'Taklobo': Fun and informative

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

THE Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) has never failed to entertain its visitors! Aside from dipping and swimming in its sea and waterfalls, enjoying the white sand, and resting into its posh resorts with various activities, the island can also take you into a one of a kind underwater adventure.

Situated in Barangay Adecor in Babak District in Samal is the Davao del Norte State College (DNSC) Marine Reserve Park and Multipurpose Hatchery. It offers "Taklobo Tours" highlighting the 3,700 giant clamshells spanning across the 14-hectare sea. The tour includes a hour of snorkeling and island sightseeing.

The giant clams, locally known as taklobo, are the largest living bivalves (a family Tridacnidae) whose size can reach up to 50 meters and weigh up to 500 kilograms. It is a solar animal that needs the sun to survive, thrive and grow. Most of them line the coral reefs.


Found under the Marine Reserve Park are five species of giant clams, such as Tridacna Gigas, the biggest giant clam reaching to a meter in diameter; Tridacna Derasa; Tridacna Squamosa; Tridacna Maxima; and Hippopus-Hippopus.

The eldest giant clam that could be found at the marine park is the Tridacna Gigas that is already 14 years of age and its diameter is at 40 inches. On the shallower parts, the clams are arranged in rows and according to species.

Cesar Petiluna, marine staff, said the clams have been considered endangered under the Conventions on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) as well as under Section 97 of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (RA8330).

Petiluna said the giant clam has been considered endangered because of over-harvesting. He added that some fisher folks harvest clams for food especially the clams command a high price in the black market; another is for shell craft - sold and used as souvenirs; and the other is for Aquarian trade.

He added that under the provision, violation of the order shall hold the offenders liable to the penalty of imprisonment from 12 years to 20 years or a fine of P120,000 or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.

The Giant Clam Sanctuary is a community based Eco-Tourism Project managed by the AdeCor United Fisherfolk Organization (AdUFOr) in partnership with the Igacos Local Government Unit and DNSC. Its aim is to promote biodiversity conservation, tourism, and livelihood.

This is true, especially for its staffs who never fail to educate the communities and tourists about the conservation status of the giant clams, the policies, rules and regulations of the sanctuary like wearing a life vest and a snorkel is needed. So, don't miss the Giant Clam Sanctuary in Samal. It's worth to visit!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 20, 2014.


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