underwater fauna. Even experienced divers are able to enjoy the extremely rare sight of ghost pipe fish, flamboyant cuttlefish and blue-ringed octopus.

The rainforest on Negros island with its highland lakes and waterfalls is also an interesting research area for freshwater aquarium enthusiasts and terrarium fans. Daytrips with Jeepheys and on foot led the team deep into the Philippine jungle. In the rivers, streams and lakes fish were caught and measurements carried out. Unfortunately, guppies (originally from Central America) are also to be found everywhere on the Philippines and are sure to cause problems for the native freshwater fauna.

Journey, accomodation, innoculations

Dumaguete on the Philippine island of Negros can be reached by several means. Travelling from Manila on the Philippines, a direct plane connection (60 minutes) brings you to Dumaguente. From the airport it is then just 30 minutes by car to the Atlantis Resort. If you are travelling with Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur in Asia, you have to continue via Kota Kinabalu on Borneo to Cebu. From there, a three-hour bus journey brings you to the southern end of the island of Cebu, then by ferry to Negros and a further hour by bus to Atlantis Resort near Dumaguete. With Singapore Airlines you can travel via Manila directly to Dumaguete, but a one-night stoppover in Manila cannot be avoided.

Accomodation

The team had chosen Atlantis Resort near Dumaguete(www.atlantishotel.com). The Atlantis offered the perfect setting for the workshop: conference rooms, air-conditioned double rooms, private boats for divers and snorkelers, a local reef and other beautiful reefs nearby, excellent food, a very weel-organised dive center and helpful staff. The meals prepared by the Austrian chef were a real highlight of each day and would bave done justice to any exclusive restaurant. The Atlantis is located on a lava sand beach, allowing beginners easy access in and out of the water . Clumps of seagrass are to be found at 3 and 6 m deep, then a 7-year old artificial reef made of tyres (very well-colonised) flanked right and left by gentle reef slopes. Just a few minutes away on foot, (or 2 minutes by shuttle boat) is the Sahara dive site, with lovely patch reefs at a depth of 6 to 20 m. A 45-minute boat ride brings you to Apos Island, whose reefs are amongst the most beautiful in the Philippines!

Innoculations

We do not want to give recommendations about injections; this information should be obtained from a doctor of tropical medicine or a tropical medical institue; however, the following can be stated: malaria prophylaxis is not required in this area. Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Polio are always advisable in tropical regions. Hepatitis B, Typhus and yellow fever would also offer additional protection.