GLASSHOUSES: Of Men and Giants

NEW YORK (MindaNews / 16 April) —  The Philippines was featured in a documentary shown on a US television network. As a Filipino living in the USA, this brought a sense of pride. Scientists visit our country to study the largest fish species  — the whale sharks otherwise known as the gentle giants of the sea.

Donsol, Sorsogon is known as the breeding and feeding ground of the largest known school of whale sharks in the world.

It has been observed that over a hundred of these creatures visit the Sorsogon Bay from February to May each year and studies show that they follow the same migration path year after year.

These giants weigh up to 40 tons with body, up to 12 or more meters long and mouth two meters across. They are wild creatures but humans can actually swim alongside these giants as tourists and locals do in Donsol.

My own daughter experienced swimming with these creatures without prior consent. I only came to see the pictures later.

The plankton rich Sorsogon River serves as a feeding ground for these whale sharks. Thanks to the mangroves in the area which makes possible the dense concentration of planktons which is the main diet of these giants.

It is a wonder that the largest of creatures feed on the smallest form of organisms.

At one point, foreign boats ply the area where the whale sharks are hunted and killed for their fins. The locals worked hard for the whale sharks to be declared as a protected species in 1998.

Now,the community plays host to about 10,000 tourists per year, providing decent livelihoood for the entire community.

Thanks to the locals who felt compassion for these giants, which despite their size are unable to defend themselves from man’s greed. The symbiosis continues. Man and giants benefitting from each other.

Sarangani Development Foundation, Inc. (USA) is inviting everyone to share the vision:

Our Vision: A beautiful world where man lives in harmony with nature.
Our Mission: Mobilize empowered communities to nurture ecological balance and natural  harmony.

For as long as man respects the right of other creatures to exist, there will be order.

Where there is order, there is harmony
Where there is harmony, there is beauty
Where there is beauty, there is love
Where there is love, there is God
Where there is God, there is eternity.

(Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Carolina V. Peralta a resident  of New York, USA is actively involved in empowerment of communities in the Philippines. She finished her Masters Degree in Development Management from the Asian Institure of Management as a scholar.  She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of two non-government organizations and a recipient of a US Congressional Award for community service).