WWF National Ambassadors in Bicol

January 12, 2016

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For over a decade now, Donsol has been synonymous with whale sharks. Known locally as the Butanding, this gentle giant helped catapult the once sleepy town of Donsol in Sorsogon from a fifth-class municipality to a first-class town – all because of a community-based whale shark ecotourism program that WWF-Philippines and the local government established in 1998.

Last month, WWF-Philippines National Ambassadors Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez traveled to Donsol to witness and experience first-hand WWF’s conservation and ecotourism work in the area. 

“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of swimming with Butandings. It’s always an incredible experience each time I jump into the water to see the signature spots and gaping mouths of these gentle giants as they speed toward us,” says Rovilson. 

“Donsol is a great example of sustainable ecotourism. Stakeholders in the community – from the firefly tour guides to the Butanding Interaction Officers – know how important it is to maintain a balanced and healthy ecosystem. WWF has done good work in the area and I’m proud to play a role in the work that we do,” adds Marc. 

Apart from whale shark interactions, Marc and Rovilson also got to dive in the famous ‘Manta Bowl.’ Donsol serves as a jump-off point to explore the natural wonders of Masbate, the province that hosts Tacdugan Reef in Ticao Pass where the ‘Manta Bowl’ is located. 

“After decades of diving around the world, I finally saw manta rays. What an incredible experience!” raves Marc. “Hopefully we can ensure that we’ll be able to swim with these gentle giants for many more years.”

For more information on WWF’s work in Donsol and other projects around the country, visit wwf.org.ph

Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez were named WWF-Philippines National Ambassadors in 2010. Since then, this amazing duo has walked the talk, and has led a slew of activities to create and strengthen awareness on the environment’s most pressing issues.
For more information: 

Mr. Raul Burce
Project Manager, WWF-Philippines

Ms. Maia Melencio 
Marketing Services Manager, WWF-Philippines 

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