Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bataan: Adopting a sea turtle at the Pawikan Conservation Center

For the longest time, I had been wanting to adopt a pawikan or sea turtle. It took quite a while for me to find the contact number of the Pawikan Conservation Center in Morong, Bataan. And when I finally did, they said there were no pawikan scheduled to hatch yesterday. But they also told me that if it was warm and sunny, some of the turtles would hatch earlier than expected.

Since it's quite far, and I didn't want to risk disappointment, I decided to watch the longest Holy Week procession in the country in Baliuag, Bulacan in the evening. But I got a surprise text yesterday morning from the Pawikan Center saying that sea turtles had just hatched the night before and were ready for adoption. Since it's difficult to time a visit when there are hatchlings, I decided to rush there no questions asked.

We passed by the newly-opened SCTEx on the way to Subic. It's undoubtedly the most scenic highway in the country. After lunch at Meat Plus Cafe in Subic, we drove down to the Pawikan Center in Morong which was about an hour away.

When we got there, were met by Ate Nida who showed us around. The unhatched eggs were buried under the sand in an enclosed area. As soon as the pawikan deposit their eggs on the beach, volunteers collect them and transfer and rebury them in a secure area in the center for incubation.

They brought out the container with the little pawikan ready for release to the sea. And I got to pet some of them while waiting for the afternoon sun to cool down before releasing them. The best time to release the hatchlings are early in the morning or late in the afternoon so as not to stress them out too much with the heat. The adoption cost is PHP200 per turtle and you get a t-shirt as proof that you've adopted.

Anyway, we almost didn't make it back to the SCTEx in time. Since it's on trial stage, they close it at 5:30 p.m. But it's a good thing they still let us in since the sunset amidst the mountains was just surreal.

I tried to catch the Baliwag procession but got stuck in Pulilan and decided to turn back. So I guess I'll have to wait again for next year since I'll be in San Fernando this Good Friday.

Pawikan Conservation Center
+63 928 7185721 (Ate Nida)


  1. Really? Just 200 pesos for the adoption cost? Is there any website that I can visit where I can get more information? Thanks! :)

  2. It's best to call Ate Nida. Information is scarce on the Internet.

  3. Anonymous23.3.08

    nakakainggit! gusto ko makakita ng pawikan pati pakawalan yung mga chikiting nila. open ba to public yung pawikan conservation center?

  4. Yup, open to the public. But you'll need to let them know that you're interested so that they could text you when hatchlings are available. And when they are, you have to be ready to drive all the way to Morong, Bataan! Haha!

  5. Anonymous4.4.08

    how do we contact ate nida? im so interested!

  6. Please see her celphone number above. Thanks and have fun!

  7. hi!been there na rin.
    kelangan marelease ang mga pawikan babies early in the morning.i remember na we had to be there by...uhm..before 7am.haha.ang aaaaaaga!but then again..its worth it:)
    regarding the adoption of pawikans,,ang alam get to adopt a pawikan tas u get a shirt pero adopting doesnt mean u bring it home diba?its just like buying the shirt.but then..if you wanna see your pawikan again..hafta go back in 15-20 years (tama ba?)
    un lang:)
    try to visit kanawan rin.lots of aetas=) ang friendly nila.:)

  8. Yup, you don't get to take it home. It will die if you do. It's more of a symbolical adoption :)

  9. hi ivan.. i went to an island somewhere in mindoro..i cant tell the place (i dont want to risk spoiling its natural beauty), my friends and i were able to release more than a hundred sea turtles at no cost! haha bleh! :p

  10. Haha! The P200 is a symbolic donation to the organization taking care of the pawikan. In fact, my family donated more than that. You make paying for it seem petty.

    Even if it costs more than P200, I'll still do it for as long as I know the money goes entirely to the NGO and not some travel organizer's pockets.

  11. Anonymous2.8.08

    Wow, I would want to go there too and adopt a pawikan. I'll spread the word. :-)mcctwkg

  12. Anonymous7.12.08

    hi..been there yesterday!!
    adopting a pawikan would cost you 250Php now..
    but's still worth it..
    nice blog!!!

  13. Anonymous29.1.09

    thanks for this entry. this is better than bringing kids to the zoo where they see animals behind bars, most of the time in bad condition and away from their natural habitat.

  14. Anonymous2.7.09

    Thanks to Net25 for featuring your blog and push for visiting our very own destinations.
    Your 2008 Pawikan story will be a good place to start and excellent exposure for my kids who are home due to the forced AH1N1 vacation.
    Kudos Ivan!

  15. Required ba na mag adopt ng turtle pag nagpunta dyan?

  16. Not required. But there's nothing much to do there except adopt a turtle and I guess learn about the conservation program.

  17. Anonymous23.10.09

    Do you have papers to prove that this is the turtle that you adopt? Do you have to leave a mark on the turtle before you let them go to the sea so that when they come back you'll know that it's your adopted turtle? Do you also have a picture of your turtle? Sorry for the questions, I'm also interested of adopting one.

  18. Roland4.1.10

    We were there last Dec. 30. Sadly, no hatchings were scheduled that day. But we did witness a manong from the conservation center dig out a fresh batch of turtle eggs just laid by the mother turtle the night before, close to the resort we stayed. I even took pictures of the tracks left by the mother turtle. Manong even allowed us to touch the eggs, the shell of which was quite soft and delicate. It was a nice experience!


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